Injury Compensation News
Hospital death settlements are made by by the Health Service Executive when it can be proven that a loved one has died due to hospital negligence. As a claim for hospital death settlements cannot be made directly to the Injuries Board, it is advisable to discuss the circumstances surrounding your loved one´s death with a personal solicitor as soon as you have recovered from the shock of your loss.
Thursday, 9 May, 2013
A grieving family have had a settlement of compensation for a casualty department misdiagnosis approved after hearing a statement read out in court apologising for the healthcare that resulted in death of their son.
The parents of eight-year-old Richard de Souza made their claim for compensation for a casualty department misdiagnosis following the events of February 2011, when Ralmon and Flavia de Souza attended the A&E department of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise with their son who was suffering from chicken pox.
The two parents were concerned about a large swelling under Richard´s left arm that was hot to touch and were told by a doctor at the hospital that Richard had developed an infection. The doctor prescribed a three-day supply of antibiotics and sent the family home.
However, later that evening, Richard developed a great thirst and became delirious. The following morning he complained of feeling the need to vomit before passing out at the family home in Athy, County Kildare. An ambulance was called, but Richard was in a state of cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived and he was declared dead on arrival at the Midland Regional Hospital.
At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Richard´s cause of death was a streptococcal infection which led to toxic shock syndrome. She was told that a patient displaying a high temperature and high pulse and heart rate would normally be admitted to hospital straight away and that had Richard been administered intravenous antibiotics at the time it would have saved his life.
The judge also heard that Ralmon de Souza had to be hospitalised due to the severity of the nervous shock he sustained on hearing about his son´s death and, because of Ralmon´s grief, eight-month pregnant Flavia de Souza had to attend her son´s funeral alone. Both parents were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following Richard´s death.
As part of the €160,000 settlement of the de Souza´s claim for a casualty department misdiagnosis, an apology was read out in court apologising for the mistakes which led to Richard de Souza´s death. After hearing the apology, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of compensation for a casualty department misdiagnosis.
Posted in Children's Injury Claims, Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Friday, 8 February, 2013
The High Court has awarded a mother €100,000 compensation for a failed sterilisation after the son she was never supposed to give birth to died after only six months of life.
Karen Hurley-Ahern (41) from Newcastlewest, County Limerick, underwent the sterilisation procedure in February 2001 after discovering from her GP that she had a rare blood-clotting disorder that would pose a risk to herself and her unborn child if ever she were to fall pregnant again.
The operation was performed by gynaecologist Dr Victor Moore at the Tralee General Hospital in County Kerry, but in April 2002 Karen fell pregnant again and, after a difficult pregnancy, gave birth to baby Samuel on 10th October 2002 – six weeks early and by emergency Caesarean section.
Samuel suffered from severe abnormalities which were unrelated to Karen´s sterilisation procedure, and remained in hospital for six months – kept alive by a series of life -support machines. In April 2003, Samuel suffered a severe heart attack and Karen and her partner – Garrett Ahern – made the painful decision to switch off the life-support machines.
After seeking legal advice, Karen and Garrett made a claim for failed sterilisation compensation against Dr Moore and the Southern Health Board (now the Health Service Executive), for the suffering and trauma the couple had been through due to the unsuccessful procedure.
Dr Moore and the HSE denied liability – claiming that the procedure had been performed correctly and the couple had been warned that there was a risk of failure. However, in the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Sean Ryan found in favour of the now-separated claimants – acknowledging that Samuel´s disability was not a consequence of the failed sterilisation procedure, but stating that Karen had suffered to a significant extent due to the defendant´s negligence.
Awarding Karen €100,000 compensation for a failed sterilisation, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said that the award of compensation was in respect of the worry she had experienced when she discovered she was pregnant, the pain of childbirth, the distress of Samuel´s condition and distress after his death. However, no award was made to Garrett as – according to Mt Justice Sean Ryan – while he had undoubtedly endured emotional anguish, there was no proof Garrett had suffered a defined psychiatric injury.
Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Doctor Negligence Claims, Hospital Death Settlements, Medical Negligence Claims, Professional Negligence, Psychological Injury Claims, Surgical Negligence Claims - No Comments »
Thursday, 31 January, 2013
A widower, who lost his wife after she had given birth to their son via a C-section procedure, has made a claim for death after Caesarean against the Health Service Executive.
