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”.