Medical Negligence News

UK Expert Speaks out against Vaginal Mesh Usage

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In the United Kingdom one of the main experts on the use of vaginal mesh for medical treatment has expressed the opinion that devices such as these are unsafe for the treatment of incontinence.

Previously, chartered chemist Dr Chris DeArmitt has been an expert witness during court actions against vaginal mesh manufacturers and has helped over 9,000 women settle their compensation actions successfully.

Vaginal mesh devices are used in operations to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP); two conditions women can suffer from after natural childbirth or in their later years.

Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed the suspension in Ireland of all surgical procedures involving these devices until the HSE implements 19 recommendations that were made by the Chief Medical Officer in Ireland, Dr Tony Holohan, at the end of 2018.

Dr Holohan’s report concluded that the devices referred to as transvaginal mesh implants (TVMIs), 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 failed or are not appropriate.

He said that there is enough research to support the use of mesh as a mid-urethral sling for stress urinary incontinence or as an abdominally placed mesh for management of prolapse.

Previously in Ireland, during 2017, several legal actions were submitted. These arose, according to legal representatives for the women in question, after the women who were suffering from pain viewed new reports from the UK detailing legal actions in that jurisdiction. Before this they had, according to the legal counsel, been unaware of any possible link between their health issues and the device.

Earlier in in 2019 the US Food and Drug Administration outlawed the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be implemented in relation to pelvic organ prolapse. This decision was taken following the highlighting on many safety concerns by the general public. More than 100,000 people are suing in the United States in relation to injuries and illnesses that, they claim, came about due to the use of vaginal mesh.

Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said the FDA needed evidence that the devices worked better than the other procedure for POP that does not use mesh. The alternative procedure uses native tissue to repair the prolapse. He 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.”

Prescription Error Compensation Settlement of €710,000 Paid by HSE

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

In addition to this an apology from the HSE was out following the approval. Along with the €710,000 payment, annual care for the rest of her life in the region of €250,000 a year is also being provided.

The woman in question, Mary Moss, went without her required anti-coagulants “unknowingly” for a period of six weeks. Due to this lack of medication she suffered a major stroke and is now disabled.

The issued an apology to Ms Moss, via a court statement, and her family for any “shortcomings” the occurred during her treatment at Sligo University Hospital. It went on to express regret for the major upheaval that this has caused to the life of Ms Moss and her family.

Legal representative for Ms Moss, Des O’Neill SC, for Ms Moss, informed the High Court 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 changed in hospital. However, her medication was not included on her prescription on her discharge. Sadly, this mistake remained unnoticed until MS Moss suffered a stroke six weeks later.

Mr O’Neill said Ms Moss is currently in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, having made a significant recovery. Her family plan are making plans to being her home to Ballymote, Co Sligo, as soon as they can feasibly do so. Her daughter, Leanne Moss said outside court that she was relieved to know that her mother’s care will be paid for annually and that this would help her family greatly. She said her mother has to use a wheelchair.as she suffers from left side paralysis following the stroke.

The family’s solicitor, Roger Murray, said: “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.”

HIV Positive Woman Awarded €10,000 Compensation after Dentist Stopped Treating Mid-Procedure

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AA HIV positive woman has been awarded €10,000 in compensation after a dentist refused to treat her, stopping while she was in the dentist chair and under anaesthetic, after she advised him that she had HIV status.

Along with this to this the dentist has agreed to provide a written apology to the woman in question.

Before attending the dental appointment for her procedure, the woman had made her HIV status known to the dental clinic. Following this, during the procedure, after she had been injected with anaesthetic, the woman was questioned by the dentist as to whether she was taking medication. She advised informed dentist that she is taking her HIV medication. At this point in time the dentist withdrew his service raising his perceived concerns regarding contamination.

The woman at the centre of the case said: “I felt embarrassed, ashamed and I was really stressed and very anxious. Playing the whole scenario in my head again made me feel a kind of rejection. I went in confident thinking they knew my status and it was okay for them to help me, but after what happened it has had a huge impact on my self-esteem. It took me back to the time when I first found out about my HIV status. The woman added: “I had no idea that what they had done was wrong until after speaking to my doctor. I feel like going to the WRC helped me, as I believe the clinic is now aware that their conduct towards me was wrong. I feel better hoping they will not treat anyone that way, not only because they agreed compensate me, but also because staff will receive awareness training.”