Dhara Kivlehan (29) from Dromahair, County Sligo, gave birth to her son – Dior – on 21st September 2010 at Sligo General Hospital via a Caesarean section operation but, soon after the procedure, developed multiple organ failure secondary to HELLP syndrome – a variant of pre-eclampsia. Dhara was rushed to Belfast´s Royal Victoria Hospital to receive specialist treatment, but died on September 29th.
Dhara´s husband – Kevin Kivlehan (33) – asked the Belfast Coroner John Lecky for an inquest into his wife´s death, but his request was turned down. Now he has asked the Coroner for Sligo to investigate the circumstances of his wife´s death and made a claim for death after Caesarean against the Health Service Executive (HSE).
No decision has yet been made by the Sligo Coroner, but the HSE is expected to defend themselves against the claim for death after Caesarean, and the alleged breach of duty and alleged negligence claimed by Kevin Kivlehan, after the symptoms of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and a low latelet count were allegedly not identified and treated in time to prevent his wife´s death.
A High Court decision on whether the HSE have a case to answer in respect of the claim for death after Caesarean is expected soon.
Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Delayed Diagnosis, Hospital Death Settlements, Medical Negligence Claims, Surgical Negligence Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Saturday, 15 December, 2012
A woman, who child was delivered stillborn due to the necessary blood not being available on an ambulance, has been awarded €170,000 stillborn child compensation in the High Court.
Fiona Ni Chonchubhair (36) from Killarney, County Kerry, was thirty-one weeks pregnant when she attended the Tralee Hospital in May 2009 suffering from internal bleeding. An ambulance was arranged to transfer her to Cork University Hospital – some 71 miles away – but the ambulance was not equipped with blood transfusion equipment.
A further delay of 20 minutes, when the ambulance crew could not locate the accident and emergency unit, led to Fiona losing a substantial amount of blood and despite being immediately operated on and given six units of blood on her arrival at Cork University Hospital, the treatment came too late to save her baby, who was delivered stillborn by Caesarean section.
Fiona and her husband – Stephen Cotter – made a claim for stillborn child compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE) alleging that, had she received a transfusion en route to Cork University Hospital, Fiona would have suffered a less severe level of hypovolaemic shock, which would have provided sufficient oxygen to her child to ensure its survival.
The couple´s claim included compensation for the post-traumatic stress, severe bereavement disorder and adjustment disorder that Fiona had suffered, and also for the cost of renting a home in Cork during a later pregnancy so that Fiona would be closer to the hospital. After an investigation into the stillborn child claim for compensation, the HSE admitted liability and issued and apologised to Fiona and Stephen.
At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said that the HSE had demonstrated “extraordinary ineptitude” and that it was “scarcely credible” in this day and age an ambulance would be arranged for a patient suffering from internal bleed without someone thinking of having the necessary cross-matched blood for transfusion.
Hearing that the claim for stillborn child compensation was before him for the assessment of damages only, Mr Justice Sean Ryan told Fiona that he could only determine compensation for a stillborn child on the basis of legal principles and not based on his sense of indignation, and awarded the couple €170,000 in stillborn child compensation.
Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Mental Stress Claims, Psychological Injury Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Monday, 15 October, 2012
The family of a woman who died giving birth to her second child has been awarded 850,000 Euros in compensation for medical misadventure following a High Court hearing.
Evelyn Flanagan (38) from Castlebar in County Mayo died at Mayo General Hospital on October 19, 2007, following the birth of her daughter Niamh as a result of serious complications. An initial post-mortem suggested that Evelyn´s death was attributable to an amniotic fluid embolism; however Evelyn´s family contested the findings – claiming that the deterioration in her condition was due to a postpartum haemorrhage which could have been prevented with greater care.
Inquest proceedings in 2008 and 2009 resulted in a verdict of death by medical adventure, following which Evelyn´s husband – Padraic Flanagan – made a claim for medical misadventure compensation against the Health Service Executive and consultant obstetrician, Dr Murtada Mohamed. It was alleged in the action that Evelyn suffered a postpartum haemorrhage as a result of a rupture of her uterus which was not detected or adequately dealt with.
