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Death Caused by Ruling Returned After Cancer Patient Discharged Herself from Hospital

A 67-year-old cancer patient passed away four days after she was allowed to discharge herself from the Mater Hospital due to overcrowding, the Coroner’s Court was informed in Dublin today.

Elizabeth Leavy from Montpellier Road, Dublin 7 discharged herself from the Mater Hospital after she found herself  waiting on a trolley for six hours. Family members remained alongside her all evening but they were not aware her condition was so serious.

The official inquest was told that Mrs Leavy’s death occurred due to cardio-respiratory arrest due to multi-drug toxicity. The woman displayed toxic levels of the opiate based pain medications Tramadol and Oramorph in her system, which had built up over time. A post-mortem report showed that her woman’s cancer was not active but she had chronic inflammation of the liver due to the accumulation of medications.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said during the inquest: “These medications act centrally in the respiratory centre and it impedes your breathing. Your breathing stops and your heart stops and I think that is what happened that morning. The build-up of the medications in her system caused her death.”

Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Mater Hospital Dr Tomas Breslin, describing the overcrowding at the hospital when Mrs Leavy was admitted, said: “Overcrowded conditions bring a higher risk of dying. Every nurse and doctor knows this is a massive problem for patients, it affects their care and their outcomes. I reviewed [Mrs Leavy’s] notes in detail. There were questions we didn’t know the answer to and that would have been the reason for keeping her in the department. That being said, you can understand why, when there is no clear issue, a person would decide to leave”.

A verdict of misadventure was returned by the coroner who said: “She’d gone through a lot of treatment and seemed to be doing well. It’s very tragic, she obviously had a loving and attentive family”.

Speaking following the inquest, Mrs Leavy’s daughter Joy said: “She was left in the hallway beside the bins. She was afraid, in pain, uncomfortable and she was hallucinating. She couldn’t stick it. We waited all night with her for test results and they told us she was okay. If we had of known they wanted to do more research we would’ve made her stay. She was left on a trolley in a hallway for six hours, a cancer patient, she’d had enough.

Her late Mother played the pivotal role and position in their family. Joy added: “She was bubbly, fun, she saw the good in everyone and everything.”

Mrs Leavy, a mother-of-eight, who was first diagnosed with oral and bowel cancer in 2017. She died, four days after she discharged herself from the hospital, on the morning of January 22 2018.


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Woman (27) Settles Case in Relation to Swine Flu Vaccine

The family of a young woman who took  legal action against the State and drugs company GSK in relation to her contracting the sleep disorder narcolepsy after being administered with the receipt of the Pandemrix vaccine has slated as “a national scandal” the millions of Euro in taxpayers money spent defending the case by the State.

Aoife Bennett (27) who was given the vaccine when she was a child during the height of the Swine Flu pandemic fears in 2009, settled her case with the Department of Health and Health Service Executive (HSE) at the High Court. The confidential settlement is without an admission of liability.

The High Court action was last week informed that that key data on the vaccine was not included in Irish medication reports because it was considered to be “useless.” However, that data indicated that Pandemrix had a ten times greater danger for serious side effects than a sister vaccine produced by the same company.

Ms Bennett and her family expressed their wished that that the State decision to settle their action will clear the path for around 100 other pending claims over narcolepsy to be settled with proper compensation being paid to claimants.

The vaccination compensation settlement for the student teacher was awarded against the Department of Health and the HSE. GSK and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) were not party to the settlement and will not pay anything in relation to costs or compensation.

Aoife’s mother Mary Bennett said “It is a national disgrace that millions of taxpayers money has been wasted in defending my case and other similar cases against children and young people who do not have any right to legal aid.” She went on to say that the public was not made aware that there were safety concerns over the vaccine – and she called for a thorough review of the drug regulatory system in Ireland.

The Bennett family also hit out at the way they were treated over the past decade by the State. Ms Bennett had broken down while giving evidence in the High Court. Her parents Pat and Mary said: “The behaviour of the defendants prior to and during the trial has been exceptionally hostile. Further, the State Claims Agency have taken a very adversarial approach in dealing with Aoife’s case. The aggressive cross examination of Aoife, and us as parents, over four days is something I hope will not be replicated for other families. Today, Aoife has succeeded in recovering compensation and her case has been vindicated. However, no money will ever compensate Aoife for a lifetime of living with the incurable disability of narcolepsy and cataplexy.”



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Delayed Treatment due to Negligence Compensation Award of €10,000 made due to Man (31)

Yesterday at the Circuit Civil Court, €10,000 negligence compensation was awarded against the Mater Private Hospital after a man (31) had his operation cancelled, due to a vital piece of medical equipment not being in the surgical pack, despite having been put under general anaesthetic.

