Medical Negligence News

Family ‘Wrongly told Baby it had Fatal Foetal Abnormality’ submit Legal Action


A couple who claim that their unborn child was aborted when they were wrongly informed that it had a fatal foetal abnormality have have a June date for their compensation action hearing scheduled by the High Court. The case is expected to take several days to hear.

The misdiagnosis action is being taken against a range of different parties including the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, Dublin and a private clinic, Merrion Fetal Health, which is managed by five consultant obstetrician gynaecologists. All defendants deny any wrongdoing in the treatment of the unborn baby.

At the High Court The legal action was briefly referred to this week, when orders were made to permit a Scottish health board, which is believed to have conducted the testing at the centre of the claims, to be placed as a defendant to the parents’ separate damages lawsuit. The pre-trial issue in the action came before Ms Justice Deidre Murphy, who heard the defendants are seeking to add the Greater Glasgow Health Board (GGHB) to the proceedings.

The Judge was informed that the defendants have claimed specific tests performed by the defendants on the unborn child were sent to the GGHB for special review.

Additionally it was alleged that the report produced by the GGHB does not accord with best practice guidelines and that certain evidence was not considered.

In contrast to this the defendants are arguing that the GGHB is an appropriate party from whom the defendants are permitted to seek an indemnity from, and requested that it be added as a third party in the legal action. However the plaintiffs legal representative Richard Kean SC informed the judge that they would like to have GGHB added as a defendant in the case.

After reviewing the relevant submissions from each of the parties, Justice Murphy said added the GGHB as a defendant.

The couple, in their action say that they were given two test results indicating their baby had a fatal foetal anomaly during 2019. Additionally they claim that a test result provided following the termination by the NMH indicated that there was no genetic condition present in the foetus. The action states that the parent were wrongly informed that the unborn child had a fatal genetic abnormality, leading to termination that, they claim, should not have happened.

Compensation is being sought in relation to the personal injuries and nervous shock they experienced as a result of the alleged negligence and misdiagnosis of the genetic condition.

Legal Action Launched in Relation to Contracting COVID19 during Hospital Stan hospital suing HSE


A medical negligence compensation claims action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been submitted by the family of a man who died after contracting COVID-19 during a hospital stay. Last weekend, a Sunday newspaper reported that up to 20 other individual are launching similar actions due to contracting COVID19 during routine hospital visits and stays. Reacting to the claims, the HSE revealed that around 1,813 individuals contracted Covid while being during hospital stays for routine non-COVID procedures and tests since June 2020.  From January 4 to 17, another 846 individuals contracted COVID19 during routine hospital stays> most cases were recorded in Dublin, Donegal and  Louth. Figures gathered by the Health Services Authority indicate that there have been 48 COVID-19 outbreaks in Dublin hospitals, 16 in Co. Donegal and a further 13 in hospitals in Co. Louth. The HSE released a statement which said: “In general it is not possible to be certain regarding where and when a person acquired infection with COVID-19. There is extensive testing of people on admission to hospital and while in hospital to help find people with infection as quickly as possible, so that measures can be taken to reduce the risk of spread of infection of others. It is important to note that when community transmission rates are at the level they are, it is inevitable and unavoidable that there will be outbreaks in hospitals.” Speaking to the newspaper a source linked to the legal action said: “Many people are going into hospital for routine tests and procedures and they are contracting COVID and some of them are even dying. Families are really angry because their relatives are going into hospital with relatively nothing wrong with them and then they are either coming out after being really ill with COVID — or else they are coming out in a box. It has been happening since the summer when the hospitals were quiet and the numbers have being building up since then. There seems to me to be a scandal here and it is not being addressed. And when the dust settles this is going to become an issue because it is clear from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre data that the number of infections in healthcare facilities is quite high. The whole country is closed down so it’s a mystery to me why these figures are so high.” Another source, who works in relation to compensations cases lodged against the HSE, said: “There are about 20 cases so far and one of them is being taken by the family of a man who went into hospital for a respiratory issue that had nothing to do with COVID. He ended up getting COVID while he was in hospital and the staff in the hospital told his family that when he was released he would need help from them when he got home. When he got home he ended up infecting all of his family and that meant a mother and six of her children got Covid-19.”

Family of Deceased Woman win €68,000 Negligence Compensation Settlement from HSE


The relatives of a woman who passed away as a result of suffering from sepsis caused by peritonitis have won a €68,000 negligence compensation settlement from the HSE.

