An apology has been made by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to the family of a man as a result of his death that occurred at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny in 2011.
John Joseph Comerford was taken to the hospital in Kilkenny during March 2011 for hernia repair surgery. Sadly, the High Court was informed, the 68-year-old passed away three days later in “very distressing circumstances”. An inquest into his death in 2014 returned a ruling that death was caused by medical misadventure.
The family said that Mr Comerford was taken back to the hospital two days following his hernia surgery with shortness of breath, abdominal pain and low blood pressure. A CT scan indicated that there was fluid in his abdominal wall and after the site of the operation was opened again, faecal smelling fluid was drained away from the area in question. When he was taken to the intensive care unit, he suffered two cardiac arrests and died away on 21 March 2011. Due to his death, Mr Comerford’s family kicked off a medical malpractice trial against the HSE. The HSE admitted liability and the case was then settled for an undisclosed sum.
The HSE apology on behalf of St Luke’s General Hospital was read aloud in court. it said: “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 outside the court, Mr Comerford’s daughter Karen Brown said she is happy the case has finished but is “disgusted” that it has taken this so long. She remarked: “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”.
Mr Comerford’s son, David, also issued a statement following the case and described his father someone who enjoyed gardening who came to Ireland from the UK to retire in the late 1990s. He said his dad was enjoyed the allotments and continued working as a builder when he came here. He and his sister said their mother, who is now in her late 70s and was not present in court on the day, had to return to live in the UK since her husband’s death to be nearer to her children. He remarked said: “You mourn your loved ones and it never goes away, but this just brings it to the surface time and time again. You think of him every day.”