Judge John O’ Connor was made aware how Peter Keegan was in the hospital for a surgical procedure on his right hip on 25 November 2016. Keegan, with an address at Woodbine Park, Raheny, Dublin 5 was represented in court by Barrister Conor Kearney, appearing with Mark Tiernan, of Tiernan & Company solicitors. Judge O’Connor was informed that Mr Keegan had been admitted to the hospital’s short stay procedure unit at early that morning. His client had been administered the anaesthetic at 7.30am, before the procedure was due to begin. it was then noticed, when the operation set of instruments had been first opened, that an irrigation extender was not present as it should have been. The missing piece of equipment, the Judge was told, had been sent out to be fixed four weeks earlier. However, it had not been replaced and, when Mr Keegan awoke from the anaesthetic at around 8.30am, he was informed that his operation had not gone ahead. This caused him some worry and the team of nurses with him advised of the error that had been made. Mr Keegan told the Court that he was still extremely drowsy when he had been sent home some time later and he had suffered stomach discomfort and nausea in the days following this.

The procedure was arranged again for ten days later on December 5. Mr Keegan informed the Judge that he had been very concerned in the run up to the new operation. He told the judge that he had been nervous about taking the anaesthetic once more.

Judge O’Connor said that he thought there had been some level negligence on the side of the Mater Private Hospital in what he labelled to as an ‘unfortunate incident’. He went on to say that he felt Mr Keegan had been emotionally impacted after the incident despite being fortunate that there had been no long-term consequences due to the surgical mistake.

€10,000 delayed Treatment due to Negligence Compensation against the Mater Private Hospital was awarded in relation to the case.

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Dentist Negligence Compensation Action Settled for €60k

Roisin Mimnagh, has agreed to a €60,000 dentist negligence settlement after experiencing considerable trauma following unauthorized dental treatment being administered which left her afraid to smile.

After the treatment of 50-year-old Mrs Mimnagh, the Court was advised, to her surprise, that an incisor had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite.

David McParland, representing Ms Mimnagh, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that his client was someone who was usually pleased with how she looks. She booked a treatment with Dr Anna O’Donovan, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, to have her incisor realigned. He told the Court: “To her horror she afterwards found that her tooth had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite that was smaller and shorter and different from her original tooth”.

Judge Linnane was informed by Mr McPartland that his client at first was told that she was going to have some white filling applied to her tooth. She was shocked when she later saw it had been filed away and an amalgam or composite applied to it.

Remedial work was completed during 2013 however Mr McParland said Ms Mimnagh was still wearing an appliance on her tooth. He went on to say that a dental specialist they contacted was of the opinion that Ms Mimnagh would need further realignment work.

Legal Counsel for Dr O’Donovan entered a full defence to Ms Mimnagh’s legal action. However they had admitted that written consent for the specific treatment for her tooth had not been provided. She added that the case before the court was not one of assigning liability but a matter of assessing damages.

Judge Linnane told the Court that she had examined the pleadings and had found that the latest expert report was over three years old. Due to this she said that she could not assess damages as the reports were too old. Judge Linnane suggested some talks about settling the case. Following talks, Mr McParland returned to Court shortly later to advise the Judge that the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Ms Mimnagh’s legal costs to be taxed in default of agreement.


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Use of Vaginal Mesh ‘Unsafe’ for Incontinence Treatment – UK Expert

Chartered chemist Dr Chris DeArmitt, an expert witness who has helped over 9,000 women settle their vaginal mesh compensation actions successfully in the United Kingom, has expressed the opinion that devices such as these are not safe for the treatment of incontinence.

Dr DeArmitt commented, during an interview with Sky News, that “there are two main reasons why any plastics material expert will tell you just obviously that this is a bad material and I have never heard anyone who disagrees with me. I see an absolute disregard for proper testing. Testing is way less than you would see on a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

Vaginal mesh devices are usually used in operations to address stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP); two conditions women can develop a condition for after natural childbirth or later in life.

Speaking previously, Minister for Health Simon Harris said the suspension in Ireland of all surgical procedures involving these devices would remain until such time as the Health Service Executive implements 19 recommendations from Chief Medical Officer in Ireland, Dr Tony Holohan, at the end of 2018. The report said that the transvaginal mesh implant (TVMI) devices, used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse, can no longer be regarded as safe or acceptable for first line treatment. He said that these devices should only now be used in the management of complex cases, where other treatment options have not been successful or are not deemed appropriate.

Holohan said that it is still appropriate to use mesh for a mid-urethral sling for stress urinary incontinence and also as an abdominally placed mesh for dealing with prolapse.

There were a number of compensation claims submitted in in Ireland during 2017. This came about after the women in question, according to their legal teams,  who were dealing with pain issues witnessed news programmes in the UK describing legal actions thee. They had been unaware of the link between their pain and and the vaginal mesh devices device prior to seeing the reports.

