Hospital Negligence Claims

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.

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”.

24-Year-Old Man Cerebral Palsy Action Settled for €21m


A cerebral sufferer, 24-year-old Connor Corroon, has settled for a final lump sum payment of €17.5m in the legal action his took in relation to the circumstances of his birth at a Cork hospital at the High Court yesterday.

High Court approval was given to the final payment – one of the biggest ever recorded in the State. This payment marks the end to a 17-year legal action by the Corroon family. It means the total amount of payments awarded to Connor is €21.75m. Connor is unable to walk without assistant and must use a wheelchair to move around from place to place. He can only communicate with others using the help of special eye gaze technology.

Mr Corroon remarked: “Today represents the end of 17 long years. I feel free and today my life begins.” In relation to the final settlement he said: “I am happy with that. I am proud that for the first time ever I was able to speak in public and let people know what I wanted to convey rather than others guessing what I was thinking. The experience has been so liberating.”

Connor’s mother urged the court to allow one lump sum payment so the family could move on in their lives. She asked that the family be allowed to move away from the “fishbowl life” as her son had to undergo assessments by different specialists before his regular court appearances.

In an earlier court hearing it was outlayed how McCorroon suffered catastrophic injuries when he was being giving birth to at City General Hospital, Cork, in 1995 and will need care for the entirety of his life.

Mr Corroon’s legal counsel David Holland SC went back to the High Court last week for a final lump sum cerebral palsy compensation settlement. They informed the Judge that expert advice they received said that, due to indexation, the yearly periodic payment made allowance for in the new legislation “will get more and more insufficient over time”. Mr Holland advised the Court that the family found the “burden of coming to court intolerable and horribly intrusive”.

€10k Missing Medical Instruments Compensation Awarded due to Cancelled Procedure


The High Court has approved a missing medical instruments compensation award of  €10,000 against the Mater Private Hospital after a man, who had been placed under anaesthetic, never had his operation as a vital piece of medical equipment went missing from the surgical team.

Mr. Peter Keegan (31) was scheduled for an operation on his right hip on 25 November 2016, in the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles St, Dublin 7. However, after he has been placed under general anaesthetic it was discovered that an apparatus was missing and the the procedure could not proceed. When He awoke he was informed of this, which led to him experiencing some distress and his teams of nurses had to settle him down.

Mr Keegan informed the judge that was extremely drowsy upon being discharged from the hospital and went on to suffer with stomach pain and nausea in the days after the cancelled procedure.

Judge John O’ Connor, the Circuit Court this week, was told that Mr Keegan, – with an address at Woodbine Park, Raheny, Dublin 5 was represented in court by Barrister Conor Kearney, appearing with Mark Tiernan, of Tiernan & Company solicitors – had been admitted to the hospital’s short stay procedure unit at 6.45am on the morning in question. At approximately 7.30am he was given an anesthetic. Following this, when the operation set of instruments had been unpacked, it was noticed that an irrigation extender was not to be found.

After some investigation, it was realised that the missing piece of equipment had been sent for repair around one month previously. Unfortunately, the missing piece in question had not been replaced. When Mr Keegan came to from the anaesthetic around 8.30am, he was informed the error.

A new procedure was scheduled for December 5, some ten days later. Mr Keegan told the Judge that he had been worried leading up to the new operation. He said he was very nervous about taking the anaesthetic again.

Judge O’Connor held that had been surgical negligence on behalf of the Mater Private Hospital in what he called an ‘unfortunate incident’. The Judge went on to say that Mr Keegan had been upset and concerned following after the cancelled procedure and was fortunate that there had been no long-term effects.

Judge O’Connor awarded Keegan €10,000 missing medical instruments compensation damages against the Mater Private Hospital in relation to the incident.

€750k Hospital Failure to Diagnose Compensation for Teacher who Suffered Brain Aneurysm


A Galway teacher who fell to the ground suffering from a brain hemorrhage four years after being told that nothing had showed up in a brain scan has settled a High Court hospital negligence action for €750,000.

Barrister John O’Mahony, plaintiff Ms Lorraine Duffy’s legal representative, told the High Court she had gone to the Galway hospital in 2008 to have a brain scan as she was experiencing severe headaches and pain around her left eye. Following the scan Ms Duffy was advised that nothing abnormal was to be seen and she was allowed to go home. However in 2012, just four years later, Ms Duffy collapsed when she was out running.

Counsel said that, following Ms Duffy’s collapse, it was found that there was an aneurysm in the right side of the brain which should been evident in the initial brain scan four years earlier. Due to the failure to diagnose correctly in 2008 Ms Duffy now suffers from injuries to the brain.

Ms Duffy (42) of An Creagan, Barna, Co Galway, took the hospital medical negligence action against the Bon Secours Hospital, Renmore Road, Bon Secours Ireland Ltd and Bon Secours Health System Ltd of College Road, Cork which runs the Galway hospital. Along with this she sued for compensation from consultant radiologist Dr Davidson and Alliance Medical Diagnostic Imaging Ltd of Raheen, Co Limerick which was operated the diagnostic imaging at the Galway Hospital when the 2008 scan took place.

The wrong diagnosis of migraine headaches, to be managed with medication, was given to Ms Duffy. However, following her collapse in 2012 the matter was further looked into at a Dublin hospital and Ms Duffy was discovered to have been experiencing aneurysms.

Ms Duffy can now only do her job part time due to the brain injuries she suffered during the aneurysms. Sadly, she will suffer from the consequences for the rest of her life.

An apology by consultant radiologist, Dr Ian Davidson, of Bon Secours Hospital, Galway, was read aloud to the court in which he accepted and apologised for “the failings” during the care he provided that led to the delay in diagnosis of Ms Duffy’s inter cranial aneurysm.

His apology stated: “I would like to offer my sincere sympathy and regret for the upset and harm you have suffered arising from the subarachnoid hemorrhage in May 2012.”


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


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”.



Legal Expert: 1,000 Deaths Due to Medical Errors Annually


Roger Murray, joint Managing Partner at Callan Tansey solicitors – speaking at a conference on medical negligence with solicitors, medical professionals and patients in attendance in September – said that roughly 1,000 unnecessary deaths are caused every year in Ireland due to medical negligence.

The legal expert went on to add that up to 160,000 hospitals visitors suffer injuries due to human error. Mr Murray was speaking at the Pathways to Progress conference on medical negligence and stressed that there is “no compo culture” to be seen when it comes to Irish medical negligence compensation legal cases, saying that he believes that what we are seeing currently is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.

From his experience in working on a number of high-profile medical error compensation cases,  Mr Murray said that he believes that not all people suffering due to medical negligence report it while the HSE is made aware of 34,170 “clinical incidents” every year. Of these 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate of less than 1.7 per cent.

Mr Murray told those at the conference that the most often experienced cases are involving surgery (36 per cent) medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent) and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).

He also stressed that while injured parties and families do have empathy for medical workers who make errors what “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.

The legal expert called for thorough reviews when mistakes are experienced, saying that he had witnessed many inquests where families of those who had died learned that desktop reviews had been completed after a death, and the results were not presented to the appropriate staff members.