All Posts Tagged: Claims for Lack of Supervision in Hospital

Award of Hospital Fall Injury Compensation Put on Hold

A €58,500 award of hospital fall injury compensation – made in favour of a seventy-nine year old woman – has been put on hold by a Circuit Civil Court judge.

In April 2015, the woman from Finglas in Dublin attended the city´s Mater Misericordiae University Hospital as a day patient for a gastroscopy procedure. Following the procedure, she was left alone to recover from her sedation and, while attempting to get out of bed, fell – suffering a spinal fracture.

As a result of her accident, the woman spent nearly a month recovering in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital before being transferred to the Orthopaedic Hospital in Clontarf for a further three months. She now has to permanently wear a lumbar brace and has to rely on a wheelchair for her mobility.

The woman subsequently made a claim for hospital fall injury compensation, alleging medical staff should not have left her on her own when it was known she had previously fallen at her home. She claimed the hospital had further failed in its duty of care by not adhering to its falls prevention policy.

The claim for hospital fall injury compensation was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing, the judge was told the plaintiff had lost her independence due to the accident and was a changed woman as a result. The judge also heard testimony from an expert witness who said, considering the woman´s previous medical history, she should have been monitored more closely.

Finding that no special precautions had been taken to ensure the safety of a patient known to have fallen previously, Judge O´Donohoe awarded the woman €58,500 hospital fall injury compensation. He then put the award on hold pending an appeal from the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital subject to the hospital paying €30,000 of the compensation award at once.

Read More

Hospital Settles Compensation Claim for a Patient Fall from a Trolley

The Adelaide and Meath Hospital has settled a compensation claim for a patient fall from a trolley made by a man who was forced to sleep in a corridor.

The compensation claim for a patient fall from a trolley was made by Anthony Whelan – a sixty-four year old caretaker from Tallaght in Dublin – who, in September 2015, had been admitted to the hospital after complaining of a severe pain following an operation.

Anthony was transported to a ward on a trolley so that he could undergo a second procedure in the morning. When he arrived at the ward, there was no bed available for him and – still on the trolley – Anthony was left in a corridor outside the ward.

Screens were placed around Anthony so that he could get some rest but while he was sleeping he rolled over and fell from the trolley – injuring his back against the base of the screens. Anthony was administered a pain-killing injection and moved to a private room after x-rays were taken to identify any injury to his ribs or lungs.

On his discharge from hospital, Anthony discussed his accident with a solicitor. The solicitor agreed that Anthony had a viable compensation claim for a patient fall from a trolley, and a claim was made against the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, alleging negligent management of his care and claiming €60,000 injury compensation.

The hospital admitted that the management of Anthony´s care had been negligent, but disputed the extent of his injuries and the damages he was claiming. Consequently a hearing of the compensation claim for a patient fall from a trolley was scheduled for the Circuit Civil Court to assess how much compensation Anthony was entitled to.

The hearing got underway before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke earlier this week. However, soon after it had commenced, the judge was told the two parties had come to an agreement on a settlement of the claim that fell within the jurisdiction of the District Court. Judge Groarke was also informed that the two parties had also made an agreement regarding costs.

Read More

Care Home Negligence: Investigations Launched after RTE Documentary “Inside Bungalow Three”

A series of investigations has been launched after an RTÉ documentary revealed care home negligence at a centre for the intellectually disabled in County Mayo.

The RTÉ documentary – “Inside Bungalow Three” – showed scenes of physical and psychological abuse by care workers at the Áras Attracta care home in Swinford, County Mayo filmed by an undercover reporter. RTÉ had been advised of the care home negligence by a former employee of the centre, whose concerns to upper management had been disregarded.

The undercover reporter had posed as a work experience student to gain access to Bungalow Three – a home to three intellectually disabled women – where she experienced shocking treatment being administered to the residents including slapping, kicking and force-feeding. In one example a resident is denied use of the bathroom, while in another a 75-year-old resident is kept seated in the same position for six hours.

The care home negligence broadcast in the documentary attracted universal condemnation. Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the abuse shown in the documentary as “sickening”, while Tony O´Brien – the Director General of the HSE – commented that the level of care was totally unacceptable and fell well below “the standards that we expect in the health services”.

Kathleen Lynch – Minister of State at the Department of Health – refused to believe that Áras Attracta is the only place where this is happening”, and Lorraine Dempsey from the Special Needs Parents Association added “Absolute responsibility in any setting goes right up to the top level of management, and in this case we are talking about the HSE”.

The HSE has launched two investigations into the care home negligence at Áras Attracta – one focusing on the specific mistreatment of residents portrayed in the documentary and the second on the care home for the intellectually disabled in general. The Gardaí and the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) have also launched their own investigations.

Tony O´Brien apologised to the residents and their families on behalf of the HSE for the care home negligence. He said that the HSE did not wish to “pre-empt the findings of an independent investigation” but that the HSE has taken immediate actions to “guarantee that a safe and caring environment exists for the residents of Bungalow Three”. Nine staff have been suspended while the investigations into the care home negligence are conducted.

Read More

Leading Causes of Clinical Negligence Claims Revealed in Report

A report compiled by the State Claims Agency has revealed the leading causes of 166 clinical negligence claims for compensation closed in 2010, with poor staff knowledge heading the list.

The report, compiled by the clinical risk team of the State Claims Agency,  only accounts for claims for clinical negligence compensation covered by the Clinical Indemnity Scheme and not compensation for non-medical accidents in hospitals and clinics which result in injuries to patients, visitors or staff.

It revealed that, of the 166 clinical negligence claims closed in 2010, 44.2 percent of claims for clinical negligence were due to poor staff knowledge, skills or competency. The second most common reason for settlements of clinical negligence compensation was a failure in communications (14.4 percent) with a lack of effective leadership coming a close third (9.6 percent).

Among the other primary reasons for clinical negligence claims were:-

  • Safety culture issues (8.7 percent)
  • Lack of guidelines or protocols (6.7 percent)
  • Inadequate supervision (5.8 percent)
  • Insufficient staff to cope (2.9 percent)

By speciality, the majority of claims for clinical negligence were attributable to surgical errors (27.1 percent), emergency medicine (25.9 percent) and obstetrics (18.7 percent), while the leading “contributory factors” in clinical negligence compensation claims were delay or failure to treat (11.2 percent), delay or failure to recognise complications (10.6 percent) and misdiagnosis of a medical condition (4.7 percent).

Commenting on the report, Debbie Dunne – Clinical Risk Advisor at the State Claims Agency – said “This is consistent with the trend in 2009. Over 50 per cent of these cases were within the specialties of surgery and emergency medicine”.

Read More