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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Interim Settlement of Compensation Claim against the Portiuncula Hospital Approved

The interim settlement of a child´s compensation claim against the Portiuncula Hospital and HSE has been approved by Mr Justice Cross at the High Court.

On 3rd August 2012, eleven-month old Eoghan Dunne from Tullamore in County Offaly was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe suffering from a high heart rate and severe respiratory distress. Due to the severity of his condition, Eoghan was transferred twelve hours later to the Temple Street Children´s Hospital in Dublin.

At the Temple Street Hospital, Eoghan suffered a cardiac arrest due to septic shock. He suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen, and now suffers from epilepsy, is visually impaired and cannot walk or talk. Eoghan spent six months in hospital being treated for his condition, but will need twenty-four hour care for the rest of his life.

A review of the treatment Eoghan received at the Portiuncula Hospital revealed a catalogue of inadequacies. Allegedly the hospital was ill-prepared for Eoghan´s admission, had failed to administer antibiotics in breach of the HSE´s guidelines for the treatment of sepsis, and had taken too long to arrange the transfer to Temple Street Hospital due to a lack of “competent staff”.

Eoghan´s parents – Ronan and Teresa – sought legal advice and made a compensation claim against the Portiuncula Hospital and HSE, alleging that their son would not have suffered such devastating injuries had it not been for a failure in the hospitals´ duty of care. The HSE denied liability for Eoghan´s injuries, and a court hearing was scheduled for earlier this week.

However, with a few days to go until the hearing was due to start, the HSE accepted that mistakes had been made in Eoghan´s care and an interim settlement of the compensation claim against the Portiuncula Hospital was agreed. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Eoghan´s best interests.

At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of Eoghan´s admission into the Portiuncula Hospital and the subsequent events that had occurred. The judge commented that, if liability had been admitted at an earlier stage, Eoghan could have received therapy and treatment for his injuries at “a vital developmental stage” rather than much later.

The judge approved the interim €2.4 million settlement of the compensation claim against the Portiuncula Hospital, and adjourned the case for four years – by which time a review of Eoghan´s future needs will have been conducted. In 2020, the family will have the option of taking a lump sum compensation payment if a system of periodic payments has not been introduced.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Couple Awarded Medical Negligence Compensation for the Death of a Baby

A couple have been awarded €70,000 medical negligence compensation for the death of a baby son after an approval hearing at the High Court.

Fiona Watters was admitted into the Cavan General Hospital on 20th November 2012 in the later stages of her first pregnancy. Fiona´s waters broke at 10:30am on the morning of 22nd November and she was administered Prostiglandin to accelerate her labour.

During the day the levels of Prostiglandin were increased. At 9:30pm that evening a natural birth was attempted but, after an hour of pushing, the midwife rang consultant obstetrician Dr Salah Aziz to inform him that the baby´s head was not visible and the indications were that the baby was suffering foetal distress.

Dr Aziz arrived at the Labour Ward to discover that another Caesarean Section operation was taking place in the only out-of-hours theatre. He attempted both a forceps delivery and a vacuum delivery – both of which failed. When the theatre became available, Fiona underwent an emergency Caesarean Section operation, but her son – Jamie – was delivered in a very poor condition.

Jamie was transferred to the special care baby unit at the Rotunda Hospital, where he tragically died two days later in his mother´s arms. An initial investigation into the cause of Jamie´s death was quashed by the High Court in August 2013 after Dr Aziz successfully argued that HSE investigators had not followed the correct procedures.

However Fiona and her partner – Francis Flynn – had already received an advanced copy of the report and, after seeking legal advice, they claimed medical negligence compensation for the death of a baby against Cavan General Hospital and the HSE.

The HSE failed to acknowledge liability for Jamie´s death until almost a year later and only then commissioned a second investigation into the events leading up to Jamie´s delivery. However, this time the investigation was to be carried out by an independent review team following the subsequent deaths of two more children at the Cavan General Hospital.

In December 2014, an inquest into Jamie´s death attributed it to medical misadventure. The coroner said that the increased administration of Prostiglandin, Dr Aziz´s failure to inform the registrar that the Jamie´s delivery was expected that evening and the lack of a second out-of-hours theatre at the hospital were all causative events for Jamie´s death.

Following the coroner´s verdict, negotiations started with the State Claims Agency to settle the claim for medical negligence compensation for the death of a baby. Due to the traumatic circumstances leading up to Jamie´s birth and the protracted investigations into Jamie´s death, a settlement of €70,000 was agreed.

