Compensation Sought by Family of Heart Attack Victim Who Died Due to Ambulance Delay

The family of a 74-year-old man, who passed away following a heart attack when the ambulance he was being rushed to hospital in collided with a toll plaza barrier on the M3 motorway. have taken a wrongful death compensation case to the High Court.

Presiding Judge Justice Paul Coffey was informed that the crash results in “inexcusable” delay in bringing the man in question, father-of-six James Walsh, to hospital for urgent medical attention.

Following the ambulance crash at the toll plaza Mr Walsh became breathless and panicky after the toll plaza crash. This led to his health, the chest pains that he was suffering from becoming much worse.

Representing the dead man’s family in court, Dr John O’Mahony SC who was appearing with Harold Brooks BL, Informed the judge that the ambulance moved into the wrong lane at the M3 Blackbull Toll Plaza and collided with the toll barrier. Due to this the ambulance then had to back out of that lane and send for another ambulance to take Mr Walsh to hospital.

This, counsel said, resulted in an “unnecessary and inordinate delay” as the medical team had to wait for a second ambulance to arrive and meant that the vital medical attention required for Mr Walsh was not administered quickly enough.

Mr Walsh’s wife was travelling with him in the ambulance when his medical condition was described as dire and critical.

Counsel said in Court: “The big mistake was that the first ambulance did not continue to hospital after the crash. If it had, Mr Walsh would have arrived at the Mater Hospital, Dublin, in a timely manner and life-saving measures would have been carried out.”

Josephine Walsh (73) from Culmullen, Drumree, Co Meath, sued the HSE and the National Ambulance Service over the death of her husband. Liability was admitted in the compensation legal action and the terms of the settlement are to remain private.

It was accepted by the defendants that the ambulance crashing into the Toll Plaza at Dunboyne, Co Meath, on September 29, 2017, and the resulting delay to Mr Walsh’s medical attention being administered at the Mater Hospital, on the balance of probabilities, resulted in his eventual death.

An ambulance crash compensation was approved by Justice Coffey in relation to the legal action taken by the man’s widow.


A letter from the National Ambulance Service was read out in court and expressed sincere apologies to Mrs Walsh and her family for the events that resulted in her husband’s death.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey, as he was giving his approval for the compensation settlement, added his sympathies to Mrs Walsh and her family.




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€10,500 for Filling Station Worker Threatened During Armed Robbery

At the Circuit Civil Court the Circle K Energy Group has been directed to pay a filling station employee, who was threatened by two armed thieves during a robbery, €10,500 in personal injury compensation by Judge Cormac Quinn.

The Judge was informed how the then 27-year-old Viktorija Boikovaite was working alone in the then Topaz filling station and store at Hartstown Road, Clonsilla, Co Dublin, on October 12, 2017 when the armed robbery took place. At the time she was cleaning the till area when she noticed one of two masked robbers pointing a large knife at her. The other knife-wielding robber at the tills area and threatened her to make her open them.

Now 31-year-old Ms Boikovaiterelayed how she froze initially. However, she said that when she was made to open the tills she managed to access  and press the panic button to alert gardaí and other members of staff, who were in a storeroom at the time, aware that a robbery was taking place.

Legal counsel for the plaintiff described how Ms Boikovaite had been traumatised due to the armed robbery due to the perpetrators pointed knives at her and shouted obscenities and demanded that she open the till. Since the event she experiences acute anxiety symptoms and has since returned home to her native Lithuania.

Security expert Stephen Heffernan informed presiding Judge Quinn that Ms Boikovaite had been left working on her own, despite a policy that the sales assistant at the tills should never be left alone. Other workers were in the back office at the time.

Mr Heffernan also informed the Judge that, in the year 12-month before Ms Boikovaite was involved in the armed robbery, 112 similar armed robberies had occurred in the west Dublin region including Hartstown and Clonsilla. When asked he said that he considered the filling station to be located in a ‘medium to high risk’ area and it was only following the robbery that a security guard presence and till security system had been implemented.