The dental clinic, as part of the settlement, will implement an appropriate company policy that reflects their commitment to equality and will ensure that comparable incidents do not arise in the future. The dental clinic will also conduct equality and diversity, including HIV, training to its staff.

The woman in question will also withdraw her discrimination case under the Equal Status Act which she had brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

HIV Ireland stated, in relation to the case: “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Some dentists and dental services continue to refuse treatment to people living with HIV, incorrectly believing that there are special places to treat people who are HIV positive.”

Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Emily Logan stated: “Dentists, just like other service providers are obliged to meet the commitments of the Equal Status Acts which protects people against discrimination. The clear message from this settlement is discrimination of this nature is not acceptable and should be challenged.”

€60k Caesarean Section Accident Compensation Sought by Boy (15) Due to Cheek Scar

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15-year-old Rory Saunders has taken a €60,000 birth injury compensation action against the master of the National Maternity Hospital and Dr Stephen Carroll, the surgeon who performed the Cesarean section procedure as he medical negligence at childbirth inflicted him with a cut on his cheek.

Rory’s legal representative Barrister Mark O’Connell informed  Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that his (Rory’s) cheek was cut when he was being delivered by Cesarean Section on September 9, 2003.

O’Connell told the judge that the Caesarean delivery injury compensation action as Rory’s left cheek was cut by the scalpel used in the clinical procedure that Dr Carroll carried out. After the clinical procedure was completed the cut was cleaned out  and Steri-Strips were put implemented.

Rory’s permanent 2.5cm cheek scar can be seen when standing close by to him and is more visible during the summertime. The cheek scar has become stressful for Rory as he has been on the receiving end of negative comments during school and among his friends.

The claims were not accepted by Dr Carroll, who is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and an expert in high-risk pregnancies, and the National Maternity Hospital. Plastic surgeon Matt McHugh said that they were of the opinion that the scar was not going to improve in the future.

Judge Groarke considered the medical reports provided by two eminent consultants into court and was also told that a birth injury compensation offer of €25,000 had been put on the table.

He (Judge Groarke) said he was not happy with the compensation offer before the court. he was of the opinion that one of the medical reports appeared to give “a very blunt view” on the injury. He felt this particular expert, who had not seen his colleague’s medical report before formulating an opinion, should be asked to review the other medical report.

The birth injury compensation proceedings were adjourned until such time as the authors of the reports can reconsider the facts.

€268m Compensation Pay Outs for Medical Negligence State Claims Agency in last Two Years

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€268m was paid out in compensation related to medical negligence and hospital negligence in last 24 months by the State Claims Agency (SCA).

A response to a Dáil question included previously unreleased figures in relation to this. Minister for Health Simon Harris said the figures show that the amount of of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in 2018 was €268.45m in relation to hospital and medical negligence cases – an surge of €18.6 million – or 7.5% – on the €249.77m paid out in 2017. This means that the entire amount of compensation for hospital and medical negligence handed over in 2017-18 to €518.2m.

The Dáil Question was submitted by Michael McGrath T.D., Fianna Fáil’s Finance spokesman. The response also revealed that the highest sum handed over in 2018 for was €15.5m to a person suffering with cerebral palsy since birth.

Medical Negligence compensation claims take with regard to birth/pregnancy negligence or cerebral palsy were responsible for seven of the top ten hospital or medical negligence compensation awards during 2018. The figures reveal that, in the 7 cerebral palsy legal compensation actions, a complete amount of €60.3m compensation was awarded in order for adequate treatment to be provided for the people involved for the rest of their lives.

The other slots in the top ten were cases where a compensation award of €6.3 million for a clinical procedure at surgery was paid out and a separate payout of €5.9m in similar circumstances.

The lowest amount of medical negligence injury compensation awarded in the top ten was €4.37m relating to a clinical procedure in the Gynaecology sector.

Whiplash Rear End Collision Injuries Compensation of €60,000 Awarded to Girl (31)

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Karen Brown (31) settled a €60,000 whiplash rear end collision injuries compensation claim against a motorist from Dun Laoghaire, in relation a rear end collision incident that occurred almost two years ago.

Ms Brown was travelling in car owned by her partner Pete Taylor on March 5 2017 when a car owned by Enda Curran car crashed into them at Upper Glenageary Road, Co Dublin. Ms Brown’s legal counsel, Barrister Paul Gallagher, told Circuit Court President Justice Raymond Groarke that a settlement had been agreed in her (Ms Brown’s) car accident compensation claim after negotiations with Mr Curran’s legal representatives and could be dismissed with an order for her legal expenses.

