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.”
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.”
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.”
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that liability in the case was accepted in recent weeks. He approved the settlement.
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.
Cian McCarthy, a Cork Man, has been awarded over €750,000 Assault Compensation by in the High Court.
The man was trying to seek refuge get back in a Cork shop as he tried to escape from a group of people trying to assault him. The shop proprietor would not permit him to enter and he (McCarthy) was struck with a massive fist blow to the head outside the premises. Mr McCarthy had previously been escorted from the Centra store that evening after a verbal row at the deli counter when somebody skipped the queue.
Justice Kevin Cross say Cian McCarthy was an innocent party and had sustained a significant brain injury in the attack outside Centra supermarket on Grand Parade, Cork city during the Cork Jazz Festival weekend in 2011.
The Judge said that the security person at the shop should have acknowledged recognised that the three individuals involved in the queue-jumping row were chasing Mr McCarthy and told the second security guard at the shop of this. Justice Cross said that defendants’ duty of care did not end at the door of the premises.
The also also ruled that in denying Mr McCarthy entry and in pushing him towards the direction of danger, the defendants should have been aware that Mr McCarthy would suffer some assault and possibly some injury.
The three people involved in the row about the queue-jumping chased Mr McCarthy from the shop, followed him and tried to box him in the head. The judge said that Mr McCarthy did not offer resistance and walked away trying to protect himself.
Mr McCarthy escaped from the attacker and ran towards the door of the shop seeking safety. The judge said the second security guard who was not aware that Mr McCarthy was the innocent party and did not witness him being beaten and pursued outside blocked Mr McCarthy’s re-entry to the premises. Mr Justice Cross concluded the security guard pushed Mr McCarthy back int he direction of the crowd.
The judge said that he felt that the best explanation for what occurred is a combination of the security person’s push and the struggle with the other man which caused the clash knocking over a young female who was standing outside the shop.
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.
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:
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.
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”.
An young child, Cian Hammel (4), who was inflicted with a brain injury his mother just before his birth has had a €7.5m compensation claim approved in the High Court.
Following the car accident in which his mother was flung was a seven seat car that she was getting a lift in to her final pre delivery scan, an emergency Caesarean section had to be performed to deliver him in hospital. The High Court was advised that his mother Roisin, 17 at the time of the accident, was flung from the seven-seat car in that she was a rear-seat passenger in. The driver of the car did not have insurance to be driving the car. The road traffic accident happened at Manhanagh, Screen, Co Wexford on February 3, 2009. Cian Hammel now has trouble walking and is and also has difficulties with speaking.
In the legal action thken through his grandmother Ann, Cian Hammel of Ford Court, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford sued the driver of the vehicle Simon Jordan, of Monaseed, High Fort, Gorey, Co Wexford for road traffic accident compensation.
The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), the body which manages compensation claim for victims of uninsured driving, was also sued for compensation following the road traffic accident.
It was argued that the car, driven by Mr Jordan, lost control and flipped over in the air resulting in Cian’s mother Roisin Hammel being thrown from the rear seat of the vehicle. Senior Counsel Rosario Boyle told the court that Roisin, who was preparing for her Leaving Cert, was being driven to attend her final pre-delivery scan.
Additionally it was claimed that Mr Jordan had overtaken another car when it was dangerous to do so and that he was driving too fast in the weather conditions at the time. These claims were argued by the Defence.
Ms Boyle stated that Roisin Hammel was not wearing her seat belt when the accident occurred. However, the MIBI later agreed that, had she been wearing her seat belt, the outcome for her child would not have been any more favourable.
Following the accident Ms Hammel’s waters broke and, due to foetal distress, she had to have an emergency caesarean section in hospital. When Cian Hammel was delivered he had to be resuscitated and experienced multi-organ failure.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €7.5m compensation settlement and said he hopes it will provide for Cian’s needs well in the future.
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.