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.”
Despite the author of the Scally review into the controversy saying he did not think one was needed, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he still hopes to set up a Commission of Investigation into the CervicalCheck crisis which saw approximately 206 of cervical cancer where it seems women missed out on earlier intervention due to wrong diagnosis.
Dr Gabriel Scally has revealed that his team was still receiving documents in the days leading up to the completion of its work. The review missed its original deadline in June as they had no plan for such a huge variance in the file format of some documents submitted. In total 12,000 documents were reviewed in the production of the 170 page report.
The report suggests management weaknesses in the CervicalCheck programme were to blame and recommends cultural and legal amendments to the current process in order to make sure there is transparency for all patients. While existing laboratories being used were found to be, more or less, adhering with the required quality assurance standards, there were a number of concerns in relation to laboratories which no longer have a contract with CervicalCheck and a perceived failure in communication. In total the report made 50 recommendations and is due to be presented to Cabinet.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Harris said: “So what I intend to do is let the report be published, let Dr Scally speak … meet with the Opposition, meet with some of those affected and impacted by this terrible debacle, and then decide whether people feel there is need for one. But absolutely if there is a feeling that there is a need for one that will be the case.
“The only people who can change that decision are the Government and the Oireachtas, but obviously if a very eminent expert has been asked to look at this area and has made a view I think its important that we at least let the report be published and consider why he arrived at that point.”
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
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.
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”.
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.
The HSE has finally admitted liability for a birth injury case in which a series of errors around a baby boy’s birth left him with a debilitating disability, after nearly a decade of denying fault.
The boy was born by emergency Caesarean Section at Kerry General Hospital on May 25th 2006. The hospital staff in charge of his birth committed a series of grave errors surrounding his birth. The baby boy´s delivery being delayed by two hours, depriving him of oxygen in the womb. Furthermore, despite an abnormal heart-rate pattern being observed, the consultant obstetrician was not informed. The possibility of foetal hypoxia was not considered by hospital staff, and no action was taken on a CTG trace indicating foetal distress.
Due to oxygen deprivation, the baby suffered devastating brain damage. He was diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy, a devastating disability. The boy (now ten years of age) requires 24-hour support from his parents, He us unable to speak or walk, and must always use a wheelchair. To exacerbate the family’s suffering, the HSE failed to admit liability for nine years. The boy´s family were forced to care for him relying entirely on their own resources, without the support they were entitled to from the state.
The HSE finally liability early last year after the family’s legal team threatened them with aggravated damages. After initial negotiation, an interim settlement of €2.7 million compensation for brain damage at birth was rushed through the courts. Recently, the family was back in court for the approval of a final lump sum settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth amounting. The two parties had agreed that €15 million was a sufficient sum. The judge presiding over the case described this as an amount that was described as “commercial common and legal sense”. As the boy is a ward of court, the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth will be paid into court funds and managed by court authorities.
Approving the settlement, Judge Kelly paid tribute to the boy´s parents for the care of their son, and added while no money would compensate the boy and his family, but it was the only form of redress the law could provide. He hoped it would give peace of mind that there is a fund to care for the boy´s needs into the future.
The HSE has paid compensation to a boy who suffers from Erb’s palsy as a result of medical negligence surrounding his birth.
The six-year-old boy was born via a natural delivery on 22nd March 2010 at Kerry General Hospital despite his mother having requested a birth by Caesarean section because of his size in the womb. During the delivery process, the boy´s shoulder got trapped in the birth canal and he had to be extracted with the assistance of a vacuum cup.
Due to the force applied to free his shoulder, the boy suffered a brachial plexus injury and has since been diagnosed with Erb´s palsy. Due to his birth injury, the boy has a weak right arm that will permanently affect him for the rest of his life. After seeking legal advice, the boy´s father made a claim for an Erb´s palsy birth injury against the HSE on his son´s behalf.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) initially denied liability for the boy´s birth injury but after a period of negotiation agreed to a €530,000 settlement of the claim for an Erb´s palsy birth injury without an admission of liability. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the child´s best interests.
