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Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Apologises for Wrongful Death due to Failing to Diagnose Cancer

A family has received an apology from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for a wrongful death due to failing to diagnose cancer.

The family of Sharon McEneaney from Carrickmacross in County Monaghan – who died in April 2009 from a cancerous tumour in her abdomen – were at the High Court when they heard an apology read to them by a representative of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, were Sharon attended complaining of a pain in her abdomen in October 2007.

The court heard how attending physician Dr Etop Samson Akpan failed to consider the potential of a tumour, and it was not until former TD Dr Rory O´Hanlon intervened on Sharon´s behalf that she was given a biopsy in June 2008.  By then the abdomen cancer had developed beyond the stage at which it could be treated. Sharon died ten months later.

The court was also told that a report compiled by the Health Service Executive (HSE) after an investigation into Sharon´s death made thirty-eight recommendations for the future prevention of a wrongful death due to failing to diagnose cancer and that Dr Akpan was found guilty of a poor professional performance at a hearing of the Medical Council of Ireland´s Fitness to Practise Committee in January 2012.

The apology to the family was read by Margaret Swords – the General Manager of the Louth & Meath Hospital Group – who admitted that Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital had failed Sharon and that the hospital was making progress in implementing the HSE´s recommendations. The court also heard that a settlement of compensation for a wrongful death due to failing to diagnose cancer had been agreed amounting to €62,500.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that €10,000 of the settlement was going to cover the cost of Sharon´s funeral and other expenses related to her death, while Sharon´s mother – Jane – is to receive €27,100, and the remainder to be divided between Sharon´s four brothers and sisters. The judge heard that the family was satisfied with Ms Swords´ apology and the terms of the settlement.

Closing the hearing, Judge Irvine said that the McEneaney family had shown “courage and tenacity” throughout the inquest into Sharon´s death and “marvellous fortitude” in the face of such a tragic loss.

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Judge Approves €142,000 Settlement in Knee Fracture Misdiagnosis Claim

A woman, who was had the opportunity to compete in the Special Olympics taken away from her by hospital negligence, has had the settlement of her knee fracture misdiagnosis claim approved at the High Court.

In May 2009, Amy Rose McGowan was in training for the Special Olympics World Games in Athens – the world’s largest sporting gathering for children and adults with intellectual disabilities – when she fell and injured her knee during a fifty metre sprint race.

Amy Rose (now 31 years of age) was taken to Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan; where doctors failed to recognise a depressed fracture on an x-ray and diagnosed her with a soft tissue injury. Several months later, Amy Rose attended her GP because of an ongoing a pain in her knee. Her GP discovered the depressed fracture of the knee, but too late for Amy Rose to undergo corrective surgery.

Amy Rose made a knee fracture misdiagnosis claim for compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE) through her mother Charlotte McGowan, claiming that the care, diagnosis and treatment she had received in the Emergency Department of Our Lady’s Hospital had been negligent and responsible for being unable to attend the Special Olympics World Games in Athens.

Liability was conceded by the HSE, who acknowledged that Amy Rose´s depressed fracture had been overlooked at the hospital, and a €142,000 settlement of compensation for a knee fracture misdiagnosis was agreed between the HSE and Amy Rose´s legal representatives.

Because of Amy Rose´s intellectual disability, the settlement of the knee fracture misdiagnosis claim had first to be approved by a judge and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard how before her accident Amy Rose won 34 medals and 10 trophies in swimming and athletics.

The judge invited Amy Rose to show her medals and trophies to the court and said that he was “very impressed and full of admiration”. After approving the settlement of Amy Rose´s claim, Judge Peart wished her a happy life with her family before adjourning the hearing.

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