Call our freephone helpline to find out about medical negligence   1-800 989 988

Claim for the Failure to Diagnose Vasa Praevia Complications Heard at Court

The High Court has approved a €1.98 million interim settlement of compensation after hearing a claim for the failure to diagnose vasa praevia complications.

In October 2010, a mother from Midleton in County Cork gave birth to twin boys by emergency Caesarean Section at Cork University Maternity Hospital. One of the twins was born in good health, while the second was delivered in a poor condition due to suffering foetal distress in the womb. He was subsequently diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

On her son´s behalf, the woman made a claim for the failure to diagnose vasa praevia complications during her pregnancy – a scenario in which the foetal blood vessels cross or run near the internal opening of the uterus – alleging that scans conducted the previous June and September revealed a low-lying placenta.

The Cork University Maternity Hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE) denied the allegations, stating that it was not normal practice to conduct further investigations to identify or eliminate the risk of vasa praevia complications. However, an interim settlement of compensation was agreed without an admission of liability.

As the claim for the failure to diagnose vasa praevia complications had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement of compensation had to be approved by a court to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. The approval hearing took place earlier this week, when the court was told about the circumstances leading up to the boy´s birth and the alleged failure to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy.

The court also heard how, in 2014, the boy – now six years of age – had won a National Children of Courage Award, and that last year his family and friends raised funds so that the boy could be flown to Missouri for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. Since the surgery the boy has been able to walk for the first time, but he still needs concentrated physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy.

The High Court approved the interim settlement of the claim for the failure to diagnose vasa praevia complications and adjourned the case for five years. In five years´ time, more will be known about the boy´s future needs, and the family will have the options of a further interim settlement or a lump sum settlement if a system of periodic compensation payments is not yet put in place.

Read More

Settlement of Claim against the HSE for a Mismanaged Birth Approved at the High Court

The €98,000 settlement of a claim against the HSE for a mismanaged birth has been approved at the High Court despite the HSE failing to admit liability.

The claim against the HSE for a mismanaged birth was made by a couple from Ballyneety in County Limerick following the death of their daughter six hours after she had been born at the Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital.

The couple alleged that their daughter had been born in good health on July 15, 2010 but, due to a serious of negligent actions by hospital staff, the child suffered a severe loss of blood that was not detected in a timely manner and died.

The claim against the HSE for a mismanaged birth alleged that, after her birth, the baby was lifted above the level of the placenta to untangle her from the umbilical cord and there was a failure to clamp the cord in a timely and effective manner – thus causing the severe loss of blood.

The HSE denied the allegations and presented an alternate version of the facts. Although failing to admit liability, an offer of settlement was made of €98,000 to account for the couple´s emotional trauma and nervous shock on learning of the death of their child.

At the hearing to approve the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told a dispute existed around how the baby had been lifted so the umbilical cord could be cut. He heard that the child later became floppy and collapsed – dying six hours and thirteen minutes after her birth.

During the approval hearing a statement of regret was read to the family be a representative of the HSE, after which Judge Cross approved the settlement of the claim against the HSE for a mismanaged birth and extended his sympathy to the family for their loss.

Read More

Negligent Spine Surgery Compensation Claim Resolved with Approval of €7.1 Million Settlement

A negligent spine surgery compensation claim, made on behalf of a former barrister, has been resolved with the approval of a €7.1 million settlement.

The claimant – a 46-year-old former barrister – attended the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry, Dublin, for elective routine cervical spine surgery in 2014 after complaining of ongoing back pain. Although the surgery itself was successful, a failure to properly manage his levels of anaesthetic during his recovery resulted in the claimant suffering a hypoxic brain injury.

Due to being starved of oxygen during his recovery from the surgery, the claimant needs now twenty-four hour care. The former barrister can react to the presence of his family and smile at his two children, but he cannot communicate his needs or when he is in pain. He is currently being cared for in a care home, but the long-term plan is for him to be cared for at the family home in Clonee, County Meath.

On her husband´s behalf, the former barrister´s wife made a negligent spine surgery compensation claim against anaesthetist Deirdre Lohan. Liability was not admitted until last month, when a settlement of €7.1 million was agreed. As the negligent spine surgery compensation claim had been made on behalf of a claimant unable to represent themselves, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.

The approval hearing took place at the High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that the claimant´s care had been paid for to date by a trust sent up by friends and colleagues shortly after his injury. He also heard that the claimant´s wife was happy to accept the offer of settlement on her husband´s behalf because the litigation process had been distressing for her and she wanted it finished.

Judge Cross approved the settlement of the negligent spine surgery compensation claim, sympathising with the family for the “terrible tragedy” they had suffered.

Read More

Judge Approves Interim Compensation for a Brain Injury due to a Hospital Misdiagnosis

A judge has approved a €2.5 million interim settlement of compensation for a brain injury due to a hospital misdiagnosis in favour of a six-year-old boy.

