Category Archives: Failure to Diagnose Claims

Alleged Delayed Diagnosis or Treatment of Cancer make up 25% of Negligence Claims against GPs in Ireland

A new report produced by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) has revealed that 25% of clinical negligence claims submitted against Irish General Practitioners during the time period from 2017 to 2020 involved an alleged delay in the diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

Other statistics revealed in the the study that reviewed more than 2,000 GP cases for its report, including claims, complaints, regulatory cases and requests for a wide range of legal and professional advice included that almost 50% of these claims were linked to female cancers.

In addition to this almost half of the claims were connected to breast cancer, cervical cancer and endometrial cancer. Prostate cancer was second most common cancer identified in claims, followed by lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and malignant melanoma.

The age of patients ranged from 22 to 74 years with 66pc aged 50 or less.

The report stated that: “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer involved in the claims reviewed. Aside from delayed cancer diagnosis, more than 15pc of GP claims related to alleged medication or prescribing errors. And around 10pc involved allegations arising from procedures or minor surgery.”

The report highlighted contributory factors such as inadequate or poor record-keeping, misinterpretation of test results, failure to refer a patient to a specialist earlier or follow up and investigate.

MPS medical director Dr Rob Henry said: “Claims for compensation in general practice can lead to large financial settlements. The value of the settled claim may include compensation for care and loss of earnings, in addition to an award for the damage that resulted from a breach of duty. The value of each claim varies enormously with our highest GP total case payment – claimant damages, costs and legal costs – being in excess of €8m.

It went one: “The decision to take legal action is influenced not only by the original injury, but also by the patient’s perception of the process, how information was provided and whether or how an explanation and an apology were given. We understand GPs work in complex and pressured environments, and we know that experiencing a medicolegal case can be concerning and stressful. At MPS we want to share our knowledge, experience and expertise in order to support members in their everyday clinical practice and reduce their medicolegal risk.

“We’ve studied over 2,000 cases in order to develop this collection of case studies, statistics and analysis and give GPs a view of the current claims environment. It includes common pitfalls and themes that result in a case and, importantly, key learning points to help GPs avoid the problems other have faced.”

The reports included finding and recommendations to say that GPs should pay closer attention to what their patient would consider to be a successful outcome in the aftermath of any treatment and understand their concerns and expectations.

It also said that the report discovered that patients just want an explanation and an apology in the unfortunate event of something going wrong.

‘Catalogue of Errors’ During Treatment Leads to €325,000 Compensation Settlement for Family of Dead Donegal Woman

The relatives of a 54-year-old Donegal woman who passed away following what was referred to as a “catalogue of errors” in the treatment provided to her have plead with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to put in place the recommendations made during a serious incident review into her passing.

The court was informed that Bridie Kelly from Drumbeigh, Mountcharles, had attended Letterkenny University Hospital on two separate occasions during 2018, but passed away following after a failure to correctly diagnose and treat a blood clot in her veins.

Following her death it was discovered that the CT scan that Ms Kelly was undergoing was unnecessary and was actually intended for a different patient.

The High Court was informed that Ms Kelly was brought to the emergency department on February 27 2018 as she was suffering with intense pain and swelling in her leg. After being tended to she was sent home regardless of the fact that the D-Dimer test, which is used to diagnose clots, indicated that Mrs Kelly was displaying two-and-a-half times above normal levels. In addition to this there was a failure to conduct an ultrasound scan or prescribe anticoagulants.

Ms Kelly returned to hospital on April 22 where theD-Dimer test was conducted again, this this time indicating that she had a level ten times the upper limit of normal. The court was informed that this condition could only have been caused by a deep vein thrombosis, which would have improved with the correct course of treatment.

Following an ultrasound two days later she was finally diagnosed. However there was a mistake in the dosage of the drugs prescribed and she not given enough. Mrs Kelly’s legal counsel informed the High Court she was basically untreated for a period of 48 hours. Sadly, on April 30 Ms Kelly suffered a massive clot on her lung and passed away.

Barrister Doireann O’Mahony informed the High Court that Mrs Kelly’s family was very angry at the way in which she was “neglected and deprived of life-saving treatment”.

