An apology has been issued by Tipperary University Hospital to the family of Virgin Media News anchor Colette Fitzpatrick and her sister Olivia in relation to the death of their father on January 31 2019.
Representing the Fitzpatricks’ in court Senior Counsel Oisín Quinn SC, instructed by Cian O’Carroll Solicitors, said that former Garda Chief Superintendent Peter Fitzpatrick (87) passed away after being referred by his GP with a history of bilious vomiting on January 24 2019.
With an address at Holycross, Mr Fitzpatrick, underwent an x-ray which resulted in a diagnosis of obstruction. Additionally it was noted that sepsis was present and intravenous antibiotics were prescribed. Following this, medics started treatment for deep-vein thrombosis. This involved a CT scan being conducted on January 25 and it was known, five days later that he was suffering from bowel obstruction which led to a period of him being unwell and drowsy.
Mr Fitzpatrick underwent an emergency surgical procedure on January 30. Sadly he became critically unwell after the procedure and passed away the following day.
The legal action alleged that there was a failure to adequately, competently or properly diagnose or examine Mr Fitzpatrick’s clinical condition at any time once he had been admitted to hospital on January 24, 2019 and his preventable avoidable death on January 31, 2019. It was also alleged there was a failure to take the required steps to follow up on the CT scan of January 25 when Mr Fitzpatrick was clinically diagnosed with bowel obstruction. The failure, five full days following his admission to hospital, to clarify the cause of the assumed bowel obstruction despite concerning clinical events and investigative results. Finally it was alleged that Mr Fitzpatrick had been in a fit and active condition prior to his death. He cherished his daughters and provided them with a source of great love, affection and joy to them and their families.
Colette Fitzpatrick and her sister Olivia, who had taken the legal action in relation to the mental distress that they suffered in relation to their father’s death, were present in court for the announcement of the settlement.
The letter of apology from the general manager of Tipperary University Hospital said it “sincerely apologised for our failure to take adequate action or steps or interventions that led to the death of your father, Mr Peter Fitzpatrick, in our care. Moreover, we apologise for causing you and your family unnecessary pain and distress”.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability in the case and a settlement was reached with the Fitzpatricks after mediation. The terms of the settlement will remain confidential and
Presiding Judge Justice Paul Coffey conveyed his “deepest sympathy” to them and the Fitzpatrick family.