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Tipperary General Hospital Negligence Claim Settled out of Court

A woman has settled her Tipperary General Hospital negligence claim out of court after a judge considered she would have a “huge hill to climb” to establish liability for her husband´s death.

Margaret Devereux from Greenrath, County Tipperary, brought her Tipperary General Hospital negligence claim following her husband´s death in March 2008 after he had been treated at the hospital for an infected toe.

John Devereux had attended the South Tipperary General Hospital with a swollen toe on his right foot and was diagnosed as having a toe infection caused by septic arthritis. Doctors prescribed Sodium Fusidate to treat the infection and sent John home.

John returned to the hospital several weeks later complaining of pains in his legs. The infection in his toe had not got better, so John was administered further doses of Sodium Fusidate and kept in for observation.

However, John´s condition deteriorated, and it was later diagnosed that he was suffering from the condition rhabdmoloysis – a condition in which the muscles break down – due to which John developed acute renal failure, from which he died on March 2nd.

John´s widow – Margaret – made a claim against Tipperary General Hospital for negligence on the grounds that the medication John had been prescribed when he first attended the hospital had conflicted with the treatment he was receiving for his diabetes.

She further alleged that doctors at the hospital should have recognised the symptoms of rhabdmoloysis when John returned to the hospital and claimed that she had suffered severe mental distress due to the Health Service Executive´s breach in their duty of care.

The HSE denied liability for John´s death and disputed the Tipperary General Hospital negligence claim. However, at the High Court in Dublin, Mrs Justice Mary Irvine was told that an out of court settlement had been agreed which would see Margaret receive €45,000 compensation without admission of liability.

Mrs Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement, saying that John´s death had been very tragic but in the circumstances Margaret would have had a huge hill to climb to establish negligence against the South Tipperary General Hospital.

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Percentage of Accepted Awards by the Injuries Board Continues to Decline

The percentage of accepted awards made by the Injuries Board has continued to decline according to data published on

The six-month interim report shows that 16,162 applications for the assessment of personal injury compensation were received by the Injuries Board in the six months to June 2013. 5,286 awards by the Injuries Board were accepted during this period, for an average value of €22,349 – an acceptance rate of 32.7 percent, considerably lower than the acceptance rate of 37.2 percent for the corresponding period in 2012.

Despite the lower acceptance rate, the value of awards by the Injuries Board continues to rise. The total value of awards in the six month period (€118.14 million) was significantly higher than in the first six months of 2012 (€109.03 million) and was explained by Patricia Byron – CEO of the Injuries Board – as being due to some exceptional Injuries Boards awards – including their highest ever accepted assessment of €976,000.

Ms Byron commented that the higher volume of applications for assessment and the increased value of the awards by the Injuries Board should not be used as an excuse by insurance companies to increase their premiums. She said that preliminary figures for Quarter 3 of 2013 indicated a reduction in the number of applications for assessment received by the Injuries Board and that “a continuation of that trend could see full year volume increases being pared back to about 5% – on par with prior years”.

She added that, although there had been an increase in the value of awards by the Injuries Board, the reduction in the processing fee paid by respondents from €850.00 to €600.00 (usually paid by insurance companies on behalf of their policyholders) should more than counter the effect of the higher personal injury compensation settlements.

The majority of awards by the Injuries Board were made for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents (75.5 percent) with public liability claims for injuries sustained in places of public access accounting for 16.4 percent and compensation claims for injuries in the workplace falling once again to 8.1 percent of the awards made by the Injuries Board. The Injuries Board does not process applications for assessment when the plaintiff has sustained a loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to hospital negligence.

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