A serious incident review that was conducted during 2019 by the Saolta University Healthcare group concluded there were shortcomings in the treatment of Ms Kelly, including the consideration of possible diagnoses and a failure to carry out ultrasound tests. In addition to this it was discovered that Ms Kelly had died while having a CT scan of her brain, which had been intended for another patient of the same name.

The High Court approved a wrongful death compensation settlement in the case against the HSE for €325,000.

Letterkenny Hospital apologised to the family for the shortcomings in clinical treatment and the events that took place in the lead up to Ms Kelly’s death.

Following the approval of the compensation settlement, family solicitor Ciaran Tansey commented that the family experienced a catalogue of mistakes when Mrs Kelly was being treated for a normally treatable condition. He added that Ms Kelly’s condition could have been dealt with using a readily available anticoagulant.


Nine-year-old Girl Awarded €12m Settlement in Failure to Act Case Against the HSE

Earlier today Justice Cross gave his approval for a a €12m failure to act compensation settlement at the High Court in favour of a nine-year-old girl who suffers from brain damage due to the fact that she was not admitted when she first attended hospital in relation to a case of bacterial meningitis.

The hospital negligence legal action was submitted against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by Cabrini Fallon on behalf of her daughter Robyn Kilgallon as a result of the medical attention she was given at Sligo General Hospital on February 1, 2011, when she was just 10 months old.

The court was informed that Robyn’s parents took her to the hospital following a referral from their family doctor was felt that was may be suffering from a viral infection. Even though Robyn was displaying symptoms including a high temperature and vomiting, had little control of her faculties and had eyes rolling in the back of her head, she was allowed to go home by a junior doctor as, her parents were advised, the results of the blood tests that they carried out on Robyn’s had no indication of any significant concerns.

Sadly, as Robyn’s condition did not improve and she was taken back to the hospital on the morning of February 2. By this time she was quite sick, not responding and had suffered a seizure. Due to this was was admitted to an intensive care unit where she was then incubated. A transfer to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast was arranged as the physicians in SLigo General Hospital deemed her condition to be of a serious enough nature to need specialist treatment.

Due to the alleged delay in the treatment of Robyn’s condition she now experiences significant development delay , walking and a difficulty communicating with others.

The medical negligence compensation claim stated that the HSE had been negligent in not admitting Robyn for immediate treatment when she first presented to the hospital with a suspected bacterial infection. Along with this it was alleged that Robyn, of Caltragh Road, Sligo now suffers from brain damage as a result of this failure to admit her.

The Judge was informed that Robyn’s mother and her father, Declan Kilgallon, have plans to hoping to move to a more suitable house that allows for Robyn to move about more easily due to her physical and mental restrictions. Donnacha Anhold, solicitor for the Kilgallon family, read out a statement that said Robyn was in a 100% perfect physical condition when she first presented to Sligo General Hospital. He went on to say that the family was grateful that the HSE apologized to them last week and were hoping that there would be some further communication from the organization in future to detail how they plan on avoiding something like this happening in the future.

The HSE accepted liability in the action and Judge Justice Cross said he was happy to allow approval for the settlement in the failure to act compensation claim.


Health Service Executive Sued by 59-Year-Old Woman in Relation to BreastCheck Misdiagnosis

A mother of two has taken a BreastCheck misdiagnosis compensation claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Siobhan Freeney has claimed that the mammogram she had during June 2015 was not interpreted properly. Shortly afterwards the test she was sent a letter from the BreastCheck service to inform her that the mammogram results had come back negative for cancer. Approximately six months later Ms Freeney was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast and she is now taking a case claiming that the original mammogram should have returned a diagnosis of cancer which would have led to additional assessments being arranged.

Ms Freeney’s legal counsel Jeremy Maher SC informed the Judge that due to this delay in her diagnosis, Ms Freeney says that they chance todiscovert the cancer at an early stage was missed. Mr Maher SC told the court that they are filing the claim due to the alleged delay in the diagnosis of Ms Freeney’s breast cancer. The breast cancer was not finally diagnosed until December 2015.

It was also claimed that Ms Freeney was not referred for additional assessment after the tests that were completed at the mobile clinic in Gorey. They said that a triple assessment including a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have been conducted and identified the cancer if this had taken place.