Earlier this week a hearing at the High Court took place to approve the settlement. Mr Justice Richard Humphreys heard that the size of the settlement reflected the long-lasting grief and distress that had been suffered by Jamie´s parents. Judge Humphreys approved the settlement, stipulating that €5,000 of the settlement should be paid into court funds for the benefit of Fiona and Francis´ daughter.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Family Make Claim for Wrongful Death due to Medical Misadventure

The family of a woman who died from organ failure after undergoing a hernia operation have made a claim for wrongful death due to medical misadventure.

On 13th July 2013, Susan McGee (52) – a mother of two from Rush in County Dublin – went to the Hermitage Medical Clinic in Dublin for what was supposed to be a routine hernia operation. The operation initially appeared to be successful, and Susan was discharged from the Hermitage three days later on 16th July to be cared for by her daughter.

The following day (17th July), Susan complained of having an abdominal pain and feeling unwell. Her daughter took her back to the Hermitage, where Susan was readmitted for observation. Over the weekend of 20th and 21st July, Susan´s condition deteriorated and on 22nd July a CT scan revealed a mass in her small bowel.

Susan underwent surgery the same day to have the obstruction removed, but her health continued to deteriorate. Susan was transferred to the intensive care department of the Beaumont Hospital on 23rd July, but she died the following day from multiple organ failure caused by sepsis – the sepsis having been triggered by a C.difficle infection.

The inquest into Susan´s death was eventually held in June 2015. Dublin City Coroner´s Court heard that several errors had been made in Susan´s care, including a failure to report brown faecal fluid draining from Susan´s nasogastric tube and a failure to record Susan´s vital signs between 8:00am and 6:00pm on Sunday 21st July – three days before she died.

The inquest also heard that over the weekend of 20th and 21st July only one resident medical officer was on duty – Dr Lachman Pahwani. Dr Pahwani testified that he had tried to spend as much time with Susan as possible – aware that she was in a poorly condition – but Susan was one of 81 patients that he had responsibility for at the medical facility at the time.

Following the inquest, Susan´s family sought legal advice and made a claim for wrongful death due to medical misadventure – the verdict that the inquest had delivered. A spokesperson for the family said that a summons has now been issued and served on the Hermitage Medical Clinic.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Organisation Calls for more Openness in Hospital Negligence Claims

The Medical Injuries Alliance has repeated its call for “Duty of Candour” legislation so that there is more openness in hospital negligence claims.

The Medical Injuries Alliance is an organisation that works with patients injured by medical mistakes to get answers about how the injuries occurred. Among the organisation´s objectives is the promotion of studies that help to understand the why medical mistakes occur, so that safety improvements in Irish hospitals can be made.

In order to meet their objectives, the Alliance has repeatedly called for politicians to introduce “Duty of Candour” legislation – legislation that would promote openness in hospital negligence claims by forcing healthcare professionals and Irish hospitals to admit when medical mistakes have been made, to explain why they happened, and to issue an apology immediately.

The Alliance has already issued a statement on its website that “the duty of candour in hospitals and doctors should be placed on a statutory footing, entitling injured patients to an accurate account of how they came to suffer medical injury in Irish hospitals”, and, to repeat its call for more openness in hospital negligence claims, the message has now been taken to the press.

Last week an article appeared in the Irish Times commenting on a cerebral palsy claim that took nine years to resolve due to a lack of openness in hospital negligence claims and alleged “stonewalling” by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The article concluded by saying that duty of candour laws were introduced in the UK last year, and that similar legislation is clearly needed in Ireland.

In response to that article, a letter from the Secretary of the Medical Injuries Alliance – Joice McCarthy – was published. In the letter, Ms McCarthy agreed with the comments within the article and made her own observations that many victims of hospital negligence are forced to take legal action to get the answers to the questions that healthcare professionals and hospitals are unwilling to give.

Ms McCarthy commented that patients who have been through the legal process describe it as a stressful and protracted experience, and she alluded to the recent “shabby episode” in which there was a disagreement between the HSE and the State Claims Agency about who was responsible for delays in settling a six-year hospital negligence claim. Ms McCarthy concluded her letter:

“Instead of blaming any particular State organisation, or indeed having different State organisations blame one another for the current difficulties, it is high time politicians simply acted to introduce a legal duty of candour in order to fix what seems to be a glaringly obvious problem”.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

HSE Apologises for Portlaoise Hospital Childbirth Negligence

Dr Philip Crowley – the National Director of Quality & Patient Safety at the Health Service Executive – has apologised on behalf of the HSE to four families who lost a child due to hospital childbirth negligence at Portlaoise Hospital.