The US Food and Drug Administration(FA) in the USA made the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be implemented in relation to pelvic organ prolapse illegal in 2019. These steps were implemented after a public campaign that involved over 100,000 people are suing in the United States in relation to injuries and illnesses. They allege that their illnesses and pain arose from the use of vaginal mesh devices.

Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said: “Patient safety is our highest priority, and women must have access to safe medical devices that provide relief from symptoms and better management of their medical conditions.”



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Woman who suffered Stroke due to Hospital Prescription Negligence Paid €710000 HSE Settlement

A €710,000 hospital prescription negligence compensation settlement between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 69-year-old woman, who suffered a major stroke after she was discharged from a hospital without her blood thinning medication, has been approved at the High Court.

In addition to the €710,000 payment, annual care for the rest of her life in the region of €250,000 a year is also being provided and an apology from the HSE was read out in the High Court.

Mary Moss was allowed to leave hospital without her prescribed anticoagulants. She remained “unknowingly” without these for another six weeks. As a result of this lack of medication she suffered a major stroke and is now disabled.

The HSE apologised to Ms Moss and her family, through a court statement, and her family for any “shortcomings” the occurred during the treatment she was given at Sligo University Hospital. They said they regretted the huge upheaval that this has caused to the life of Ms Moss and her family.

Des O’Neill SC, acting for Ms Moss, told informed the Judge that she had suffered a stroke in 2010 and recovered well. However, in February 2018 she had experienced another ‘episode’ and her anti-thinning medication was amended in hospital. However, her medication was not included in her prescription given to her upon her discharge. Unfortunately, this mistake went unrecognised she suffered a stroke six weeks later.

Mr O’Neill said Ms Moss is, at present, in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, having made a good recovery. Her family plan are formulating plans to taking her back home to Ballymote, Co Sligo, as soon as they can. Her daughter Leanne Moss, speaking  outside court, that she was happy to know that her mother’s care will be paid for annually and that this would help her family hugely. She said her mother is confined to a wheelchair s she suffers from left side paralysis following the stroke.

The family’s solicitor, Roger Murray, commented: “Thanks to a successful mediation, the family can now concentrate on getting the best possible care for their mother, and moving her home to the west where she is happiest.”

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€260,000 Wrongful Death Award for Family of Woman Who Died After Receiving Half Epilepsy Drug Dose

The family and relations of Kathleen Leech who died due to a charting mistake lead to her only getting 50% ofher required epilepsy medication treatment for a period of 23 days have settled their High Court action in relation to her wrongful death for a sum of €260,292.

The 68-year-old Wexford mother of five adult children passed away at Peamount Healthcare nursing home, Newcastle, Co Dublin on June 30 2012 after her caring staff did not notice that she had only being given one daily dose of Keppra, an anticonvulsant to stabilise her epilepsy, despite the fact that she should have also been given another daily dose.

Mrs Leech’s husband, Gregory Leech senior,  took sued the care home for wrongful death compensation. In a separate wrongful death compensation action Mrs Leech’s children – Noreen, John, and Gregory Leech junior, and Marian Dalton and Kathleen Caulfield – sued for trauma caused by nervous shock.

Along with accepting liability, Peamount Nursing Home made an unreserved apology for shortcomings in care given to Mrs Leech. In a letter read out in court on Thursday, the nursing home expressed an unreserved apology for Mr Leech in relation to the failings in care for his wife and for the trauma and upset it had caused to the family.

Barney Quirke SC, representing the Leech family, told the presiding judge that Mrs Leech suffered a stroke in November 2011. Unfortunately she never recovered enough to return home from Tallaght Hospital but a place was allocated to her in Peamount in June 2012.

Counsel told the Court that, following an in depth investigation and a following inquest, a number of major changes have been adapted by the management of Peamount to ensure that a mistake like this does not happen again.

On the day she was taken to Peamount Ms Leech was required to be taking 21 medications on a daily basis. However the pharmacy was closing and her daily requirements were not recorded and it was not noted that she required two doses of Keppra each day. Ms Leech then went 23 days without her second daily dose. After this she experienced a major seizure and was taken back to Tallaght Hospital. Sadly it was, at this point, too late to save her as she had developed an infection. She died on June 30 2012.

Mrs Leech’s children agreed to waive their claim to the statutory €25,000 payment to the family in relation to the wrongful death of their mother. Instead the €260,292  award is to go to their father for him to manage.


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Boy (9) who Sustained Brain Injury as an Infant Award Record Medical Negligence Compensation of €32m

Benjamin Gillick, a nine year old boy who sustained life long brain damage due to a delayed diagnosis of infection following surgery by medical staff when he was only a small child just an infant, has had a €32 million medical negligence compensation award approved at the High Court.

