Medical Negligence Claims

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

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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

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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”.

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.”

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.

Calls for Government to Compensate Swine Flu Vaccine Defects

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Two opposition TDs, Marc MacSharry and Clare Daly, urged the Government to “do the right thing” and offer mediation or a redress scheme over the swine flu vaccine controversy.

Sligo TD Mr MacSharry warned that the State’s stance to date has been outrageous and said that “the State Claims Agency (SCA) has spent over €2m rigorously defending discovery (of documents) in these cases alone”.

The Government failure to address the controversy has been described as “extraordinary” in light of major international studies, including an Irish report, which uncovered possible links between Pandemrix and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

The Government fully indemnified the drug in 2009 to fast tack it into service, as happened in many other European countries. The drug manufacturers GSK insisted upon this. This meant that the Irish taxpayer became liable for any of the possible side effects from Pandemrix.To date the State has fully contested all compensation claims in relation to the drug.

There is currently a significant test case is now before the High Court. This may lead to up to to 100 further cases.

Mr McSharry TD has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris to immediately introduce a round of mediation talks to those who suffered due to the side effects of the drug.

In tandem with these calls campaign group Sound (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder) said it is important proper that proper supports are given to children and young adults battling narcolepsy due to the side effects of the drug.

Co-founder of Sound Tom Matthews said “Sound has always stated that it is not anti-vaccine, and that the Pandemrix scandal was a result of the State rushing to get whatever vaccine it could and that it was acting with the best intentions. We believe it is way past time for the State to finally step up on this issue and to fulfil the duty of care it is morally bound to provide to these children and young adults.”

 

€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.”

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.

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”.