He remarked: “I believe that had better security measures been in place before the robbery it would have ensured that the risk of robbery was either removed or significantly reduced.”

Judge Quinn awarded Ms Boikovaite €10,500 in damages and legal expenses.



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€3m Compensation for Girl who Suffered ‘Catastrophic’ Brain Injuries after being Discharged without Adequate Medication

A €3m interim compensation settlement has been approved in a legal action that it was claimed that Temple Street Children’s Hospital allowed an 18-month-old child to be discharged without ensuring that she was free from infection, identifying the cause of high temperatures, and failing to provide proper information or advice to the parents on discharge about spotting the signs of ongoing infection.

Speaking after the approval decision was revealed,  solicitor for the young girl’s family Ciaran Tansey, said the compensation settlement was the end of a 10-year battle by the family of Chloe O’Flaherty. He said that in the incident that occurred in 2009, things “went horribly wrong” for Chloe in terms of the treatment she was given. He added: “That said, today’s settlement will never offer adequate recompense for Chloe and Samantha and Patrick. While she will be looked after financially, far more important is the care and love that has been offered to her for the past 12 years by the two people standing beside me, her the parents”.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was satisfied the interim settlement was reasonable and approved it. He told those present that Chloe’s parents have been unable to work since their daughter was released from hospital. He gave his best wishes to the Flaherty family.

Chloe O’Flaherty took the legal action through her father against the hospital, alleging that the institute had not taken steps to see to it that she was in a fit state upon discharge.

A €3m interim settlement has been approved by the High Court for a girl who suffered brain damage after she was allegedly discharged from hospital without antibiotics following cranial surgery when she was 18 months old. Now 14 years of age, Chloe is physically disabled and mentally challenged. Liability was not accepted by the hospital.

Chloe underwent surgery in the Children’s University Hospital when she was one-and-a-half years old. During the surgery her skull was opened. after it was finished she remained in hospital for 10 days suffering spikes in temperature which required intravenous and oral antibiotics throughout that time. When she was finally sent home her treatment team did not give her any antibiotic cover or plan. In the week that followed she continued to experience high temperatures. When they enquired about this her parents were informed that this was to be expected and to address this by giving Chloe Calpol and analgesics. While this did lower her temperature it did not remedy her underlying situation and seven days later her parents discovered her lying on her side and “continued to fit for at least an hour”. At that point she was rushed to hospital where it was discovered that she had sustained significant brain injuries. She will have to have full time care for the remainder of her life as she confined to a wheelchair and is mentally challenged.

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Wrongful Death Compensation Increased by €250k for Woman whose Father’s Death ‘has blighted her life’

At the High Court Justice Bernard Barton increased a wrongful death compensation award by €250,000 to €455,000.

The award had been made to a woman following the death of her father, a haemophiliac who was administered with contaminated blood products when she was just nine year of age. Her father, was then in his 30s, passed away following complications with Hepatitis C and HIV infection. He was one of a number of people infected following the incorrect inclusion of contaminated blood products in the treatment of their haemophilia. Prior to his death the man was awarded substantial compensation from the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal. Subsequent to this the tribunal awarded his daughter total compensation of €205,000 as a result of his death, made up by €120,000 for loss of his society, €70,000 for post-traumatic stress disorder/psychiatric injury and €15,000 special damages for loss of opportunity.

The woman appealed this award to the High Court based on claims that the loss of opportunity award was “wholly insufficient” and “wholly inconsistent” with previous court awards made in respect of such claims. Mr Justice Bernard Barton, in his recently published judgment, increased from €15,000 to €250,000 the compensation awarded for loss of opportunity and from €70,000 to €85,000 the sum for PTSD/psychiatric injury. He stated that he felt the €120,000 awarded for loss of society award was fair. Justice Barton said it was accepted the woman had been very close to her father and, following his unfortunate death, suffered anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression and difficulties maintaining relationships with schoolmates and peers.