The claim that was submitted alleged that there was a failure to failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful fashion along with a failure to use reasonable care skill and judgment when examining her mammogram on June 17, 2015. Finally it was claimed that there was an a failure to spot features in her mammogram of her right breast taken that June may have been cancer.

All the claims are refuted by the HSE. Counsel for the defence said that the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy if the cancer has been discovered in the initial test. The court was told that their case was the mammogram taken in the mobile clinic was incorrectly reported as showing no signs of cancer. Experts for their side said that if Ms Freeney had been sent on for additional assessment the cancer would have been discovered.


Niece of 89-year-old who Allegedly Died Due to Bacterial Infection Awarded Majority of €28,000 Distress for Wrongful Death Trauma Compensation

The majority of a €28,000 distress for trauma due to wrongful death compensation payment is being issued to the niece of an 89-year-old woman who died due to a bacterial infection in 2009.

Judge Justice Garrett Simons gave a decision that, once €7,890 for funeral expenses are paid, the niece should get the rest of the compensation awarded.

The niece took a wrongful death compensation claim against the nursing home where her aunt had been residing, and also a Dublin hospital where she was treated just before she passed away. The overall total of the claim being €33,290.

It was claimed that her aunt died due to a bacterial infection which causes diarrhoea and colitis. The coroner recorded the official cause of death as due to “health care-acquired” clostridium difficile infection.

Before her untimely passing, her aunt was living in a nursing home up until a month before her death. In October 2009, she was admitted to a Dublin hospital for some medical treatment. She returned to the nursing home in early November before being readmitted to the hospital on November 23 just before she passed away lsome hours later.

Her niece took the wrongful death trauma compensation action due to severe mental distress she experienced due to the death of her aunt. The defendants refuted these claims.

A personal injury compensation settlement offer of €28,000 was offered and  accepted in 2015 and the High Court was then asked to rule on whether the offer was fair. However, as the deceased woman’s sister passed away since the offer was made, in August 2016, the court also had to decide whether the compensation settlement should all go to the niece or to the aunt’s sister. This was because, as a surviving dependent at the time the woman passed away, the sister was legally entitled to a share of her sister’s estate.

Mr Justice Simons said that he was of the opinion that the best course of action in this instance would be to direct the full amount of compensation to be paid to the niece as sole surviving statutory dependent. He said that the €28,000 settlement was fair and after the €7,890 funeral costs have been paid out, the remainder of the wrongful death related trauma compensation should go to the niece.

Mother has Whooping Cough Death Compensation Settlement of €100k Approved

A compensation settlement of €100,000 has been given approval in the High Court in relation to a medical negligence claim made by a mother whose two-month-old son died two weeks after she took him to hospital with a serious cough.

The family’s legal representative Dr John O’Mahony informed the High Court that a diagnosis of bronchiolitis was returned Cork University Hospital on baby Romi Betak when the baby was really suffering from a case of the whooping cough.

The whooping cough compensation case had been taken by Romi’s mother, Maria Mullins (33), of Presentation Road, Gurranabraher, Cork, against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation Romi’s death in August 2012.

Dr O’Mahony, in relaying the events that took place, said the child’s condition worsened and a blood sample taken coagulated and therefore could not be tested accurately. It was claimed that Counsel said if a repeat blood test had been successful a diagnosis could have been reached and a proper course of treatment administered. Instead, the High Court was told, Romi was kept at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and his condition got worse. He said “His (Romi’s) heart was racing, his breath was racing. The penny never dropped until it was too late”.

It was claimed that Romi’s health was not reviewed again by a doctor until August 5. By this time his breathing had become more laboured but the probability of whooping cough was allegedly not considered.

It was claimed there was a failure at this point to complete a chest X-ray and a failure to discuss the possibility of the provision of antibiotics was pivotal.

It was claimed that the possibility of whooping cough infection was noted for the first time on August 11 after another deterioration in the child’s condition. However a medical intervention still did not take place. A chest X-ray revealed significant areas of lung infection.

The following day, August 12, the Romi experienced a respiratory arrest and had to be resuscitated, intubated and moved to a Dublin hospital where he sadlydied on August 14.

