€63,000 medical negligence compensation has been awarded to 58-year-old Concepta Anderson at the High Court after she suffered an accident during her post operative care at St James’s Hospital in Dublin following a procedure to remove of a heart pacemaker.
Ms Anderson, from Sooey, Co Sligo, began the legal action against the hospital after she suffered an episode of syncope (heart stoppage leading to a blackout) and fell to the ground when she was in a hospital toilet on May 18th, 2014.
The accident happened when when she was going through a recovery period after a procedure to take out her permanent pacemaker. Ms Anderson was waiting for her new pacemaker to be placed. She sustained a head injury and has a permanent cut on her head.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr said, in his reserved judgment, that prior to having a pacemaker inserted Ms Anderson had a known history of falls and syncope and was a fall risk after the removal of her pacemaker.
However, the Judge said that there was negligence on behalf of her consultant cardiologist in not making sure that clear directions were provided to nursing staff that Ms Anderson was a fall risk and therefore should be told to remain in her bed and only permitted to walk about with proper assistance.
Due to that negligence Ms Anderson was not told to stay in bed and was allowed move freely within the range of her telemetry monitor. The judge said that this placed her in serious danger.
He added that the claimant was lucky, when she did experience the syncope episode, that she was in the toilet. He did not accept the additional claims of negligence in relation to a decision not to insert a temporary wire after the removal of the pacemaker and before the replacement device was inserted. Ms Anderson sustained a moderate head injury as a result of the fall, he added.
The Judge went to say that he believed that Ms Anderson is self conscious in relation to her forehead wound which, while not ugly, was permanent. He awarded her medical negligence compensation of €63,112.