Medical Negligence News

Emma Mhic Mhathúna Settles Smear Test Negligence Compensation Case against HSE and US laboratory for €7.5m

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Emma Mhic Mhathúna, a mother of five who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016 after having previously received two incorrect smear results, has had a €7.5m incorrect cervical cancer check compensation action settlement approved.

The terminally-ill Ms Mhic Mhathúna, whose has five children between the ages of 16 and two years old, had taken the legal action against the HSE and a US laboratory used by CervicalCheck.

The court was told liability was accepted in the case by the HSE and US laboratory which carried out the testing, Quest Diagnostics lIncorporated. The Court was also told that the HSE and Quest will also be  issuing letters of apology to Ms Mhic Mhathúna.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna, speaking afterwards, said she was very proud to have achieved the settlement. “From the outset, I was determined to find justice for my children. The €7.5million, she said, represents the amount of damage done to them. It was for them I did this. I am not surprised it settled before it went to court. I am a very strong character and they realised what they were up against.

The settlement followed mediation talks which  began last Sunday. The court heard Ms Mhic Mhathúna wishes for all the money paid in to court for the benefit of her children.

She added that the admission of liability was important to her for all women. Counsel for Ms Mhic Mhathúna Patrick Treacy SC told the court the admission of liability was in connection with the failure to disclose the positive result in the cervical cancer check. Quest Diagnostics accepted that they did not read her two cervical smear slides correctly in 2010 and 2013.

He said Ms Mhic Mhathúna had undergone cervical smears in 2010, 2011 and 2013, the results of which were incorrectly reported. He said that the 2011 result was a false negative and the 2010 and 2013 slides were both read incorrectly and showed a negative outcome.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna is one of the 209 women with cervical cancer who were discovered to have received smear tests results that were incorrect during a clinical audit of historical tests by the CervicalCheck screening programme after their cancer diagnoses.

The 37-year-old Emma is among 162 of those who were only advised of the incorrect tests after Limerick woman Vicky Phelan settled her court case against a US laboratory for €2.5 million earlier this year

€850k Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Man in Relation to his Wife’s Death

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Cork man Donal O’Sullivan as settled his High Court compensation action for €850,000 in his wrongful death compensation action tkane against a family doctor and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the untimely and tragic death of his wide on November 8 2011.

Evidence was presented in court to show that his wife, mother-of-four Maureen O’Sullivan, who was in her 50s, should have been taken immediately to hospital after her blood test showed she was suffering from low levels of potassium. It was claimed in court that on November 4 2011 Ms O’Sullivan had seen Dr Crotty as she was experiencing some palpitations. Her doctor had a blood test was taken and sent for analysis at Cork University Hospital.  The result came back to the Doctor’s surgery on November 7 and showed severe hypokalaemia, a low level of potassium.

Doctor Crotty, it is alleged, did not have Ms O’Sullivan admitted to hospital immediately upon discovering she  was suffering from severe hypokalaemia. In addition to did Dr Crotty did not advise the patient that this is what her ailment was at the time.

Also, the Court was told that the HSE did not properly communicate the significance of the abnormal blood test results to the doctor and that there was no appropriate systems of communication evident. It was further claimed by Mr O’Sullivan’s legal representatives that the HSE had relied on a clerical officer to not relayed, with the test results, that they should be addressed immediately.

In a letter of apology read aloud in court, Dr Crotty and the HSE expressed how sorry they are for their role in the events that led to Ms O’Sullivan’s death. It spoke to the O’Sullivan family on behalf of Dr Crotty saying: “I deeply regret the tragic circumstances that led to the death of your wife, mother and sister Ms Maureen O’Sullivan. I apologise unreservedly for the part I played in the events leading up to her death. I am acutely conscious of the pain and suffering which this has caused to you all.”

Free Smear Tests Will Be Provided to ‘Anyone Who Wants’ One

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It has been announced that a free cervical smear test will be provided to anyone who has concerns following the recent revelations following the CervicalCheck scandal.

The Government has offered this to ease the concerns of anyone who might be worried regarding the results of previously carried out cervical smear tests. This announcement follows a meeting of senior doctors who sought to address the concerns over the confidence in the CervicalCheck Screening programme.

The CervicalCheck Scandal came to light following a cancer misdiagnosis settlement of €2.5m was announced for Ms Vicky Phelan last week. Ms Phelan underwent a cervical smear in 2011 that gave no indication that she had cervical cancer. However, a audit carried out in 2014 showed that the results of that test were incorrect. Despite this she (Ms Phelan) was only advised in 2017 that she had contracted cervical cancer. Unfortunately, in January 2018 she was told that she has just 12 months to live.

The Irish Cancer Society has also announced that it is providing emergency funding for an additional 500 counselling sessions in their centres nationwide. The Society made this announcement in order to alleviate some of the worry among those impacted by the controversy.

