All Posts Tagged: hospital misdiagnosis negligence claim

Court Approves Interim Settlement of Chicken Pox Misdiagnosis Compensation

The High Court has approved a €2.5 million interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation in favour of a young boy who suffered a brain injury.

Eoghan Keating from Upper Dunhill in County Waterford was soon to be celebrating his second birthday, when his parents took him to the A&E Department of Waterford Regional Hospital on August 24, 2012, suffering from a high fever and having developed a rash on his abdomen. Eoghan was misdiagnosed as having mumps and was sent home after being treated with ibuprofen and Carpol.

The little boy´s condition deteriorated during the night. He became lethargic and a swelling developed in his neck. His concerned parents – Larry and Martina – called the caredoc GP service, who advised that Eoghan be taken back to the hospital as soon as possible. On his return to the Waterford Regional Hospital, Eoghan was correctly diagnosed as having a chicken pox infection.

Eoghan was intubated and ventilated before being transferred to the Children´s Hospital in Dublin, but the correct diagnosis had come too late to prevent him from suffering a serious brain injury. Now six year of age, Eoghan is tetraplegic and cannot talk.

On her son´s behalf, Martina Keating made a claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that there had been a failure by medical staff at the Waterford Regional Hospital to admit her son or identify the indications of a significant infection. Liability for the medical negligence that resulted in Eoghan´s condition was acknowledged by the HSE and a €2.5 million interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation was agreed.

As the claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge. Consequently the sequence of events leading up to Eoghan´s brain injury and the consequences of his injury were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, the family was also read an apology by the General Manager of Waterford Regional Hospital – Richard Dooley – for the “deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan”.

After commenting that the Keatings´ “suffering cannot be described or defined”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation and adjourned the case for two years to allow for an assessment of Eoghan´s future needs. In two years´ time, the family will return to court for the approval of a second interim compensation settlement unless a system of periodic payments has been introduced in the intervening period.

Read More

Settlement of Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of Meningitis Approved

A settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis has been approved for a widow told her husband´s condition was due to constipation.

Philip Morrissey from Kilkenny visited his GP on 26th May 2010 complaining of headaches, a high temperature and an earache. He was referred to the A&E Department of St Luke´s Hospital and admitted after being found to have a high pulse rate and an intolerance to light.

Six hours after his admission, Philip´s wife – Gail – noticed that he was drowsy and disorientated. She raised her concerns with the hospital staff, but was told that Philip´s condition was due to him being constipated.

However, the following morning – two days before his fortieth birthday – Philip was found dead in his hospital bed having suffered a cardiac arrest. The cardiac arrest was later attributed to streptococcal pneumonia meningitis.

After seeking legal advice, Gail claimed compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis – alleging that there had been a failure to consider that meningitis was the cause of Philip´s symptoms, and that there had been no adequate attempt made to diagnose his condition and treat it.

An investigation into Philip´s death revealed that he had not been seen by a hospital doctor since 3:40pm the day before his death. The Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability and a settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis was negotiated amounting to €455,000.

Due to the nature of Philip´s death, the settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis had to be approved before the claim could be resolved. The approval hearing was held earlier this week at the High Court before Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

At the hearing, Judge Hanna was told the circumstances of Philip´s admission into St Luke´s Hospital and the treatment Philip received. The court also heard a statement read out to Philip´s family apologising for the standard of care he had received at the hospital.

Judge Hanna subsequently approved the settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis – saying that the family had suffered a “huge tragedy” and, while the compensation settlement could never make up for Philip´s loss, it was the best the law could do.

Read More

Claim for Compensation for Deltacortril Side Effects Allowed to Proceed

A Cork woman´s claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects has been allowed to proceed after a hearing at the High Court

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork was given permission to proceed with her claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects after a motion to dismiss her case brought by one of the defendants was denied at the High Court.

Lorna had first been prescribed the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 to treat the skin condition vasculitis – a disorder which damages blood vessels and causes them to cluster together to form an unsightly and irritable rash on the surface of the skin.

After taking Deltacortril for several years, Lorna´s developed Avascular Necrosis – an uncommon but known side effect of Deltacortril – a disorder which stops blood reaching the bones of the knee and hip joints with the resulting effect that the bone tissue dies and the bone ultimately collapses.