Mayo General Hospital initially denied that negligence had occurred but, as Mr Justice Michael Peart heard at the High Court, an acknowledgement of liability had been made during mediation prior to court proceedings. The judge awarded the family 850,000 Euros in compensation for medical misadventure to include the maximum allowable 25,395 Euros for mental distress and payments for each of Evelyn´s two children as they grow older.
Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Doctor Negligence Claims, Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Medical Negligence Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012
The family of a man who died in hospital due to “an unjustifiable delay” in his treatment have received an apology from the hospital in question and 500,000 Euros compensation in settlement of their wrongful death claim.
Barry Murphy (38) from Carrigaline, County Cork, was known to suffer from Crohn´s Disease – but was generally in good health – when he was admitted to the South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital on the morning of 24th April 2008 complaining of abdominal pains. Barry was diagnosed with a perforated bowl but, by the time the hospital operated on him, parts of his body had already shut down due to septic shock and he died at 11.15pm the same evening.
Barry´s widow, Mary, claimed that the hospital had not cared for her husband by failing to operate on him in time, and that they were guilty of medical negligence in the avoidable and wrongful death of her husband. The South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital initially denied the claims, but in front of Mr Justice John Quirke at the Dublin High Court apologised to the family and admitted that the level of care that was provided for Barry fell short of an acceptable standard.
The apology and admission of liability for Mary Murphy´s wrongful death claim was accompanied with an offer of compensation for delayed treatment amounting to 500,000 Euros. Mr Justice John Quirke approved the settlement, once he had Mary Murphy´s agreement that it was acceptable, and extended his sympathies to Mary and her two daughters – commenting that what had happened to Barry was “unthinkable” and “tragic”.
Posted in Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Monday, 28 November, 2011
The Clinical Indemnity Scheme has been criticized in The Irish Times today for granting anonymity to medical professionals. The State Claims Agency has operated the Clinical Indemnity Scheme since 2002 for all medical malpractice cases taken against hospitals and doctors. The State Claims Agency ‘assumes responsibility for the vicarious negligence by act or omission on the part of doctors, nurses, midwives and allied healthcare professionals”
The State Claims Agency has advised solicitors that it is ‘neither necessary nor appropriate” to include the names of doctors in medical malpractice documentation.
This means that negligent doctors are effectively protected from public record unless the lawsuit is heard in the High Court. The vast majority of medical malpractice cases, like most other types of personal injury cases, are settled prior to going to court .
This effectively means that medical professions are granted anonymity for their negligent actions.
Posted in Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Medical Incidents, Medical Negligence Claims - No Comments »
Saturday, 5 November, 2011
A former director the Mid-Staffordshire Health Service in the UK has warned that fatality rates in Irish hospitals will rise unless there is some easing of budget cuts.
Mike Gill was speaking from experience when he addressed the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) at a conference in Croke Park, Dublin – during his tenure at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, an enquiry concluded that between 2005 and 2008 up to 1,200 patients had died unnecessarily due to the management´s prioritising of finances over patient care.
Mr Gill also stressed the importance in his speech of Irish nurses and midwives speaking out about the issues they encounter at the frontline of the health service. Condemning what he referred to as the “culture of non-reporting” he encountered while at the head of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Mr Gill insisted that “the patient must always be the priority”.
His sentiments were echoed by the union’s general secretary Liam Doran who stated that “Mid Staffordshire has said that nurses and midwives cannot be silent. They cannot be silenced by the system, they cannot be emasculated by the system, they have to have the courage, when they believe care is being compromised, to speak up and speak out.”
He continued, “When that doesn’t happen, patient care and mortality rates actually increase and we have to listen and learn. We can’t pretend that we are not going to make the same mistakes as other health systems have when finance has been given priority.”
Before the start of the conference INMO had released a statement saying that the Irish Health Service was under unbearable pressure and Mr Doran had words to add to this also. “At the moment I don’t see any floor for the Irish health service, we still have the moratorium in place, we still have beds closed on an increasing basis, we still have community services being cut back and now we are told X hundreds of millions more has to come out for the fourth year in a row.