On 24th August 2012, the parents of Eoghan Keating took their son to the A&E Department of Waterford Regional Hospital as he had developed a rash and was suffering from a fever. Eoghan was diagnosed with mumps and discharged with his parents being told to give him ibuprofen and Carpol.

During the night, Eoghan´s condition deteriorated. He became lethargic and a swelling in his neck increased in size, causing his concerned parents to call the caredoc GP service. The caredoc service advised Eoghan´s parents to take their son back to Waterford Regional Hospital.

On his return to the hospital, Eoghan was correctly diagnosed as having a chicken pox infection. He was intubated and ventilated before later being transferred to a hospital in Dublin. Tragically, the failure to correctly diagnose chicken pox and treat his infection with antibiotics on his first visit to hospital resulted in Eoghan suffering a brain injury due to which he is now tetraplegic and unable to talk.

Through his mother – Martina Keating of Upper Dunhill in County Waterford – Eoghan claimed compensation for a brain injury due to a hospital misdiagnosis against the Health Service Executive (HSE). In the legal action, it was claimed that there had been a failure to admit Eoghan when his parents first took him to the A&E Department, and a failure to identify the signs of a significant evolving infection.

After an investigation into the allegations, liability for Eoghan´s condition was admitted by the HSE and a €2.5 million interim settlement of compensation for a brain injury due to a hospital misdiagnosis was agreed. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Eoghan´s best interests.

Consequently the circumstances leading up to Eoghan´s brain injury and its consequences were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, the General Manager of Waterford Regional Hospital – Richard Dooley – read an apology to the family for the “deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan”, while the little boy´s mother told Judge Cross “We grieve every day for the life Eoghan has lost”.

The judge approved the interim settlement of compensation for a brain injury due to a hospital misdiagnosis and adjourned the case for two years. In two years´ time, the family will have a further interim settlement of compensation approved unless a system of periodic payments has been introduced by the Irish government in the meantime.

Read More

Man Settles Claim for Falling from a Hospital Trolley

A man, who allegedly suffered a back injury while in the care of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, has settled his claim for falling from a hospital trolley.

In September 2015, Anthony Whelan (64) – a caretaker from Tallaght in Dublin – attended the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght complaining of a severe post-operative pain. It was decided to admit Anthony overnight in order to conduct a second operative procedure the following morning.

Anthony was put onto a hospital trolley to be transported to a ward. When no bed could be found to accommodate him, Anthony was moved into the corridor near a nursing station on the hospital trolley and screens placed around him so that he could get some rest.

While Anthony slept, he fell from the trolley – hitting his back against the base of the screens as he landed on the floor. An x-ray failed to reveal any injury to Anthony´s back, lungs or chest, but he was given a painkilling injection and moved to a private room.

After undergoing treatment to resolve his initial complaint, Anthony sought legal advice and made a claim for falling from a hospital trolley against the Adelaide and Meath Hospital. In his claim, Anthony alleged that he had not received appropriate management and care.

The hospital acknowledged that Anthony had fallen from a hospital trolley due to negligence, but disputed the extent of his injury and the amount of injury compensation he was claiming. Consequently the case was scheduled to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages only.

However, soon after the hearing had commenced, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was informed that the two parties had come to an agreement on a settlement of the claim for falling from a hospital trolley. The judge was told that the settlement was within the jurisdiction of the District Court and that costs had also been agreed between the two parties.

Read More

Health Minister Announces Review of Medical Negligence Claims Process

Simon Harris has announced that one of the roles of the new National Patient Safety Office will be to review the current medical negligence claims process.

The Health Minister announced the establishment of the National Patient Safety Office while addressing delegates at a patient safety conference in Dublin on Monday. Mr Harris said that, under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality, the new Office would “lead a program of significant patient safety measures”.

Among its roles, the National Patient Safety Office will be responsible for establishing a national patient advocacy service, the introduction of a patient safety surveillance system and the setting up of a national advisory council for patient safety. It has also been charged with conducting a review of the medical negligence claims process.

The review of the medical negligence claims process is hoped to progress the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill – a bill that proposes the open disclosure of adverse medical events to patients and their families. Although the HSE produced national guidelines for open disclosure in 2013, subsequent events have demonstrated that the guidelines are not being applied in Irish hospitals.

Patient safety campaigners and leading legal figures have been seeking a review of the medical negligence claims process for years. They claim that without a statutory duty of candour, any new medical negligence claims process is unworkable and criticise former Health Minister Leo Varadkar for missing an opportunity to enforce open disclosure in the Civil Liberty (Amendment) Bill 2015.

Other proposals in the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill include preventing the unauthorised disclosure of patient health information, using modern technology to facilitate the safe exchange of healthcare data, and extending the Health Information and Quality Authority´s (HIQA´s) remit to private health service providers. Unfortunately the measures are unlikely to be introduced until the EU´s revision of its data protection regulations are finalised.

