Monthly Archives: July 2014

Widower Compensated for Delayed Operation on Spouse

The compensation claim made by a widower after a delay in operating lead to the death of his wife has been resolved by the High Court.

The claim was made by Patrick Malone, from County Carlow, after his wife Helen (aged sixty) died at St. Luke’s General Hospital on the 12th January 2006.

Helen had a bowel condition, and as such was sent to the hospital for treatment of the condition. However, the procedure was postponed several times, meaning Helen “languished in pain”. When the surgery eventually was performed, Helen tragically died just four days later.

An inquest into the circumstances of Helen’s death followed, and it determined that she died because of systemic sepsis and multiple organ failure, caused in turn by a perforated bowel. The inquest revealed that, had the surgery been conducted sooner, Helen probably would have lived.

Patrick sought legal counsel and subsequently made a claim for compensation for his wife’s death against the Health Service Executives (HSE). However, though the George Nessim, Helen’s consultant, was determined to be guilty by the Irish Medical Council, the HSE did not accept liability for Helen’s death.

The case was then to be heard in court, but just before the first scheduled hearing, the HSE conceded liability for Helen’s death because of the delay in operating, and negotiations ensued between the parties. Patrick was offered a compensation settlement of €165,000 for the anguish he and his six children suffered because of Helen’s death.

However, the settlement still needed to be approved by a judge, and after five postponements in the date of the hearing, the case was heard by Mr Justice Ryan. An apology was read to Helen’s family by a representative of St Luke’s Hospital, and the hospital acknowledges that Helen had received a substandard level of care, leading to her untimely death.

Judge Ryan approved the compensation settlement before commending the parties for settling “a difficult, painful and tragic case”.

Case of Hospital Negligence Settled in Court

The case of a woman who died due to hospital negligence has been settled in court, with €165,000 being awarded to her family. 

In January 2006, Helen Malone died in St Luke’s General Hospital due to a delay in having an operation. Helen had been referred to the hospital due to a bowel condition that she suffered which required surgery, but the hospital staff delayed in giving her the vital treatment on several occasions. Helen died four days after the surgery was finally delivered.

An investigation was launched into her death, and it was revealed that she died as a result of systemic sepsis and multiple organ failure. The cause of these ailments was a perforated bowel, and the report stated that had Helen undergone surgery sooner, it was highly likely that she would have survived.

Patrick Malone-Helen’s widower-of Carlow City sought legal counsel and brought his compensation claim for a delayed operation to the HSE. The Irish Medical Council found that the consultant doctor in charge of his wife’s case-George Nessim-guilty on four charges of professional misconduct. Despite this evidence, the HSE refused to accept liability for Helen’s death.

The case was scheduled to be heard in court, but just prior to the hearing, the HSE admitted liability for Helen’s death due to a delayed operation. A settlement of €165,000 was negotiated between the parties for mental anguish suffered by Patrick and his six children as a result of Helen’s premature death.

The settlement needed to be approved by a judge in court before the case could be closed. The hearing was postponed five times before it was finally heard by Mr Justice Ryan. The details of the case were read to him-including how Helen “languished in pain” before the operation-and an apology was read to the family by a representative of St Luke’s Hospital. They acknowledged that the standard of care that Helen had received was sub-parr, and that they were responsible for the series of events which caused her death.

The judge approved the compensation settlement, noting that it did not include aggravated damages. He commented both parties for concluding a “difficult, painful and tragic case”.