By the time Lorna was thirty one years old, she had both knees and one hip replaced, and the Avascular Necrosis disorder had spread to such an extent that she was reliant on a wheelchair for her mobility and was permanently on morphine to control the pain.

After seeking legal advice, Lorna made a claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects against the two doctors who had prescribed the steroid tablets for her – her GP, Dr. Michael Madigan, and Dr. M Molloy -her consultant doctor at the Cork University Hospital.

In her claim against Dr. Madigan, Lorna alleged that her GP had not investigated her skin condition fully and had negligently prescribed Deltacortril when he was (or should have been) aware of the possible side effects.  In her action against Dr. Molloy, Lorna alleged the consultant had failed to identify the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis and continued to prescribe the steroids.

Lorna also made a claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects compensation against the manufacturer of the steroids – the pharmaceutical company Pfizer – alleging that the company had failed to include a warning in the literature accompanying the steroids that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and by neglecting to advise against drinking alcohol while taking the tablets.

The estate of Lorna´s GP (Dr. Madigan died in 1999), the HSE (of behalf of the Cork University Hospital where Dr. Molloy worked) and Pfizer denied that they had been negligent; and Pfizer applied to have Lorna´s claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects dismissed on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing the case to court.

Mr Justice George Birmingham ruled that the delay was “excusable” after hearing that the delay in bringing the case to court was due to Lorna being unable to instruct her solicitors as she had recently undergone several major operations. The judge refused Pfizer´s application to dismiss the case – stating that Lorna´s claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

Read More

Family Hear Apology from Hospital for Failing to Diagnose Abdomen Cancer

The family of a young woman who died due to medical negligence have heard an apology for failing to diagnose abdomen cancer read out by the hospital responsible for her death.

Thirty-one year old Sharon McEneaney died from a cancerous tumour in her abdomen in April 2009 – eighteen months after she had first attended the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda complaining of abdominal pain.

No investigation action was taken in the emergency room, and Sharon´s tumour went undiagnosed for over a year until – due to the intervention of former TD Dr Rory O´Hanlon – a biopsy was performed in June 2008.

By then it was too late for Sharon from Carrickmacross in County Monaghan to benefit from conventional cancer treatments, and she died nine months later.

An investigation carried out by the Health Service Executive (HSE) after Sharon´s death made thirty-eight separate recommendations to prevent the hospital failing to diagnose abdomen cancer in the future.

In January 2012, a hearing of the Medical Council of Ireland´s Fitness to Practise Committee found Sharon´s attending physician – Dr Etop Samson Akpan – guilty of a poor professional performance.

At the High Court in Dublin, the General Manager of the Louth & Meath Hospital Group – Margaret Swords – read out an apology to Sharon´s family, admitting that the hospital had failed Sharon.

Ms Swords stated that the hospital was making progress in making the changes required by the HSE´s report into Sharon´s death but, five years later, six of the HSE´s recommendations are still to be put into action.

The court was also told that a settlement of compensation for the hospital failing to diagnose abdomen cancer had been agreed between the hospital and the McEneaney family amounting to €62,500.

€10,000 of the settlement will cover the costs of Sharon´s funeral and other expenses connected with her death, while Sharon´s mother – Jane – is to receive €27,100, and the remainder to be shared between Sharon´s four siblings.

Closing the hearing, Ms Justice Mary Irvine commended Sharon´s family for their tenacity and courage, and commented “You have shown marvellous fortitude in the face of such a loss”.

Read More

Woman Settles Claim for Missed Diagnosis of Broken Knee

A woman who had been hoping to compete in the Special Olympics, until it was discovered that a hospital had overlooked a fracture to her knee, has settled a claim for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee after a High Court hearing.

Amy Rose McGowan (31) from Trim in County Meath made her claim for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee after it was discovered that medical staff in the Emergency Department of Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan, County Meath, had failed to diagnose a fracture in her knee while she was in training for the Special Olympics in Athens.

Amy had fallen and hurt her knee during a 50 metre sprint race, and had been taken to Our Lady´s Hospital for a precautionary x-ray on May 8th 2009. At the hospital, an x-ray was taken, but doctors overlooked the depressed fracture and diagnosed Amy´s injury as soft tissue damage.

