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.