The Irish Cancer Society provides funding to the following Support Centres across the country who deliver free professional counselling:

  • ARC Cancer Support Centres, Dublin
  • Arklow Cancer Support Group, Wicklow
  • Balbriggan Cancer Support Centre
  • Ballinasloe Cancer Support Centre
  • Cancer Support Sanctuary, LARCC
  • Cois Nore, Kilkenny Cancer Support Centre
  • Cork ARC Cancer Support House
  • Cuan Cancer Social Support and Wellness Group, Co Cavan
  • Cúisle Centre, Portlaoise
  • Dochas Offaly Cancer Support, Tullamore
  • Donegal Cancer Flights & Services
  • Eist, Carlow Cancer Support Centre
  • Gary Kelly Cancer Support, Drogheda
  • Greystones Cancer Support
  • Hope Cancer Support Centre, Enniscorthy
  • Letterkenny Donegal– administered through Sligo Cancer Support
  • Mayo Cancer Support Association, Castlebar
  • Midwestern Cancer Foundation, Limerick
  • Recovery Haven Cancer Support House, Tralee
  • Roscommon Cancer Support Centre
  • Sligo Cancer Support Centre
  • Solas Cancer Support Centre, Waterford
  • Suaimhneas Cancer Support Centre, Nenagh
  • Tallaght Cancer Support Group, Dublin
  • Tuam Cancer Care Centre

 

 

 

Terminally-ill Limerick Woman Awarded €2.5m following Cervical Cancer Smear Negligence

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Ms Vicky Phelan – a resident of Annacotty, Co Limerick Vicky Phelan – a terminally ill mother of two, has settled her an wrong diagnosis compensation action for €2.5m from US lab Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc.

The US company tested Mrs Phelan’s smear sample in 2011 and incorrectly told her that she did not have cervical cancer at that time. In January 2017 she was advised that she has less than 12 months to live. This followed from  a 2014 review which exposed the 2011 lab results as flawed. Despite the company being aware of this they failed to notify Mrs Phelan of the 2011 error for another three years.

Mrs Phelan’s legal counsel revealed, during  the High Court action if the cancerous cells had been correctly identified in 2011 she would have had a straightforward surgical procedure and normally gives the person receiving treatment a 90% chance of surviving cervical cancer.

In an interview with RTÉ television Ms Phelan revealed that she felt that a minimum of three women who had earlier got an all-clear smear result had since died due after suffering from cervical cancer. Later this week the Health Service Executive (HSE) will release the amount of women who passed away once the review has been completed.

The legal action filed against the HSE was thrown out and the settlement was awarded against the US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas only. There was no acceptance of liability.

Vicky Phelan has been prescribed a new drug recently and it is also hoped that she will be accepted on to the US-based programme that provides a radical new innovative treatment and has raised €200,000 through a Go Fund Me web page to date.

According to figures released yesterday, 206 cervical cancer cases reviewed featured the delay in the cancer being diagnosed after the smear tests suggests that these women missed out on an earlier intervention.

Medical Misdiagnosis €40,000 Award After Death of Little Girl

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The family of a little girl who died due to a hole in her heart being not being diagnosed has been apologised to by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE must also pay over €40,000 clinical misdiagnosis compensation to the parents of the child.

Aimee Keogh aged two when she died. She had been waiting in an ambulance as she was due to be taken from Limerick Hospital to Our Lady’s Hospital for Children, Crumlin for a cardiac treatment on July 10, 2014.

Aimee had first attended hospital in March 2014 for febrile convulsions caused by tonsillitis. Consultant radiologist Padraig O’Brien said that after viewing Aimee’s X-ray, he was worried with regard to a septal defect – a hole between the chambers of Aimee’s heart.

Regardless of this, Aimee was not brought to see a paediatric cardiologist and more negligence was suffered when a paediatric neurologist and a treating paediatrician did not examine or identify irregularities in the X-ray, the Keogh family claimed in court.

Four months later, Aimee’s major congenital heart defect went undiagnosed until her condition worsened in the days leading up to her death.

Aimee had experienced 17 different seizures before being rushed to hospital on July 9 and was being about to be transferred to Dublin for a paediatric cardio echo procedure that can be performed by a paediatric cardio consultant working at Crumlin Hospital in Dublin.

An enquiry into the little girl’s death was told her compensation case was never examined by a paediatric cardiologist, but paediatric consultant Annemarie Murphy, who was in charge of Aimee’s case, said she thought that the X-ray was normal and a multi-disciplinary team who reviewed over the same X-ray around three weeks later also found it to be normal.

There were no paediatric cardiologists located outside Crumlin when this happened and children needing treatment would have had to wait up to two years to be seen by a specialist.

