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.