It was only a few months later, when Amy attended her GP because of a pain in her knee that the fracture was discovered. Unfortunately for Amy, it was too late for operative or corrective intervention, and she missed her opportunity to qualify for the games. It is likely that Amy will also need to have knee replacement surgery later in life because of the hospital´s negligence.

Amy made a claim for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee and, after an investigation at Our Lady´s Hospital, the Health Service Executive admitted liability for her injuries. A settlement of €142,000 was agreed, but had to first be approved in the High Court – where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

In the High Court, Judge Peart heard how Amy had previously won 34 medals and 10 trophies in the area of athletics and swimming before the accident. He said he was “very impressed and full of admiration” for her and that it was a pity that her athletics career had been cut short.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee and wished Amy a happy life with her family before adjourning the hearing.

Read More

Resolution of Wrong HIV Test Results Claim Delayed

A woman, who was incorrectly informed that she had the HIV virus, will have to wait for the resolution of her wrong HIV test results claim after a High Court judge reserved judgement on the case.

Michelle Kenny from Crumlin in Dublin attended the St James Hospital in Dublin on 17th August 2010 due to feeling unwell on her return from a holiday in Majorca. After a chest x-ray and an ECG led doctors to believe that Michelle had a blood clot on her lung she was admitted to the hospital where she remained for a week.

Following her discharge, thirty-five year old Michelle returned to the Outpatients Clinic for an assessment on October 6th; where she underwent a blood test for TB. Michelle also consented to being tested for HIV, and the following week the doctor rang her to give her the results of the tests.

After explaining that she was clear of TB, the doctor said that the blood test for HIV indicated that she was positive for the virus and that she should undergo a further test to make sure. Michelle was devastated and, despite three further tests indicating that she did not have the virus, she withdrew from her social environment and suffered symptoms indicating a nervous shock.

When it was discovered that the original test results were not hers, Michelle contacted a solicitor and made a wrong HIV test results claim for compensation against St James Hospital – alleging that the mix-up had caused her severe emotional distress.

The hospital contested the claim – arguing that the error had been identified within a short space of time, and that Michelle had suffered no loss or damage as a result. Michelle and her legal representatives pursued the claim for wrong HIV test results compensation, and the case was heard by Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon at the High Court.

After hearing the details of Michelle´s compensation claim for the wrong HIV test results, and the defence offered by St James´ Hospital, Judge O´Hanlon reserved judgement on the case for a later date.

Read More

Most Medical Malpractice Claims against GPs are for Wrong Diagnosis says RCSI

According to a report commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), most medical malpractice claims against GPs are for wrong diagnosis.

The report – researched for the RCSI and recently published in the British Medical Journal – was compiled by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin after more than seven thousand medical malpractice claims against GPs had been analysed. Its objective was to identify which areas of primary care required specific attention when developing risk management systems for primary healthcare practitioners and planning future educational strategies.

“The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” found that the most common reason for medical malpractice claims against GPs were for the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer – specifically breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the female genital tract – medication errors (prescribing and administering) and, in children, the failure to correctly diagnose appendicitis and meningitis.

Lead researcher Dr Emma Wallace – who is herself a GP – acknowledged that medical malpractice claims against GPs were not the ideal substitute for adverse events, but commented that when medical malpractice claims are made against GPs, the doctors against whom the claims are made often suffer increased stress levels – reducing their effectiveness, and placing more patients at risk of a misdiagnosis or medication error.

Dr Wallace also highlighted the fact that GPs are more frequently practicing defensively due to the risk of litigation, and referring patients to consultants rather than make a diagnosis themselves. This unwillingness to use their experience to make a diagnosis can lead to patients´ conditions deteriorating further (due to the delay in seeing a consultant) and ultimately create more pressure on an under-resourced health service.

She hopes that the “systematic review is timely considering the increased interest in focusing on primary care as a way of improving patient care and safety” and that the report will provide an insight into the types of adverse events in clinical practice and the reasons for them happening, which would reduce the number of medical malpractice claims against GPs in Ireland and have the effect of increasing the standard of primary care provided.

Read More

Family Settle Claim for Death due to a Wrong Diagnosis out of Court

A family from County Mayo have settled their compensation claim for death due to a wrong diagnosis against the Health Service Executive out of court.