The family of 72-year-old Rose O’Malley took the legal action as a result of the moving of their mother’s Peg feeding tube, inserted to help her deal with pancreatitis, allegedly leading to septic shock and her subsequent death.

Catherine O’Malley, of Latchford Green, Clonee, Dublin in Dublin took the action on behalf of her family and was represented in court by Alistair Rutherdale BL. Ms O’Malley is a daughter of Rose and alleged in the action that there had been clinical negligence during the placing, monitoring and application of a Peg tube in her mother, leading to her untimely death.

Having had a detailed history of cholecystitis and inflammation of the gallbladder, Mrs O’Malley underwent surgery at Mayo General Hospital during October 2012 to address this. However, a decision was taken durin gthat procedure not to remove the gall stones. It was claimed that this allowed the potential for further problem including acute pancreatitis.

Mr Rutherdale informed the judge that the O’Malley family were alleging that Mrs O’Malley should not have been discharged from the Blanchardstown hospital on December 30 2014, having been admitted on December 27 suffering with symptoms including vomiting. Mrs O’Malley was brought back to same hospital on January 5 when she it was noted that she was suffering with pancreatitis and pneumobilia.

The plaintiffs were claiming that a Peg feeding tube had been inserted on March 13, 2015 to support their mother’s slow recovery. However, they said that this shifted and resulted in peritonitis which was the main issue that resulted in Mrs O’Malley’s death.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons gave his approval for the medical negligence compensation settlement which incorporates the entire €35,000 solatium – the statutory payment according to the Civil Liability Act – €8,402 in special damages, and the remaining part of the €68,000 settlement is made up of legal costs.

Wrongful Death Compensation of €725k for Family of Tragic Iraqi Mother of 10


At the High Court a wrongful death compensation award of €725,00 has been awarded to the widower and 10 children of an Iraqi woman who died while undergoing a surgical procedure at Mercy University Hospital Cork.

43-year-old Sameera Barwari’s was a Kurd from Iraq, but lived in the west of Ireland at the time of her death in 2011. Her youngest child is now 15 years of age. She also had four grandchildren at the time of her death.

Representing the Barwari family, Dr John O’Mahony SC informed the court that Ms Barwari passed away while undergoing an elective operation on her lungs. Her 43-year-old husband and 19-year-old daughter were present in the Hospital treatment room as medical staff attempted to resuscitate her. They witnessed Ms Barwari go into cardiac arrest and the subsequent resuscitation efforts.

This caused them great stress and there was additional trauma as Ms Barwari did not understand English and this was also a problem in the case in relation to consent. He said liability was a concerning issue in the case.

Due to the death of Ms Barwari during an embolisation procedure nine years ago, her husband Hagi Taha Barwari (54) and his daughter Rowshan Hagi Taha Barwari, both of Renmore, Galway, submitted a legal action against sued Mercy University Hospital Cork Ltd.

Ms Barwari was admitted to the hospital on January 13, 2011, for the therapy to treat six large pulmonary arterio venous malformations, which affect the blood flow. The procedure involved shutting off of the feeding arteries to the malformations.

At the High Court yesterday the hospital expressed “sincere regret” at Ms Barwari’s death. In a letter that was read aloud to Ms Barwari’s husband, it offered “our deepest condolences” to him, his daughter and the wider Barwari family. It said: “We appreciate your great loss and fully acknowledge the distress and sadness suffered by you and your family as a result of Sameera’s passing”.

The settlement was provided with no admission of liability.

New Hampshire joins $60m national settlement over CR Bard surgical mesh


In the United States, the state of New Hampshire has joined a $60m surgical mesh liability compensation settlement against medical device manufacturer CR Bard.

At present attorneys general of 48 states and the District of Columbia have joined the legal action that claims CR Bard did not address the dangers posed by its transvaginal surgical mesh devices. These devices are used to treat urinary incontinence by strengthening the vaginal floor which can be damaged as a result of eroded organs. This condition can lead to significant suffering and pain during sexual intercourse and voiding dysfunction.

The cost to address the suffering of those impacted by the devices each state money through Medicaid and state insurance health plans. CR Bard is a New Jersey-based company that reported $17.3bn in revenue in 2019.

According to state legislation, New Hampshire’s $661,071 share of the settlement would go to the Consumer Protection Bureau.

In addition to this CR Bard is facing other claims by individual plaintiffs,5,000 federal legal action in Ohio and an additional 3,000 legal actions in Rhode Island.