The High Court was informed that liability remained an issue in the legal action case while Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the whooping cough damages settlement.

Failure to Treat Compensation Settlement of €2m Awarded to Woman Suffering from Ovarian Cancer

A woman who is suffering with terminal ovarian cance has settled her High Court action against the HSE for €2million in Failure to treat compensation. The woman, who cannot be named by order of the court,  took the compensation action following an alleged failure to take proper measures to safeguard her from the danger of developing the cancer.

Regardless of the fact that there was a known family history of ovarian cancer she was not given  genetic testing. In September 2017, when she was finally sent for the genetic testing , after she had started to develop the ovarian cancer,  the results showed that she had been a “carrier all the time.”

Counsel for the woman Patrick Treacy SC advised the court the HSE would be sending a send a “letter of regret” to her. The settlement followed mediation talks with the woman and her family and does not include an admission of liability.

Mr Treacy stated that it was her wish that her case would improve the genetic screening services.

The legal action was taken by the woman, her husband and family against the Health Service Executive. In 2015 the woman underwent a colposcopy and it was discovered that she experience mild changes in the cervix area. Later, in February 2017, test showed that she had ovarian tumours and pathology indicated high grade 3 serious cancer of both ovaries and she underwent a hysterectomy.

Following a genetic analysis in September 2017, that the woman had a pathogenic mutation in the BRCA1 gene. In other words, she was a person who was at high risk of ovarian cancer. It was also claimed that the woman’s cancer was allowed to develop and spread unidentified and untreated until she was finally diagnosed with Stage 3c high grade serious ovarian cancer in February 2017.

The Health Service Executive denied the allegations. Mr Justice Paul Butler approved the Failure to Treat compensation settlement.

20% in Overall amount paid out in Medical Negligence Claim During 2017

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has revealed medical negligence made up, by far, the largest percentage of compensation claims paid out against the State last year.

The main finding of the report was that, by far, that largest portion of compensation pay outs by the SCA in 2017 was taken up by the public medical sector.

In 2017 €248.88m was paid out by the State in relation to clinical negligence claims in 2017. This represents a rise 20.6% on the €206.4m figure paid out during 2016.

The figures were made available to Fianna Fail Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath in response to the question submitted to the Minister for Finance Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe. He had asked for financial details of the sums paid out by the State in compensation claims.

The official response from the Minister for Finance show that that the SCA has paid out €1.123bn since 2010 in relation to medical negligence claims. Between this figure for clinical claims, and a further €32.87m in general claims awarded against the general health sector, €1.235bn has been paid out since 2010.

Major rises experienced in compensation claims against the following area over the last seven years:

  • Personal injury claims awarded against the Defence Forces = €23.6m
  • Irish Prison Service personal injury claims = €19m
  • TUSLA, since it was established in 2013, has paid out €11
  • Other state authorities have paid out €111m since 2010.

Other significant point to note from compensation claims made against the state in 2017 were as follows:

  • The SCA, on behalf of Comprehensive and Community Schools, paid out €1.38m
  • Department of Health pay outs were €296,673
  • The Department of Justice paid out €261,569 in personal injury compensation
  • Children’s’ Detention Schools paid out €196,090

Medical Errors Resulting in 1,000 Deaths in Ireland Every Year: Expert

Roger Murray, a legal professional speaking at a medical negligence conference attended by solicitors, medical workers and patients in early September, estimates that 1,000 unnecessary deaths happen annually every year due to medical negligence.

Mr Murray, joint Managing partner at Callan Tansey solicitors, remarked that the most commonly seen incidents relate to surgery (36 per cent) medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent) and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).

As a medical negligence specialist solicitor who has been involved in many compensation cases, Mr Murray said that though injured patients and families do have empathy for medical professionals who make mistakes “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.

He issued a plea for thorough investigations when mistakes do happen and referred to many inquest situations where families learned that desktop reviews had been completed following a death, and the results were not disseminated to appropriate staff. A vital improvement opportunity had been missed.

Mr Murray said 160,000 people attending hospitals in Ireland experience injuries due to human mistakes. Mr Murray was speaking at the Pathways to Progress conference on medical negligence and stated that he believes that there is “no compo culture” when it comes to medical negligence compensation actions in this country, saying that what we are seeing in the legal system is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.