Consequently at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that the boy had been identified as a big baby two months before his birth and that his mother had requested a Caesarean section delivery on two consultations and again when she was admitted to Kerry General Hospital in labour.
Judge Cross also heard that the boy attends mainstream school, has learned to write with his left hand and is very good at maths. An expert witness testified that the boy is unable to tie shoes or close buttons and will struggle at sports, after which the judge approved the settlement of the boy´s claim for an Erb´s palsy birth injury against the HSE and wished the family well for the future.
A cerebral palsy claim against the HSE has been heard in the High Court for the approval of a compensation settlement without an admission of liability.
On 5th October 2010, a woman from Midleton in County Cork gave birth to twin boys at Cork University Maternity Hospital. One of the boys was delivered in good health during the emergency Caesarean Section procedure, but the second was born in a poor state due to being starved of oxygen in the womb. He was diagnosed shortly after with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.
On the second twin´s behalf, his mother made a cerebral palsy claim against the HSE, claiming that there had been a failure to diagnose a vasa praevia condition during her pregnancy after scans conducted in June and September had revealed a low-lying placenta. The woman claimed that the Cork University Maternity Hospital had failed to exercise reasonable care in the antenatal stage of the pregnancy.
The Cork University Maternity Hospital and HSE contested the claim on the grounds it was not normal practice to conduct further investigations or take precautions against the risk of a vasa praevia condition causing complications. However, after a period of negotiation, an interim settlement of cerebral palsy compensation amounting to €1.98 million was agreed without an admission of liability.
As the cerebral palsy claim against the HSE had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a court to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. The approval hearing took place at the High Court, where the circumstances leading up to the boy´s delivery were explained, along with the reasons why it was believed that medical staff the hospital had acted negligently.
The High Court also heard how, in 2014, the boy had won a National Children of Courage Award, and that last year enough funds had been raised by family and friends to fly the family to Missouri so that the boy could undergo Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. As a result of the surgery, the boy has been able to learn to walk, although he still has to often rely on a walker or a wheelchair for his mobility.
The High Court approved the interim settlement of the cerebral palsy claim against the HSE after hearing that the funds will be used to pay for physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy. The case was then adjourned for five years so that reports can be compiled into the boy´s future needs. When the family returns to the High Court in five years, it is hoped that a system of periodic payments will be in place so that his future wellbeing is guaranteed.
A claim for medical negligence compensation, made after a man was deprived of oxygen during a surgery on his spine, has been settled in court for €7.1 million.
The claim was made on behalf of a former barrister, aged forty-six, who visited the Sports Surgery Clinic in North Dublin concerning pain in his back. In 2014, he elected to have surgery on his cervical spine due to the pain. However, though the back pain was relieved, during the surgery the patient was deprived of oxygen and as a result sustained severe brain damage.
Since the surgery, the ex-barrister has been reliant on twenty-four-hour care as the mismanaged anaesthetic left him with a hypoxic brain injury. The patient can smile at his children and has certain reactions around his family, but cannot otherwise communicate. Though he is currently in a resident care home, his family hope that he will be able to return home to them in Clonee, Co. Meath, in the future.
Acting on her husband’s behalf, the patient’s wife made a claim for medical negligence compensation against Deirdre Lohan, the anaesthetist on the day of the surgery. However, the medical practitioner did not concede liability until October 2016, at which point a settlement of €7.1 million was negotiated between the families. However, before the settlement could be awarded it first had to be approved by a High Court judge, as it was made on another’s behalf.
The approval hearing was held earlier this month, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings. The judge was informed of that, to date, the victim’s care costs were being funded by a trust fund established by his friends and former colleagues. He also heard of the wife’s distress, and her eagerness to accept the settlement to finish with proceedings. The judge proceeded to approve the €7.1 million settlement for surgical negligence, offering his own sympathies towards the family after the “terrible tragedy” they had endured.