The Court was not informed if a similar whiplash compensation injury compensation claim had been lodged on behalf of Mr Taylor’s, who was driving the car that Ms Brown was travelling in at the time of the accident. Exact details of the settlement were not made available.

Mr Taylor accompanied Ms Brown throughout the settlement talks outside Circuit Civil Court No 28. Ms Brown alleged in her legal action that Enda Curran, of Highthorn Park, Dunlaoghaire, had shown a negligent attitude to driving when he crashed into the back of Mr Taylor’s vehicle in which she was a passenger.

She told the Judge that she had experienced whiplash injuries to her neck, shoulders and back and that pain had not subsided with the aid of painkillers. Due to this she attended to Dr Peter Joyce on May 25 at Beechlawn Medical Centre. Here the doctor said that she was suffering due to having some tenderness to her neck and upper back. Dr Joyce had prescribed her a course of anti-inflammatory tablets. However,  but by early June she had noticed that the pain in her neck was only getting worse and that she was experiencing a constant dull ache with sharp headaches.

Brown claimed in her whiplash car crash legal action that she had been unable to work out due to the pain, something that she had done on a regular basis before the accident. An MRI of her cervical spine had been conducted and, following this, she had been advised that she should be seen by specialists.

Judge Groarke struck out the proceedings with an order for Ms Brown’s legal costs to be paid.

Boy (5) Who Witnessed Mother’s Serious Injuries in Glass Panel Accident Awarded €20,000

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A boy, aged 5, has been awarded a personal injury compensation sum of €20,000 after he saw his mother suffering serious injuries and covered in blood after she hit against a pane of glass when he was just 15-months-old.

The boy’s team representatives, told the Circuit Civil Court that in December 2014 Jude Johnson-Rice was with his mother at Terenure College Rugby Football Club. It was here that he saw his mother Jill being seriously injured after she walked into a clear glass pane by mistake. She said that there was not sufficient warning signs present.

Even though the child did not directly see the accident happen or the glass shattering, he (Jude) had been very distressed to witness his mother covered in blood. Defendants Panda Play Café Limited and Terenure College Rugby Football Club had already agreed a €20,000 personal injury compensation settlement with the Jude’s claim and it was before the court for approval.

The legal representatives for the rugby club argued that the young boy had not sustained any recognised psychiatric injury. They also claimed that Jude’s mother had not taken him for medical treatment until two years after the incident happened despite her arguments that her child had remained very nervous and anxious for six months after the incident.

After negotiations were held between both legal teams, Jude’s solicitor John Murphy told the defendants court that – if they denied liability – they could incur further serious costs following inspections and the provision of cctv footage.  After these negotiations a personal injury compensation offer had been made.

According to Judge Garavan, while no recognised psychiatric illness was diagnosed for Jude, there were many cases that he hear in court that did not measure up to post traumatic stress disorder. He gave his approval for the personal injury compensation offer.

Judge Advised that Delayed Delivery at Galway Hospital may have resulted in Brain Injury

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The High Court has been told that a girl with cerebral palsy may not have been inflicted with any brain injury had she been delivered ten minutes earlier.

Seven-year-old Faye Walsh, taking the birth injury compensation action against the Health Service Executive and two consultant obstetricians through her mother Martine,  alleges that medical negligence and a breach of agreement in relation to the management and circumstances of her birth occurred at University Hospital Galway on August 15 2011. The defendants deny these claims.

Throughout her pregnancy with Faye, Martine Walsh was a private patient of Dr Una Conway, a consultant obstetrician. Dr Conway and Dr Declan Egan, the second defendant obstetrician, operate their own private medical practices at Brooklawn Practice, Brooklawn House, Galway West Business Park, while also being employed as consultants in the Galway hospital.

Mrs Walsh decided to use a private obstetrician as she had one previous birth by caesarean section and suffered from serious abdominal injuries when she was involved in a car accident in 2008.

The main legal argument, so far, in the case concerns the information that Mrs Walsh was given in relation to the dangers of a natural delivery for her. The defendants allege that the options and dangers associated were outlined and argue that Mrs Walsh wanted, and agreed, to a natural delivery.