The Health Service Executive was told by Judge Eugene O’Kellyto to pay hospital misdiagnosis compensation of €40,000 to Aimee’s family.

Cork Street Assault Sees Man Awarded €750,000 After Suffering Severe Brain Injuries

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Cian McCarthy, a Cork Man, has been awarded over €750,000 Assault Compensation by in the High Court.

The man was trying to seek refuge get back in a Cork shop as he tried to escape from a group of people trying to assault him.  The shop proprietor would not permit him to enter and he (McCarthy) was struck with a massive fist blow to the head outside the premises. Mr McCarthy had previously been escorted from the Centra store that evening after a verbal row at the deli counter when somebody skipped the queue.

Justice Kevin Cross say Cian McCarthy was an innocent party and had sustained a significant brain injury in the attack outside Centra supermarket on Grand Parade, Cork city during the Cork Jazz Festival weekend in 2011.

The Judge said that the security person at the shop should have acknowledged recognised that the three individuals involved in the queue-jumping row were chasing Mr McCarthy and told the second security guard at the shop of this. Justice Cross said that defendants’ duty of care did not end at the door of the premises.

The also also ruled that in denying Mr McCarthy entry and in pushing him towards the direction of danger, the defendants should have been aware that Mr McCarthy would suffer some assault and possibly some injury.

The three people involved in the row about the queue-jumping chased Mr McCarthy from the shop, followed him and tried to box him in the head. The judge said that Mr McCarthy did not offer resistance and walked away trying to protect himself.

Mr McCarthy escaped from the attacker and ran towards the door of the shop seeking safety. The judge said the second security guard who was not aware that Mr McCarthy was the innocent party and did not witness him being beaten and pursued outside blocked Mr McCarthy’s re-entry to the premises. Mr Justice Cross concluded the security guard pushed Mr McCarthy back int he direction of the crowd.

The judge said that he felt that the best explanation for what occurred is a combination of the security person’s push and the struggle with the other man which caused the clash knocking over a young female who was standing outside the shop.

 

Birth Cerbral Palsy Action Sees Woman’s (20) Awarded €1.9m Interim Pay out

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Shauni Breen, a 20-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, has been awarded a €1.9m birth negligence pay out from the HSE due to the events surrounding her birth.

The High Court was advised that Ms Breen was delivered approximately 40 minutes after her Nicole, her healthy twin sister in Wexford General Hospital. She (Ms Breen) suffers from cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and must use a wheelchair.

Ms Breen, who now live in Co Cork, took the legal action against the HSE over the circumstances of her December 30, 1997 birth. When the twins were 33 weeks and three days, it was claimed that their mother Marie Foley was admitted to Wexford General Hospital at 5am. Following this Nicole was delivered healthy at 6.10am.

It was alleged that that the management of the subsequent delivery of Shauni, which lasted for 40 minutes, was incompetent. As well as a failure to have an anaesthetist at the delivery a qualified team should also have been ready and prepared, it was argued. Due was due, it was argued, to the failure of those present to see that this was a high-risk labour.

In the Hight Court HSE refuted these claims and countered that manner of Ms Breen’s delivery complied with general and approved practice at the time in 1997. They (the HSE) claimed that the treatment adhered with conventional medical practice for a district hospital maternity unit at the time.

As Ms Breen had an abnormal presentation she should have been delivered by caesarean section within 15 minutes of her sister, her legal representatives argued.

They advised the Hight Court that Ms Breen had to be resuscitated before being moved to another hospital.

Counsel said the young woman was now doing well in her life and the day to day provided by her mother throughout her life had been of an extraordinary level.

Ms Breen is due to come back to court in five years’ time when her future life care needs will be re-assessed. Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €1.9m interim settlement.

Lobby Groups Call for Full Review on Use of Epilim

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Calls have been made, by Epilespy Ireland, for a review of 40 cases of birth defects and disabilities that involved the use of the drug Epilim.

Epilim, a drug which the group has urged doctors not to prescribe for new child patients, is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency. Findings of the review are expected to result in new guidelines regarding its use being issue. Epilim is the brand name in Ireland for sodium valproate.

Epilepsy Ireland, and other campaigners, have asked that females being treated with the drug be considered for alternatives medications as a precaution. 1,700 female patients between the ages of 16 and 44, according to official figures released by the Health Service Executive (HSE), were prescribed Epilim during the calendar year 2016.

Issues experienced in Irish births involving the use of the drug include:

  • Foetal malformation
  • Tumours
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism
  • Developmental issues
  • Spontaneous abortion

Epilim is currently being implicated in 40 cases of birth defects and disabilities, reported to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). Lobby groups are of the opinion that this figure might actually be closer to 400 in the 43 years that the drug has been prescribed for treatment in Ireland.

