Medical Negligence Claims

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.

US Laboratories Currently Providing Cervical Screening not Renew Service Contract in Ireland

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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.”

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.”

 

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.

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.