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Compensation for a Cardiac Arrest due to Medical Negligence Approved at Court

A settlement of compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence has been approved at the High Court in favour of a woman in a vegetative state.

On 1st November 2010, Pauline Carroll from Mountmellick in County Laois attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore for a consult on the progress of her cancer treatment. Pauline (65) had undergone surgery on a tumour earlier in the year and, since August 2010, had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

However, rather than see a doctor first, Pauline was immediately started on another session of chemotherapy. When the doctor saw Pauline an hour later, he said that the treatment should not have been started because her white cell count was 1.07, whereas it should have been at least 1.5 before undergoing a further course of chemotherapy.

Two days later, on 3rd November 2010, Pauline suffered a cardiac arrest at her home. She was taken to hospital where she suffered a second cardiac arrest, causing her to suffer brain damage. Pauline is now in a permanent vegetative state and is cared for around the clock in a specialist nursing home.

On his wife´s behalf, Kevin Carroll claimed compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence – alleging that the treatment should not have been administered before Pauline had seen the doctor, particularly when it was known that she had suffered cardiac pain three months earlier and the chemotherapy drugs she had been treated with were cardiotoxic.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) denied liability for Pauline´s injury – arguing that there was no connection between the administration of the chemotherapy and Pauline´s cardiac arrest and brain damage. However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that the HSE had agreed to a settlement of compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence without an admission of liability.

According to details of the settlement, Pauline will receive €975,000 compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence and the state will pay for her care for as long as she lives. Judge Cross approved the settlement, commenting it was a “very good legal outcome for what has been an unfortunate and tragic outcome”.

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High Court Hears Claim for the Missed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

The High Court has heard the details of a claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer, made by a woman who underwent an allegedly unnecessary mastectomy.

Retired schoolteacher Eileen Fennessy (69) made the claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer after the “Breast Check” National Breast Screening Programme allegedly overlooked potential signs of cancer in a mammogram taken on 25th November 2011.

Eileen – from Piltown in County Kilkenny – was diagnosed with breast cancer the following year after her GP had discovered a large mass in her right breast. She was referred to Waterford Regional Hospital, where an ultrasound and biopsy confirmed the presence of a grade 2 carcinoma.

A course of chemotherapy was initiated straight away, but the treatment failed to reduce the size of the carcinoma and Eileen underwent a right side mastectomy in April 2013. Subsequent to the surgery, Eileen sought legal advice and made a claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer.

In her legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) – who oversee the “Breast Check” screening programme – Eileen alleged that the chemotherapy treatment and mastectomy would have been unnecessary if the correct diagnose of her condition had been made in 2011.

At the High Court, Eileen´s barrister told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that the mammogram taken in November 2011 should have raised suspicions of cancer and Eileen should have recalled for a further investigation. The failure to conduct a further investigation – it was alleged – exposed Eileen to an unnecessary risk of the cancer deteriorating.

Judge Cross also heard that, although Eileen is cancer free following the treatment she underwent, the underlying diagnosis for her future is “extremely serious and devastating”. The HSE denies the allegations and is contesting the claim for the missed diagnosis of breast cancer. The case continues at the High Court tomorrow.

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