The apology by Dr Crowley was made shortly before an RTE Prime Time television program was scheduled to be broadcast, which highlighted tragic failings in the standard of care at the hospital which led to four perinatal deaths during, or shortly after, the delivery of the babies.

The program – “Fatal Failures” – primarily focused on the story of Roisin and Mark Molloy from Tullamore, County Offaly; whose son Mark died shortly after being delivered on 24th January 2012.

Roisin and Mark had to fight a four-month battle before the hospital acknowledged that their son was still breathing when he was delivered – a condition that is required before an inquest can be held into a fatality.

The hospital´s own investigation into Mark Molloy´s death extended over twenty months – a delay which Dr Crowley described as “lamentable”. He also acknowledged that the Molloys had been deliberately misinformed when they asked questions about the death of their son.

A subsequent independent clinical review into Mark´s death reported “failures in the standard of care provided were casually linked to the foetal hypoxia damage that occurred [and the death of baby Mark]” and made recommendations to prevent such tragedies in the future.

However, as the RTE Investigation Unit discovered, the hospital childbirth negligence continued, and was responsible for the death of three more children due to foetal hypoxia. Two of the deaths were investigated internally, but the parents of the dead children were never advised of the outcomes.

The RTE investigators found that none of the measures that had been recommended following Mark Molloy´s death had been put into practice, and that there was an extreme shortage of midwives to provide as “safe” level of service.

Indeed, whereas the HSE recommends a ratio of one midwife for each twenty-eight women in the later stages of pregnancy, the Portlaoise Hospital had one midwife for every seventy-five expectant mothers – leading to “a lack of understanding of a deteriorating condition resulting in a failure to seek timely medical assistance”.

RTE investigators were also shown a letter written in 2006 by the hospital staff to the then Minister for Health Mary Harney and Minister for Finance Brian Cowen. In the letter concern was expressed over staffing levels at the hospital – a situation had been made clear to the hospital management, but no action had been taken.

The letter concluded by saying there was a “real fear” in the midwifery department that a mother or baby would die before the staffing issues were resolved.

The current Minister for Health James Reilly was invited onto the Today radio show, where he was asked about the hospital childbirth negligence that had taken place at Portlaoise Hospital.

The Minister said that the situation was “utterly unacceptable”, and that he planned to conduct a further investigation into the failings of care at the hospital and the deception that the parents of the dead children had experienced.

“I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to give me a report”, he stated, “It won’t take long and I will take action to make sure that this never happens again.”

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Woman Wins Medical Negligence Claim for being Given Wrong Medicine

A woman in Philadelphia was won her medical negligence claim for being given the wrong medicine, after a mistake at her local surgery caused her to go into cardiac arrest.

Jacqueline DiTore attended the Abington Surgical Centre in Pennsylvania on 7 June 2010 for an elective nasal procedure. Before starting the procedure, her surgeon – Dr Warren Zager – asked a nurse to prepare an anaesthetic injection of 1 percent lidocaine to soak some cotton balls soaked in a nasal decongestant (Afrin) to control the bleeding during the procedure.

The nurse poured the nasal decongestant into a bowl in order to soak the cotton balls before preparing the anaesthetic; but a second nurse mistook the contents of the bowl as lidocaine, drew the liquid into a syringe which she then passed to the doctor. Unaware that the syringe contained decongestant, Dr Zager injected the Afrin into Jacqueline´s nose, and then started to prepare for the surgery.

An anaesthetist present in the operating theatre noticed that Jacqueline´s heart rate had fallen to 36 beats per minute and – unaware that Jacqueline had been injected with enough Afrin to cause a 100-fold increase in vasoconstrictive activity (the narrowing of the blood vessels) – administered an anticholinergic which returned Jacqueline´s heart rate to 80 beats per minute.

When Dr Zager returned to begin the procedure, Jacqueline still had a sensation in her nose and the doctor asked for more 1 percent lidocaine. He was told that the surgery only had 2 percent lidocaine and it was then that the mistake with the nasal decongestant was discovered. Dr Zager chose to continue with the procedure regardless, and administered the 2 percent lidocaine into Jacqueline´s nose.

Following the injection of lidocaine, Jacqueline´s heart rate soared to 140 beats per minute and her blood pressure registered 260/150. At that point labetalol (a drug used to lower high blood pressure) was administered which caused Jacqueline´s blood pressure to crash and she went into cardiac arrest. Jacqueline was rushed to nearby Abington Memorial Hospital where she was resuscitated.

