A claim for a negligent laparoscopy procedure has been resolved at the High Court, with the plaintiff being awarded more than €855,000 compensation.
In June 2002, the plaintiff – a fifty-year-old woman from Grenville in County Laoise – attended the Portlaoise General Hospital (now the Midland General Hospital) to undergo a routine laparoscopy. The objective of the procedure was to establish why the woman was unable to fall pregnant; but, while a trocar was being inserted into her abdomen to facilitate a telescopic examination, the surgical instrument tore an artery, causing the plaintiff to haemorrhage and lose eight pints of blood.
The woman was taken to the hospital´s intensive care unit, where she was placed on a ventilator. She remained on life support for two days and was kept under observation for a further four days before being allowed to leave the hospital. Due to the negligent laparoscopy procedure, the woman has a large scar on her abdomen and continues to experience pain in the abdominal region – pain that will likely remain with her for the rest of her life.
After an investigation was launched into the standard of her care, the woman made a claim for a negligent laparoscopy procedure against her consultant obstetrician – Dr John Corristine – and the Midland Health Board (now the Health Service Executive). The claim for a negligent laparoscopy procedure alleged there had been a failure to take adequate precautions for the woman´s safety and to ensure the equipment used during the procedure was in a good and proper working order.
The consultant obstetrician and HSE acknowledged liability for the mistakes made during the procedure, for the large scar on the woman´s abdomen, and her initial pain and suffering. However, the connection between the negligent laparoscopy procedure and her ongoing pain and suffering was contested. As no resolution to the claim could be found by negotiation, the case proceeded to the High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.
At the hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard medical evidence supporting the connection between the negligent laparoscopy procedure and the woman´s ongoing pain and suffering. The judge was also told that her condition was likely to deteriorate in the future. Judge Cross found the woman´s quality of life had been significantly impaired as a result of the hospital´s lack of care, and he awarded the plaintiff €855,793 in settlement of her claim for a negligent laparoscopy procedure.