The conference also heard how the closure of 2,317 beds and loss of almost 3,000 nurses meant that union members had “never been more frustrated” at the failings of the system to listen to and act upon what they were saying. The union warned of increased mortality rates and wrongful deaths in Irish hospitals unless the Government reverses its policy of prioritising budget cuts over patient care.
Current proposals for health service funding could see a further 500 million Euros cut from the existing budget, following a 1 billion Euros reduction in 2011.
Posted in Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Medical Negligence Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Wednesday, 12 October, 2011
The High Court in Dublin has heard that a claim for wrongful death compensation has now been settled for an undisclosed sum by the Health Service Executive in the case of David O´Leary.
David of Ballinascarthy, County Cork, was 12 years old when he died of acute myocarditis in February 2007, after having been diagnosed with a winter vomiting bug by doctors at the Cork University Hospital.
David´s parents alleged in their action against the hospital and the Health Service Executive that David had tried to explain to doctors how ill he was and that he had difficulty breathing. They claimed that, had the doctor´s listened to what their son was trying to tell them, his condition would have been diagnosed and David would still be alive today.
The Health Service Executive denied the allegations, but had expressed in a letter to the parents its sincere regret for any deficiencies or inattention in the care of their son. The letter, which was read out to Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court also stated that the family could take comfort from the “lessons that have been learned by all concerned with David´s care”.
Mr Justice John Quirke heard that the medical negligence claim against the Health Service Executive had been settled for an undisclosed sum without admission of liability, and had included the maximum amount payable of 33,000 Euros for the nervous shock and mental distress of the parents as a result of David´s death.
Posted in Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Medical Negligence Claims, Wrongful Death Claims - No Comments »
Monday, 5 September, 2011
A huge increase in the number of patients left overnight on Emergency Department trolleys could escalate hospital negligence claims made against the Health Service Executive (HSE).
According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s “trolley watch”, 6,624 patients were left overnight on trolleys in August due to a lack of beds, with 401 patients bed-less on August 31st alone. The figures indicate a 35 per cent rise on those from last year and are attributed, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation General Secretary, Liam Doran, on the rising rate of bed closures due to the pruning of funds by the government and HSE.
“A Serious Negative Impact upon Patient Care”
Selecting Limerick as an example of how the situation has got out of control, Mr Doran noted that despite assurances in 2009 from the HSE that any reconfiguration of services “would not require any additional beds”, 50 acute beds were closed at Ennis General and Nenagh Hospitals, followed by 25 further bed closures at St. John´s Hospital in Limerick and – in the middle of the August crisis – the HSE closed 25 acute beds at Limerick Regional Hospital. This has had, according to Mr Doran, “a serious negative impact upon patient care”.
“An Unsafe Situation”
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s claims that HSE cuts were resulting in “an unsafe situation” were echoed by Mr Fergal Hickey, President of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine. Mr Hickey, quoting research conducted in Australia which was supported in the British Medical Journal, stated that Emergency Department overcrowding could be responsible for as many as 350 unnecessary deaths in Irish hospitals each year. He added that, for the first time ever, children admitted through the Emergency Department procedure were also facing delays in treatment due to the overcrowding situation.
“The Solution is Complex”
In response to the claims, Minister for Health James Reilly – who promised after his appointment in March that there would never again be 569 on trolleys in hospitals as there were earlier in the year -stated that “the solution is complex and will require an enhanced capacity by hospitals to deal with the inter-related issues involved”. Nonetheless, staff working in the country´s Emergency Departments are deeply concerned about the forthcoming months.
The Situation May Get Worse Before it Gets Better
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is concerned that the increase in bed shortages and subsequent high numbers of patients being left on hospital trolleys is occurring at the height of the summer – traditionally a “quiet” time of year – and has called on statutory bodies such as the Health Information and Quality Body (HIQA), An Bord Altranais and the Medical Council, to inspect all affected hospitals.
However, it is already known that HIQA has been unable to carry out independent hygiene inspections of hospitals throughout 2011 due to a lack of resources. This raises the fears for MRSA and other hospital infections being acquired by patients waiting in hospital corridors for a bed to become available. Furthermore, according to the HSE’s own performance system, five out of the six main Dublin hospitals are ranked as “unsatisfactory” in terms of the performance of their emergency departments.
Posted in Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Infections, Hospital MRSA, Hospital Negligence Claims - No Comments »