The boy’s parents, Miriam and Andrew Gillick, urged with the judge not to approve the proposed award as they were of the opinion that is insufficient when it comes to dealing with his health for the remainder of his life. They said: “It leaves us with a shortfall that will be imposed on ourselves or our children, or possibly our grandchildren.”

Presiding Judge Justice Kevin Cross told those present that a small percentage of the compensation, under €500,000, was being awarded due to the tragic injuries inflicted on Benjamin. Most of the remainder of the compensation awarded is being made s due to the cost of Benjamin’s complex treatment, educational and housing needs for the rest of his life.

The family previously live at Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod, Dublin but are now living in London.  As party of the legal action Benjamin alleged the hospital was negligent about the investigation, diagnosis, management treatment and care of the shunt infection which he attended with on April 9th, 2011.Judge Cross, in giving his approval for a final settlement offer of €25m, stated: “When the headlines come to be written it should be noted that no one is getting a bonanza”.

Andrew Gillick, the boy’s father, told the Judge that he is worried with regard to the money being insufficient when compared to rates of return on investment in England, where the family have moved to. He went on to say that there has recently been a similar case decided in the UK where the compensation award was approximately €45m due to the costs of carers, therapies, aids and appliances, transport and education. He (Andrew) cried as he spoke of of his son’s “gruelling regime”daily that includes therapy for hours each day and that the need for two carers. Their figures for their son’s needs were not inflated he added.

Benjamin and his identical twin brother weres born prematurely. At 11 months old Benjamin had to undergo a clinical procedure at Temple Street Children’s Hospital to drain fluid from his brain. At the time a shunt was placed to address this issues. However, the boy was later brought back to the hospital as he was puking and feeling quite sick.

The High Court was informed that a shunt infection is a common complication of the process and the cause of the negligence was that for up to three days this possibility was not investigated. The court was also informed that Benjamin suffers with cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic, and cannot communicate verbally like other children of the same age.


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Hospital and Negligence Compensation Award of €268m Completed by State Claims Agency from 2017-18

The total figure of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in relation to hospital and medical negligence claims totals over half a billion euro from 2017-18

New figures published by Minister for Health Simon Harris indicate that the amount of of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in 2018 was €268.45m for hospital and medical negligence cases – a rise of €18.6 million – or 7.5% – on the €249.77m handed over in 2017. This brings the overall amount of compensation for hospital and medical negligence paid out in 2017-18 to €518.2m.

The figures were published by the State Claims Agency (SCA) as part of a response to an official  Dáil Question from Fianna Fáil’s Finance spokesman, Michael McGrath. The response also indicated that the largest sum paid out in 2018 for hospital or medical negligence was €15.5m to an individual suffering with cerebral palsy.

Compensation cases made in relation to birth/pregnancy negligence or cerebral palsy made up seven of the top ten hospital or medical negligence payouts during 2018. The figures show that, in the seven cerebral palsy cases, an overall sum of €60.3m compensation was paid out in order to give adequate treatment for the people involved for the remainder of their lives.

The rest of the top ten was made up of cases including a pay-out of €6.3 million for a clinical procedure at surgery and a separate payout of €5.9m under the same category.

The smallest lowest payout in the top ten was €4.37mrelating to a clinical procedure in the Gynaecology service.

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€1.26m Medical Negligence Compensation for Man who Contracted Hepatitis C from Contaminated Blood Transfusion

It was ruled in High Court today that a man, who is suffering from advanced liver disease, is to get compensation of more than €1.26 million as a result of contracting Hepatitis C from a contaminated blood transfusion administered to him when he was a young child boy.

When he was 20-years-old the man was given a provisional compensation award of €647,000 from the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal.  He appealed to the High Court in relation to  an additional compensation award of €200,000 made in 2018. He is now over 40-years old and is married with children.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton , in a judgment released this week, more than trebled the €200,000 award to a sum of €620,642 while also increasing the tribunal’s general compensation award of €150,000 to €220,000. This was in relation to the consequences of decompensated cirrhosis of the liver – advanced liver disease – caused by the Hepatitis C virus.

The man claimed  the award failed to properly take into account the devastating consequences de-compensated cirrhosis has had, and will go on having, on every aspect of his life, including shortening it and the likelihood he will develop liver cancer at some point in the future. Along with this he was seeking compensation in relation to some childcare costs arising from his inability to assist with childcare.

His spouse is in full time employment in a senior position, is not due to retire for many years, so they have had to hire a permanent childminder.

In his judgment, the judge remarked that the man contracted Hepatitis C due to a contaminated blood transfusion given to him as a toddler when he was taken to hospital in the 1980s in relation to a different medical condition which was successfully treated.

However, during his adolescence, the Hepatitis C illness began to affect impact on his bodily functions, he had to decline a promotion to an important position and had to retire from work when he was just 20 years old.


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