The claim was made in relation to the death of Eileen Maloney – a 69-year-old mother of thirteen from Pullathomas in County Mayo – who had attended the Mayo General Hospital in February 2009 complaining of severe abdominal pains.

Eileen – who was suffering from cancer at the time – was admitted into hospital after an X-ray revealed a small obstacle in her small bowel. However, as it was a Sunday when Eileen was admitted, no doctor was available to review the x-ray for the possibility of a perforated bowel.

A CT scan taken during the following week clearly indicated that a tumour had developed in Eileen´s bowel but no review was conducted of the scan to identify whether Eileen was suffering from a perforated bowel and, despite her ongoing pain, surgery was scheduled for six days later.

Despite Eileen´s surgery being successful, she died from the effects of the misdiagnosis five days later – a tragedy which could have been avoided according to a member of the medical team, if Eileen´s condition had been correctly identified and promptly treated when she was first admitted into the hospital.

Following a formal investigation, Eileen´s family made a compensation claim for a death due to a wrong diagnosis to account for the mental anguish they had suffered. The Health Service Executive (HSE) denied that it was responsible for Eileen´s wrongful death, but the family pursued their claim and, shortly it was due to be heard in court, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard that a settlement had been agreed.

Under the terms if the settlement, the HSE will pay Eileen´s family €50,000 without admission of liability in return for them withdrawing the compensation claim for death due to a wrong diagnosis. After hearing that the family were satisfied with the agreement, Mr Justice Michael Peart approved the settlement.

Read More

Conference Calls for Better Access to Medical Negligence Legal Aid

Delegates at a Dublin conference organised by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) have heard speakers calling on the government to provide better access to medical negligence legal aid.

The conference – hosted at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin City Centre – was chaired by AvMA´s Chief Executive, Peter Walsh, and included among its guest speakers Sheila O´Connor from Patient Focus and Dublin City Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.

Delegates at the conference heard two leading Irish solicitors argue that it was harder than ever for those affected by medical negligence in Ireland to seek justice and whether the lack of medical negligence legal aid in Ireland to fund legal action was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The conference was told that over 100,000 ‘adverse events’ were reported in the health system by the Health Service Executive (HSE) last year, but only 635 court summons were issued. Although not every ‘adverse event’ would necessarily result in an injury, it was claimed that thousands of patients are unable to take legal action because access to medical negligence legal aid is very limited.

Medical Negligence Legal Aid

Access to medical negligence legal aid in Ireland is currently means tested and only available to those with a limited disposable income. Even those seeking advice to see if they are eligible to make a medical negligence compensation claim are expected to contribute towards the costs of running the service.

If you believe you have suffered a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition due to an ‘adverse medical event’, many solicitors will offer free, confidential legal advice without any obligation on you to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim thereafter. 

Read More

Family Awarded Compensation for a Fatal Hospital Misdiagnosis

The family of an eight-year-old boy, who died after being mistakenly discharged from hospital with a streptococcal infection, have been awarded €160,000 in the High Court in compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis.

Richard de Souza from Athy, County Kildare had been taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise by his parents in February 2011 due to developing a lump on the left side of his body while suffering from chicken pox.

The doctor in the A&E Department diagnosed Richard as having an infection and discharged him, despite the patient displaying a high temperature and high pulse and heart rate, prescribing a three-day course of antibiotics.

Later that evening Richard complained of being thirsty and became delirious, and the following morning collapsed on the floor of the family home. Richard´s mother summoned an ambulance, but when paramedics arrived, Richard was already in a state of cardiac arrest was declared dead on arrival at the Midland Regional Hospital.

After discovering that Richard´s cause of death was a streptococcal infection which led to toxic shock syndrome, and that it could have been successfully treated by intravenous antibiotics had Richard been admitted to hospital, Ralmon and Flavia de Souza made a claim for compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis.

Following an investigation into the claim, the Midland Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive admitted liability for Richard´s wrongful death and a settlement of compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis was negotiated to include the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder both parents had been diagnosed with following the tragic and avoidable death of their son

 At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard a representative of the Midland Regional Hospital read out an apology to the family before approving the €160,000 settlement of the claim for a hospital fatal misdiagnosis.

Read More