CR Bard withdrew its mesh from the market during July 2012 following a $3.6m compensation settlement verdict was made in favour of one woman. The woman in question was suffering from complications linked to the device.

Reacting to the recent settlement the companies issued a statement that said: “Bard and BD have denied any wrongdoing and all allegations included in the litigation and chose to settle the matter to avoid the time and expense of further litigation.”

These legal action are alleging that Atrium’s C-QUR hernia mesh products, which are coated with a fish oil derivative as a supposed solution to adverse reactions, are actually causing further suffering and pain.

The lead attorney in these actions said: “We think there is a similarity, because there is the same underlying material involved. We are hoping they take a closer look.”

€35,000 Infant Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Family of Tragic Boy


At the High Court the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital has been direct to pay €35,000 in wrongful death compensation to the family of an infant boy, who died a few hours after he was born.

Rory Jason Sweeney Butler died on November 19 2015 shortly after he was born at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. His parents, Assumpta Sweeney and Jason Butler, sought compensation in relation to alleged wrongful death of their child and the nervous shock that they both experienced in the months following his death.

The couple claimed that their son died due to hospital negligence. Their legal representative in court, Richard Kean SCinformed that court that the case arose out of what the untimely and “very tragic” death of the infant Rory.

Mr Justice Robert Eager was informed that liability had been accepted by the defendant in the legal action. Justice Eager gave his approval for the the statutory compensation award. As a result of this the compensation will be transferred to Rory’s parents and siblings who live in Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

There have been a number of large compensations awards for medical negligence at birth awarded against the Dublin maternity hospital over the last ten years or so. During 2013 a case of dyskinetic cerebral palsy was found to have been caused by negligence at the time of birth in the hospital. As a result the hospital had to pay a dyskinetic cerebral palsy medical negligence compensation claim to the parent of the the then -10–year-old boy.

€15,000,000 injury compensation was awarded to Donegal native Eoin McCallig and his parents due to the injuries he sustained his birth. These injuries were caused by Eoin being deprived of oxygen at birth. Previous to this Dara Brennan was awarded €65,000 birth injury negligence as a result of the a facial injury he sustained at the time of his birth on November 12, 2009.

Boy (14) Awarded Additional Birth Injury Compensation of €3m


Luke Miggin, who has cerebral palsy, has been awarded an additional birth injury compensation settlement of €3m in relation to the circumstances of his birth at Mullingar General Hospital in February 2006.

This brings the total amount of compensation awarded to Luke to over €6m.

This interim settlement comes after mediation talks and should make provision for Luke’s needs over the coming six years. He took the legal action, arising from the injuries he sustained at birth, through his mother Emily Miggin. They sough compensation from the Health Service Executive and consultant obstetrician, Michael Gannon, of Mullingar Hospital.

On February 28 2006 Luke was born just after 5pm on February 28th 2006. In an earlier legal action the Judge was advised that Luke would not have suffered his injuries if he had been born just one hour earlier. Liability was admitted by the HSE and Dr Gannon.

Justice Kevin Cross was advised by Denis McCullough SC, acting on behalf of Luke, that he (Luke) is a happed and enthusiastic school going child. Emily Miggin, who had been employed as a therapist, is now tending to her son and providing care in a full-time capacity.

During the legal action Ms Miggin told the Judge that this is her son’s fifth time attending court in relation to this. She said that he had first agreed a settlement for compensation in 2011 with the first interim payment amounting to €1.35m. Since that time, she informed the Court, Luke has had to have 80 assessments completed so so in preparation for the court approved payouts. She said: “The system should be easier”.

Ms Miggin informed Justice Cross that Luke is a wonderful child who has complex needs and they were blessed with excellent carers and she would give the money back fivefold to see her son play football. She said she was heartbroken and both her son and she had lost an awful lot.

Justice Cross commended the care and love that Ms Miggin has provided for Luke and wished her well for the future. The case is due for an additional review in 2026 time when Luke’s future care needs will be reassessed.

‘Fundamental Problems’ Could Lead to Meat Plant COVID-19 Compensation Claims


Claims have been made that meat factory staff were forced to go back to work despite the fact that co-workers were displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

There have been more that 600 cases of the virus recorded among workers in the meat processing sector.

In the Dáil Former minister and independent TD Denis Naughten has claimed that clusters of infection formed surrounding meat plants. He this is the “where the levels of infection within the plants themselves is up on one third or, in some instances, half of the workforce”.