He went on to say that all those injured in medical incidents report it to the HSE. There are notifications of 34,170 “clinical incidents” annually and, of these, 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate lower than 1.7 per cent.

Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of Meningitis

The High Court has approved a €5.6 settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis in favour of a teenage girl from Ballinalough, County Cork.

On 10th July 2005, the girl´s parents phoned the South Doc out of hours medical service in Cork to express concerns about their daughter´s wellbeing. The girl – who was only three years of age at the time – was suffering from nausea, diarrhoea, drowsiness and a high temperature. She had also developed a rash on her stomach.

Having been told to bring her to the medical centre, the family arrived at 5:00am and were seen by Dr Leon Britz. Dr Britz diagnosed the girl had tonsillitis and told the family to go home. However, the girl´s condition got worse and – at 9:30am – they returned to the medical centre, where the girl was examined by a different doctor. On this occasion the correct diagnosis of meningitis was made.

The girl was taken to Cork University Hospital, where antibiotics were administered, and then transferred to Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital. At the Dublin Hospital she had both legs amputated below the knee, and subsequently medical records show she underwent 132 surgeries over the next twelve years to attend to health issues that could have been avoided had the correct diagnosis been made and antibiotics administered sooner.

Through her mother, the girl claimed compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis against Dr Britz and South West Doctors on Call Ltd. It was alleged in the claim for compensation that the misdiagnosis of meningitis as tonsillitis constituted medical negligence on behalf of Dr Britz and that South West Doctors on Call Ltd was vicariously liable for the “profound consequences” of the misdiagnosis.

The defendants admitted liability and a settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis amounting to €5.6 million was negotiated. As the claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the negotiated settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the girl´s best interests, and the approval hearing took place recently at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross was told about the timeline of the family´s visits to the South Doc medical centre in July 2005 and the “profound consequences” that had resulted due to the doctor´s negligence. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis – praising the girl´s parents for the efforts they had made to care for her and noting that the outcome could have been far worse.

Court Approves Interim Settlement of Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy Compensation

The High Court has approved a €1.98 million interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation in favour of a six-year-old boy.

The six-year-old boy was one of a set of male twins born by emergency Caesarean Section at Cork University Maternity Hospital on 5th October 2010. Although his brother was delivered successfully, he was born in poor health having suffered foetal distress in his mother´s womb. He was later diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

On the boy´s behalf, his mother claimed spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation – alleging that there had been a failure by the hospital to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy. She alleged that scans in June and September had revealed a low-lying placenta, a foreseeable cause of vasa praevia complications.

The Cork University Maternity Hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE) denied liability for the boy´s birth injuries – arguing it was not normal practice to investigate the risk of vasa praevia complications. However, an interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation was agreed without an admission of liability.

As the legal action had been brought on behalf of a child, the interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation had to be approved by a court to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. At the approval hearing, the High Court was told about the circumstances leading up to the boy´s birth and the alleged lack of regard to the operative risk indicators for foetal distress.

The High Court was also told how, in 2014, the boy had won a National Children of Courage Award, and that last year a crowd-funding scheme raised enough money to fly the family to Missouri for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. As a result of the surgery, the boy is now able to walk short distances, but he still requires physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy.

The interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy was approved by the High Court and the case was adjourned for five years for reports to be conducted into the boy´s future needs. In five years´ time, the family will be eligible for a further interim settlement or a lump sum payment of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation if a periodic payment system has not yet been introduced.

High Court Hearing for Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

A medical negligence claim, made by a woman who underwent unnecessary treatment due to a missed diagnosis of breast cancer, has had its first High Court hearing.

The claim was made by Eileen Fennessy, a sixty-nine year-old retired school teacher from Piltown in Co. Kilkenny. On the 25th November 2011, Eileen underwent a routine breast examination as part of “Breast Check”, the National Breast Screening Programme, but the screening allegedly missed critical signs that Eileen was suffering from cancer.

A year after this examination, Eileen visited her GP, who discovered that Eileen had a large mass on her breast. She was then sent to Waterford Regional Hospital, where an ultrasound and biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of a Grade 2 carcinoma.