The HSE denies the claims that birth was unreasonably delayed and stated that delivery of the baby via vacuum assisted delivery, using a plastic or metal cup attached to the baby’s head, was also completely reasonable.

In her birth injury compensation case Mrs Walsh said that she was aware that Dr Conway was on annual leave in August 2011 and would not be present at the delivery. However, she claims that she had been advised by Dr Conway that Dr Egan would be there and would be up to date with with her medical history.

Dr Conway and Dr Egan do not agree that Mrs Walsh was told Dr Egan would be present for the delivery. They claim that Mrs Walsh was supplied with an information sheet stating her delivery would be supervised by a covering consultant obstetrician on call for the hospital should Dr Conway be unavailable.

Mrs Walsh told the court that neither defendant obstetrician was called to the hospital when, or after, Ms Walsh began labour about 11pm on Sunday August 14 2011. This was despite her requests from this by her, and her husband, for one of them to be called. The court was told that the on call hospital obstetrician was called to the hospital from his home around 4.30am on the morning of August 15 for the delivery.

The obstetric registrar was also called and used a Kiwi cup on the baby’s head and that the delivery was completed by the on-call obstetrician at 4.55am that morning. Faye was delivered in poor health and had to be resuscitated straight away. The child suffers from spastic quadriplegia, is non verbal, a full-time wheelchair user and will need round the clock care for the rest of her life.

The case is expected to last a number of weeks.

€45,000 awarded to Child in Severed Finger Compensation Action

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Following an accident at a Donegal hotel that left a then two-year-old child with a serious finger injury, a compensation award of €45,000 has been approved at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

The accident in question took place in the Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran in July 2016 when the child was just two years old. Letterkenny Circuit Court was told that the child got his hand caught in a doorway and the top four millimetres of his finger were severed off in the course of the accident. The child, who is now four-years-old, was rushed to Sligo Regional Hospital before being transferred to a different hospital in Northern Ireland for further treatment.

The child, who cannot be named by order of the court, had to undergo a plastic surgery procedure in order to ensure that there was no lasting cosmetic damage to the limb. The court was told that the injury will have no adverse effect on the child’s dexterity and will not hinder him from any potential employment in the future. The injury was inflicted on his left hand and the child is right handed.

Letterkenny Circuit Court and presiding Judge John Aylmer was told that the child had suffered from some trauma due to the incident at the hotel in Bundoran. In the time period following the accident he had long periods where he experienced interrupted sleep. Thankfully, the child has not suffered from any lasting psychological issues and is no longer self conscious about the injury on his left-hand finger.

Judge Aylmer approved the €45,000 child hotel injury compensation award in relation to the accident that occurred at the Allingham Arms in Bundoran and the injuries suffered by the child.

 

Dead Woman’s Family Win €650,000 Compensation Claim for Shock

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A High Court birth injury negligence action in relation to nervous shock has been settled for €650,000 for the husband and son of a woman who died at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) shortly after an emergency caesarean section.

31-year old Nora Hyland died on the operating table at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dublin, on February 13, 2012, just three hours after undergoing an emergency caesarean section that resulted in the birth of her son Frederick. There was no admission of liability by the National Maternity Hospital as part of the settlement.

Sasha Louise Gayer, the Hylands’ legal counsel, told the High Court that the family were content with the settlement but were too upset to attend court for the hearing. Ms Gayer told the Judge that Frederick was delivered successfully but Ms Hyland began to quickly lose a lot of blood following the procedure. A later inquest into her death returned a verdict of medical misadventure.  Mrs Hyland had to wait almost 40 minutes for a blood transfusion after she suffered severe bleeding in the emergency birth.

Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell, at the inquest in question, said that the cause of death was cardiac arrest which happened due to severe post-partum haemorrhage. However, he was not in  a position to say if the delay in Mrs Hyland receiving blood was a “definite” cause of her death.

The inquest also heard that a labelling mistake in the laboratory resulted in a 37-minute delay in Mrs Hyland having a blood transfusion. Along with this there were no emergency supply units of O-negative, the universal blood type, kept onsite at the National Maternity Hospital at the time of the delivery. Steps were quickly taken in theatre and a request for blood was submitted just after midnight.  A blood transfusion was carried out around 40 minutes later.

Nora Hyland’s husband, with an address at Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin took the legal action against the NMH for nervous shock in relation to the traumatic circumstances at the time off his wife’s passing.