Mr Naughten also claimed that he discovered that staff were not being made to self-isolate in the period between being tested and the results being produced which seriously undermines the validity of the negative results. Due to this he has secured enough Dáil support to ask Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to explain how this situation was allowed to happen at meat processing plants.

Mr Naughten said: “These failures in the system have resulted in new infection clusters in communities across the country which up to now had low levels of Covid-19 infection. If these fundamental issues are not addressed immediately, in advance of the easing of the lockdown next Monday, then we could very quickly be looking at a second spike in Covid-19 infections.

“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances. So, while we must remain cautious in how we relax restrictions, we must also learn to live with Covid-19 which will be with us for a considerable time to come.”

Gerry McCormack, Deputy general secretary of trade union SIPTU, commented that said that some meat processing plants had “completely ignored” HSE rules in relation to Covid-19. He remarked: “What seems to have happened is that some employers really didn’t take this seriously. Some of them did. Some employers completely ignored the recommendations from the HSE on how to do physical distancing and put in proper processes to protect workers.”

Mr McCormack went on to say: “If you contrast, for example, the meat industry with the dairy industry which are both providing food throughout this country and abroad and we have very little, if any, outbreaks in the dairy industry. It’s a well paid, well-regulated industry, as compared to the meat industry. We had a problem from the very beginning in that some employers weren’t taking this seriously.”

HSE Facing Legal Action for Alleged Misdiagnosis of 59-Year-Old Woman by BreastCheck


A BreastCheck misdiagnosis compensation claim has been submitted against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by a 59-year-old mother of two.

The woman in question, Mrs Siobhan Freeney, alleged in her claim submitted that a mammogram she had during June 2015 did not produce the correct result. The letter issued to her after the mammogram from BreastCheck told her that her test had returned a negative result in relation to the presence of cancer. Almost six months later it was discovered that Ms Freeney was suffering from cancer in her right breast. Due to this she has now submitted a compensation claim stating that the original mammogram should have returned a diagnosis of cancer. This, she says, would have led to additional assessments being arranged and treatment beginning earlier.

Jeremy Maher SC , the legal representative for Mrs Freeney’, advised the that the medical negligence compensation claim was submitted as a result of the alleged delay in the diagnosis of Mrs Freeney’s breast cancer. Mrs Freeney finally has her breast cancer diagnosed in December 2015.

It was also claimed that Ms Freeney was not referred for additional assessment after the tests that were completed at the mobile clinic in Gorey. They said that a triple assessment including a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have been conducted and identified the cancer if this had taken place.

The was an additional claim filed in relation to the alleged failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful fashion and a failure to provide reasonable care skill and judgment when reviewing the results of the mammogram on June 17, 2015.

The HSE is denying all of these allegations, claiming that the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy if the cancer has been discovered in the initial mammogram that was conducted.

Man’s Death in 2011 Due to Medical Negligence Results in HSE Apology


The Health Service Executive (HSE) has finally apologised to the family of a man as a result of medical negligence at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny in 2011.

John Joseph Comerford was taken  to the hospital in Kilkenny during March that year for a hernia repair operation. Sadly, the High Court was advised, the 68-year-old passed away just three days later in “very distressing circumstances”. An official inquest into his death in 2014 returned a ruling that death was due to medical misadventure.

Mr Comerford’s family said that he was readmitted to hospital two days following his hernia surgery as he was suffering from a shortness of breath, abdominal pain and low blood pressure. A CT scan showed that that there was fluid in his abdominal wall and, once the site of the operation was reopened, faecal smelling fluid was drained away from the area where the procedure was carried out. When he was brought to the intensive care unit, he suffered two cardiac arrests and passed away on 21 March 2011. Due to his passing and the nature of it, Mr Comerford’s family sought medical malpractice compensation from the HSE. The HSE accepted liability and the case was then settled for an undisclosed figure.

The HSE apology was issued on behalf of St Luke’s General Hospital. It was was read aloud in court: “We apologise to Mrs Comerford and to her children and extended family for the events leading to the death of Mr John Joseph Comerford in the 21st of March 2011. We do not underestimate the distress and sadness caused to Mrs Comerford and her children by the loss of their husband and father. We offer our sincere condolences”.

Speaking following this outside the court, Mr Comerford’s daughter Karen Brown said she is pleased that the case has finished but is “disgusted” that it has taken this so long to receive this apology. She said: “It feels very sad that it’s taken this long to happen. It’s sad my kids have missed out on their granddad. They adored him for the little time they knew him”.