Eileen was put on a course of chemotherapy as soon as the diagnosis was made, though this did nothing to stop the cancer. In April 2013, Eileen had a mastectomy. After her recovery, Eileen sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for her missed diagnosis.

In her claim, which was made against the Health Service Executive as the overseer of “Breast Check”, Eileen alleged that the treatment she underwent would not have been necessary had she been diagnosed with cancer a year earlier. However, the HSE have denied that they were guilty of medical negligence.

The case proceeded to Dublin’s High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed of the details of the case. Eileen’s legal team argued that the first mammogram, taken in November 2011, should have alerted doctors that Eileen would need further examinations. The failure to conduct these, it was alleged, meant that Eileen was put in unnecessary danger of the cancer progressing.

Though Eileen had been declared cancer-free, Judge Cross was told that her prognosis is “extremely serious and devastating”. The case will continue later this week.

Compensation Awarded After 10 Years for Undiagnosed Brain Injury

The High Court of Dublin has awarded a woman a multi-million settlement of compensation after suffering from an undiagnosed cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage.

In June 2006, Paula Dundon – a forty-two year-old mother of three from Co. Kildare – went to Naas General Hospital complaining of headaches, nausea and vomiting. Before she was admitted to the hospital, she was given painkillers and had a CT scan performed on her brain.

However, the scan did not show what was wrong with Paula. As such, doctors carried out a second scan a few days later which revealed a large intra-cerebral bleed on the left side of Paula’s brain. She was then transferred to Beaumont Hospital.

After the transfer, doctors at Beaumont identified Paula’s injury as an intra-cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage. However, the delay in the diagnosis at Naas Hospital meant that Paula suffered extreme brain damage that has left her reliant on round-the-clock care.

Paula’s husband, Michael, sought legal counsel and on his wife’s behalf made a claim for compensation for an undiagnosed intra-cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage. In it, he claimed that the delay in diagnosing his wife’s injuries would have been avoided though a prompt diagnosis.

The HSE disputed part of the claim for medical negligence, saying that they had adequately assessed Paula’s injury. However, they admitted that the diagnosis was not made within an adequate timeframe.

A €2.7 million settlement of compensation was negotiated between the parties. However, the case needed to be heard in the High Court before the settlement was approved as it was being made on behalf of someone unable to represent themselves. Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard the details of the case before approving the settlement. Judge Cross also congratulated Paula’s husband on the care he had given his wife over the past decade.

High Court Awards Compensation for Failure to Diagnose Organ Failure

A man, who has been in a coma since 2011, has been awarded an interim settlement of compensation by the High Court of Dublin for failure by medical staff to diagnose his organ failure.

In 2011, an operation was carried out on Robert Bolton’s oesophagus. The procedure was initially determined a success, but the next day the seventy-one year-old had a heart attack because of respiratory failure.

Despite being transferred to intensive care, Robert’s condition continued to deteriorate. Because of his sepsis, Robert suffered from a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, leaving him in a coma. Since 2011, Robert has only had a few occasions of minimal consciousness.

Robert’s wife, Angela, sought legal counsel concerning the care her husband received during and after his operation, as well as during his stay in the intensive care unit at the hospital. She proceeded to make a claim against the hospital for their failure to diagnose her husband’s organ failure, claiming that they did not adequately diagnose Robert’s sepsis or adhere to the criteria of systemic inflammatory response.

The compensation claim was disputed by the hospital, despite an admittance for partial liability regarding the substandard level of care Robert received at the facility.

Negotiations ensued between the parties, which lead to the determination of an interim settlement of compensation amounting to €550,000. This figure would pay for two years’ worth of the specialist care Robert now requires.

However, as the claim was being made on behalf of someone unable to represent themselves in court, the settlement had to be approved by the High Court. Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings, hearing of how the hospital’s alleged failings lead to the deterioration of Robert’s condition and how it has impacted his family.

Though Angela assured Judge Cross that no amount of money would compensate for what happened to her husband, she added the it would act as a reassurance that he was getting adequate care. The judge approved the settlement before commenting that it was the result of hard bargaining. He finished by wishing Angela and her family the best for the future.