It soon became apparent that Jacqueline had suffered brain damage during the cardiac arrest which left her with impaired cognitive abilities, difficulty with her speech and vision, and short-term memory loss. Doctors advised her that her brain injury is likely to deteriorate as she gets older and, after speaking with a solicitor, Jacqueline made a medical negligence claim for being given the wrong medicine.

Both the Abington Surgical Centre and Dr Zager denied that they were liable for Jacqueline´s injury; arguing that Dr Zager was right to continue with the nasal procedure as the anaesthetic administered in the second injection did not compound the effect of the Afrin, and therefore did not contribute to her reaction. It was also claimed that Jacqueline was “high-functioning”, and that her condition was not as serious as she had claimed.

Jacqueline´s medical negligence claim for being given the wrong medicine went to Montgomery County Court in Philadelphia before Judge Thomas M. Del Ricci. After several weeks of testimony and deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in Jacqueline´s favour. The jury considered Dr Zager to be 38.5 percent negligent for Jacqueline´s brain injuries and the Abington Surgical Centre 61.5 percent negligent. They awarded her $5.1 million compensation.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Inspectors Find Hygiene Problems in Hospitals

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority have published a series of reports identifying hygiene problems in hospitals which could result in patients developing serious infections.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is an independent authority which examines the quality, safety and accountability of the health service in Ireland. Under health legislation, these standards are applicable to services provided by or on behalf of the Heath Services Executive (HSE), as well as services provided by nursing and independent care homes – with particular scrutiny on services for children, older people and persons with disabilities.

In June, HIQA conducted a series of inspections, and found serious hygiene problems in hospitals in Ireland. Their reports have just been released, with the five hospitals most seriously in breach of the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections being identified as:-

Waterford Regional Hospital

Among a litany of hygiene issues, HIQA inspectors discovered that patients with suspected communicable diseases were accommodated in the main area of the emergency department (because the isolation room was being used as a storeroom), that the hand hygiene of staff working in the Emergency Department was inadequate and risked spreading healthcare associated infections to other patients, and that the Emergency Department environment – and the equipment used in it – was generally unclean.

Navan Hospital

The authority found that the Emergency Department at Navan Hospital (with some exceptions) was generally unclean, and that it was not effectively managed to reduce the spread of infections. There were also hygiene problems in the hospital´s female medical ward – where patients and visitors were not adequately protected from the risk of healthcare associated infections.

Portiuncila Hospital

In Portiuncila Hospital in Ballinasloe, inspectors found an inadequate management of risk infection in breach of the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections and also that uncontrolled access was allowed to hazardous clinical waste material. There was also a failure to utilise security measures already in place to prevent access to medical equipment by the general public.

St Michael´s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

At St Michael´s Hospital, inspectors found hygiene problems in the hospital´s toilets and showering facilities for patients – where mould had been allowed to develop – and identified that hand hygiene practices were generally inconsistent with the National Standards and posed a risk of transmitting infections to patients.

Louth County Hospital

Finally, at Louth County Hospital, medical care being provided in isolation rooms in a stepdown ward was not compliant with national hygiene standards, and inspectors discovered two cases where patients with known transmissible infections were cared for in isolation rooms where the doors onto the general ward were left open as standard practice.

The five establishments above that have been identified as having hygiene problems in hospitals will be required to develop a quality improvement plan which should be published on the hospital´s website within six weeks.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Support Groups Disagree over Compensation for Symphysiotomy Operations

Groups representing the victims of medical procedures carried out in Ireland between the 1940s and 1990s, to aid childbirth as an alternative to a Caesarean Section, have publicly disagreed about the right path to take in order to recover compensation for symphysiotomy operations.

Following a meeting with Minister for Health James Reilly at the beginning of the month, Patient Focus and SOS Ltd issued a joint statement in which they supported a proposal by James Reilly to determine compensation for symphysiotomy operations through a negotiated mediation with a judge rather than litigation in the courts.

However, speaking at a Survivors of Symphysiotomy emergency general meeting in Dublin, chairperson Marie O´Connor declared that the proposed scheme is exploitative and they do not want to be involved in it – stating that the system proposed by James Reilly “seeks to buy their silence”.

Comparing it to a Magdalene-type solution, Ms O´Connor claimed that Minister Reilly´s proposals were based on the draft findings of the Walsh Report due to be published in the autumn, in which it was determined that the majority of the symphysiotomy operations that were carried out were “medically acceptable” at the time.