Additionally it has been reported that, in France, in excess of 4,000 children have been born with malformations since 1967 when the use of the drug on children in the womb began there. Dr Mahmoud Zureik, the scientific director of France’s ANSM, said that reports have shown the possibility of experiencing significant birth defects was, worldwide, four times higher in children born to a woman treated with Valproate (Epilim) for epilepsy, when cross referencde with females who were not prescribed the drug.

Commenting on the use of Epilim, the HPRA said that it has liaised with neurologists, obstetricians, paediatricians, psychiatrists, GPs, family planning clinics, specialist epilepsy nurses, pharmacists and HSE clinical leads on an ongoing basis. Following the completion of the review by the European Medicines Agency is it expected that the HPRA will meet to review the use of Epilim in Ireland by medical professionals.

The Minister for Health, Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Simon Harris is also due to meet with mothers of children who are believed to have suffered following being prescribed the drug to treat their epilepsy.

Woman (60) has €5m Settlement for Medical Misdiagnosis Compensation Approved

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Roscommon nativer Bernadette Surlis, aged 60, has had hospital misdiagnosis compensation action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) settled for €5m.

The compensation action was taken after the treatment she was given at Sligo General Hospital in 2013 was found to be inadequate. Senior Counsel Mr Cush argued that, if Ms Surlis been diagnosed speedily and properly in November 2013, she would not have suffered the life changing injuries that she did. He (Mr Cush) told the court that the Health Service Executive admitted liability.

Upon attending Sligo General Hospital on November 3, 2013, Ms Surlis was suffering from a pounding headache, some vomiting and had a dilated left pupil on her eye. Despite this she was categorised as a ‘triaged’ case and had to wait to be cared for an additional three hours. ‘Triaged’ refer to the fact that she was not to be treated as an immediate need case requiring immediate attention.

She was examined for glaucoma symptoms and the allowed to return home. However, she came back to the hospital on the following day she said that the severity of her suffering was “appreciated for the first time”.

Ms Surlis, a resident at Drinaum, Strokestown in Co Roscommon, was  then taken to to Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital on November 5 as she suffered a hemorrhage and severe/permanent injury. Mr Cush said the opinion of specialists was that Ms Surlis, who now needs permanent treatment, will only marginally improve over the duration of her life. She is aware of the severity of her injuries and has difficulty communicating with other, though she can do so with the help of her close family members – three grown children and four sisters who live close to her in Co Roscommon.

It was stated that if she had been transferred to Beaumont Hospital when she first attended the Sligo Hospital, she may have been treated in a proper fashion manner and experienced a complete recovery.

Judge Mr Justice Kevin Cross remarked that the medical misdiagnosis compensation settlement was a “reasonable and very good one”.

 

 

Settlement of €7.5m Approved for Pre-Birth Injuries Caused by Car Crash

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An young child, Cian Hammel (4), who was inflicted with a brain injury his mother just before his birth has had a €7.5m compensation claim approved in the High Court.

Following the car accident in which his mother was flung was a seven seat car that she was getting a lift in to her final pre delivery scan, an emergency Caesarean section had to be performed to deliver him in hospital. The High Court was advised that his mother Roisin, 17 at the time of the accident, was flung from the seven-seat car in that she was a rear-seat passenger in. The driver of the car did not have insurance to be driving the car.  The road traffic accident happened at Manhanagh, Screen, Co Wexford on February 3, 2009. Cian Hammel now has trouble walking and is and also has difficulties with speaking.

In the legal action thken through his grandmother Ann, Cian Hammel of Ford Court, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford sued the driver of the vehicle Simon Jordan, of Monaseed, High Fort, Gorey, Co Wexford for road traffic accident compensation.

The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), the body which manages compensation claim for victims of uninsured driving, was also sued for compensation following the road traffic accident.

It was argued that the car, driven by Mr Jordan, lost control and flipped over in the air resulting in Cian’s mother Roisin Hammel being thrown from the rear seat of the vehicle. Senior Counsel Rosario Boyle told the court that Roisin, who was preparing for her Leaving Cert, was being driven to attend her final pre-delivery scan.

Additionally it was claimed that Mr Jordan had overtaken another car when it was dangerous to do so and that he was driving too fast in the weather conditions at the time. These claims were argued by the Defence.

Ms Boyle stated that Roisin Hammel was not wearing her seat belt when the accident occurred. However, the MIBI later agreed that, had she been wearing her seat belt, the outcome for her child would not have been any more favourable.

Following the accident Ms Hammel’s waters broke and, due to foetal distress, she had to have an emergency caesarean section in hospital. When Cian Hammel was delivered he had to be resuscitated and experienced multi-organ failure.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €7.5m compensation settlement and said he hopes it will provide for Cian’s needs well in the future.