Read More

Settlement of Compensation for Scarring due to Hospital Negligence Approved at Court

A High Court judge has approved a €100,000 settlement of compensation for scarring due to hospital negligence at a hearing of the High Court in Dublin.

Ann Ryan from Rathdrum in County Wicklow gave birth to her second daughter at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin on 19th October 2012 – just twenty-five weeks into her pregnancy. Baby Sophia was transferred to the Special Care Unit, where catheters were inserted to help with her feeding and administer medication.

The areas of Sophia´s skin surrounding the catheters were cleaned with chlorhexidine rather than the usual sepsis-preventing povidone-iodine. This action was undertaken as part of the National Children´s Research Centre´s “SKA trial” – a trial that Ann had agreed to take part in provided that Sophia did not experience any discomfort or side effects.

However, the morning after her transfer to the Special Care Unit, nurses noticed redness and ulcerations on Sophia´s back. The condition was diagnosed as being an adverse reaction to the antisepsis treatment and, because Sophia was in distress from the pain, she was administered morphine intravenously and Fucidim – a cream used to prevent bacterial skin infections – was applied to her skin.

As the condition failed to improve, the Fucidim treatment was discontinued the following day and an alternate cream applied – Duoderm. The redness and ulcerations began to fade, but Sophia has been left with discoloured skin on her back and a scar that was diagnosed in May 2014 as being consistent with a chemical burn.

Through her father – Tom – Sophia claimed compensation for scarring due to hospital negligence; alleging that the Holles Street hospital had been negligent in her treatment. It was also alleged that, due to the discolouration of the skin on her back, Sophia will likely require a skin graft in the future.

The hospital offered to settle the claim without an admission of liability for €100,000 and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Richard Humphries was given the details of the settlement offer along with a synopsis of Sophia´s treatment after her premature birth. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for scarring due to hospital negligence and also ordered that the hospital pay the Ryan´s legal costs.

Read More

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.

Read More

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Failing to Diagnose a Hearing Impairment

A €340,000 settlement of compensation for failing to diagnose a hearing impairment has been approved by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Cork.

Clodagh Enright from Knocknagoshel in County Tipperary was just four years old in April 2006 when her parents expressed concerns about her speech to the local health nurse. The nurse referred Clodagh to the audiology department of her local hospital, where she underwent a hearing test.

The test failed to identify any problems with Clodagh´s hearing, but her parents´ concerns continued. In May 2007, a second hearing test was arranged that revealed Clodagh had a significant hearing impairment. Clodagh subsequently underwent a cochlear implant and had hearing aids fitted to help improve her hearing.

After receiving a medical opinion that Clodagh´s hearing would not have deteriorated to such a degree if the impediment had been diagnosed after the first test, Clodagh´s mother – Eileen – claimed compensation for failing to diagnose a hearing impairment against the Health Service Executive (HSE) on her daughter´s behalf.

It was alleged in the legal action that Clodagh´s education had suffered because of the hearing impediment. The HSE admitted liability for the misdiagnosis and a €340,000 settlement of compensation for failing to diagnose a hearing impairment was agreed. However, as the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently, at the approval hearing at the High Court in Cork, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told about the two hearing tests and the consequences of the misdiagnosis on the first one. After hearing that Clodagh had received extra tuition to help her catch up with her education, Judge Cross approved the settlement – ordering that it be paid into court funds until Clodagh becomes a legal adult in four years.

Read More

Settlement Approved in Claim for Medical Negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital

A €1.75 million interim settlement of a claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital has been approved at the High Court.

The claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick was brought by two-year-old Charlie Enright, whose mother Catriona was admitted to the hospital on August 19th 2013, thirty-seven weeks pregnant with her son.

After tests were conducted on Catriona, doctors made the decision to induce labour and administered Syntocinon. However, despite the well-chronicled side effects of Syntocinon, there was a failure to adequately monitor Catriona´s condition as Charlie suffered hyper-stimulation in the womb.

Due to the misinterpretation of a cardiotocography trace and the belated recognition of foetal distress, Charlie was born “flat” the following morning – unable to breathe by himself. The new-born child was transferred to Cork University Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an intra-cranial haemorrhage underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment on his head.

Despite the rapid action to prevent brain damage after his birth, Charlie is permanently disabled due to the lack of care his mother received prior to his delivery. On her son´s behalf, Catriona made a claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital against the Health Service Executive (HSE) – who, after an investigation into the claim, admitted liability for Charlie´s birth injuries.

Negotiations started to settle the claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital; but, as Charlie´s future needs are not yet determined, a €1.75 million interim settlement of the claim was agreed to cover Charlie´s care and medical expenses for the next two years. To ensure that the interim settlement was appropriate, an approval hearing was scheduled for the High Court.

At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said that the interim settlement was a very good one. He approved the interim settlement and adjourned the hearing for two years, by which time Charlie´s future needs should have been determined and his mother will have the option of accepting a lump sum or assuring Charlie´s future care through a system of periodic payments.

Read More