Ms O´Connor said that Minister Reilly is yet to openly admit that a wrong had been committed and called on the government to proceed with legislation removing the Statute of Limitations for symphysiotomy claims, which first passed its Private Members Bill stage back in April, but has since failed to progress to committee stage.

Survivors of Symphysiotomy are seeking compensation for symphysiotomy operations of between €250,000 and €450,000 for each victim and have argued that, by not acknowledging that hospitals and medical practitioners were negligent when performing symphysiotomy procedures, the government is denying victims access to justice and a “fair and equitable” settlement of their claims.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

One Step Closer to Compensation for Symphysiotomy Survivors

The prospect of compensation for symphysiotomy survivors moved one step closer last night when the second stage of Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Private Members Bill to introduce a one year window in the Statute of Limitations passed through the Dáil unopposed.

Many of the women who underwent symphysiotomy and pubiotomy procedures without their knowledge or consent were in the Dáil to hear the Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesman introduce his Bill by saying “Lifting the statute bar – unanimously recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice in June 2012 – would obviate procedural battles and ensure unfettered access for all to the courts. Judges here have no discretion in relation to the statute bar, as they do in other common law jurisdictions”.

The issue that faced the survivors of symphysiotomy procedures – carried out in Ireland between the 1940s and 1990s to aid childbirth as an alternative to a Caesarean Section – is that their right to claim compensation for symphysiotomy injuries was time-barred by the Statute of Limitations. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin´s proposed legislation would open a one-year window to enable claims for compensation for symphysiotomy survivors to be processed through the courts.

The Government had already indicated that they would not oppose the proposed Private Members Bill, and Health Minister Dr. James Reilly received a warm reception when he announced that he would ensure that legislation to allow compensation for symphysiotomy survivors would be put in place by the end of the year. “Actions must bring closure for those who have been harmed, and who we cannot give back their lives,” he said. “But we can ensure resources flow to them and not elsewhere.

A spokesman for the Department of Health believes some work needs to be done on the drafting of the legislation for it to pass through the committee stage and into law, but Dr. Reilly indicated in his speech that he would brief the Government further once he receives the final independent Walsh Report.

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If you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to clinical malpractice in hospital, you could be entitled to compensation. A compensation claim for clinical malpractice in hospital has to show that you sustained an avoidable injury which “at the time and in the circumstances” was attributable to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. However, unlike most other types of personal injury claim, a compensation claim for clinical malpractice cannot be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland and you will need the services of an experienced hospital negligence solicitor to negotiate for a settlement of hospital clinical malpractice compensation with the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or to represent you in court when necessary.

Failed Sterilisation Compensation Awarded by High Court

The High Court has awarded a mother €100,000 for failed sterilisation compensation after the son she was never supposed to have died after only six months of life.

Karen Hurley-Ahern (41) from County Limerick, underwent the sterilisation operation in February 2001 after finding from her GP that she had an unusual blood-clotting disorder that would pose a risk to herif ever she were to fall pregnant again.

The operation was carried by gynaecologist Dr Victor Moore at the Tralee General Hospital, but in April 2002 Karen became pregnant once more and, after a difficult pregnancy, gave birth to baby Samuel on 10th October 2002 – six weeks prematurely and by emergency Caesarean section.

Samuel experienced severe abnormalities which were unrelated to Kare’s sterilisation operation, and stayed in hospital for six months – kept alive by a series of life-support machines. In April 2003, Samuel experienced a severe heart attack and Karen and her partner – Garrett Ahern – made the difficult decision to turn off the life-support machines.

After seeking legal guidance, Karen and Garrett began a claim for failed sterilisation compensation against Dr Moore and the Southern Health Board (now the Health Service Executive), for the pain and trauma the couple had been through due to the unsuccessful sterilisation procedure.

Dr Moore and the HSE did not accept liability – alleging that the operation had been performed correctly and the couple had been advised that there was a chance of failure. However, in the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Sean Ryan ruled in favour of the now-separated claimants – recognising that Samuel’s disability was not as a result of the failed sterilisation procedure, but stating that Karen had suffered to a major extent due to the defendant´s negligence.

Awarding Karen €100,000 in failed sterilisation compensation, Mr Justice Sean Ryan stated that the award was in respect of the worry she had suffered when she found she was pregnant, the pain of childbirth, the distress of Samuel’s illness and distress after his death. However, no compensation award was made to Garrett as – according to Mt Justice Sean Ryan – while he had undoubtedly endured emotional trauma, there was no evidence Garrett had sustained a defined psychiatric injury.

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