The woman, who is now in her 20s, working full-time and a mother and homemaker, told the court that her father’s death had a deeply negative impact on her education and career paths, including leaving school at 16 years of age and failing to complete a vocational training apprenticeship.

In the judgment he delivered, Justice Barton said it was not at issue the woman sustained loss of opportunity due to her father’s death. He said the tribunal had taken a courteous and sensitive approach and its counsel had felt it took an “overly restrictive” approach in relation to this part of the claim by seeming to to put it in the past. That was due to the fact that the woman, before any therapeutic intervention, sought employment since mid-teens, obtained and held down employment, left her jobs voluntarily and was content with caring for her child.

The judge praised the woman having secured and held down employment previously and also for her determination to find a way to return to paid employment which she was happy with. he said that this determination was created due to the knowledge this would make her father proud and because she wanted to be a good role model for her child.

Due to the testimony provided and other evidence, including from an educational psychologist and vocational consultant, the judge said that were it not for her father’s death, her secondary education would likely have been much different and allowed her to pursue a vocational training course to qualify for employment as a receptionist or in business administration.

He said that he was not of the belief that it was unlikely she will be unable to secure full-time employment going forward but factored in she may choose to work part- or full-time or not to work at all. For those and separate reasons, he said that he felt €250,000 was a fair and reasonable sum to compensate for loss of opportunity and that €85,000 was a fair and reasonable sum reflecting the extent to which the PTSD/psychiatric injury, according to him “blighted the life of a comparatively young woman”.

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Swine Flu Legal Actions to be heard in November

It has been announced that the High Court will hear the second lead action of about 100 swine flu vaccine compensation cases that occurred during the pandemic of 2009 and 2010 have been provisionally fixed for November.

A claim was originally submitted by 15-year-old Benjamin Blackwell against the Minister for Health, the HSE and Glaxosmithkline Biologicals SA (GSK), manufacturer of Pandemrix alleging that he experiences serious side effect die to being given the vaccine in 2010. These side effects include narcolepsy and cataplexy.

The hearing may last for up to 16 weeks and is the second Pandemrix compensation case to come before the High Court. Medical expert will provide testimony based on the evidence that is provided by the plaintiff’s and defendant’s. The first original legal hearing was linked with the suffering experienced, due to the Pandemrix vaccine, by Aoife Bennett (26). A settlement was reached in relation to this action in November 2019 following a five-week hearing. Due to the confidential terms of the settlement the final figure of compensation was not publicly share and there was no admission of liability. Ms Bennett’s legal counsel submitted the claim looking for €6m compensation in relation to Ms Bennett’s suffering and trauma.

Ms Bennett was given the Pandemrix vaccine in December 2009 as part of the State campaign to tackle the the swine flu pandemic with the programme run in every school. Ms Bennett informed the High Court that she experiences narcolepsy and cataplexy.

Justice Michael McGrath  established a hearing date of November 3 2020 for the Blackwell legal action, a date that is very dependent on the situation in November linked to Covid-19. Due to the pandemic a a venue large enough to host the personnel involved in the legal action. There is no space large enough in the the Four Courts that will fit all the witnesses and experts involved in line with the current Covid-19 guidelines. An update is due to be provided in September.

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€3m Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Compensation Awarded to Boy (14)

€3m additional birth injury compensation has been awarded to Luke Miggin, who sustained cerebral palsy due to the the circumstances of his birth at Mullingar General Hospital in February 2006 – bringing the overall amount of compensation awarded to the boy to more than €6m.

This interim settlement is a result of mediation talks and should make take into account for Luke’s needs over the coming six years. He initiated the medical negligence compensation action due to the injuries he sustained during his delivery, via his mother Emily Miggin. They claimed compensation from the Health Service Executive and consultant obstetrician, Michael Gannon, of Mullingar Hospital.

On February 28 2006 Luke was delivered shortly after after 5pm on February 28th 2006. In a previous legal action the Judge was informed that that Luke would not have experienced his injuries if he had been delivered born just one hour earlier. The HSE and Dr Gannon admitted liability.

It was relayed to Justice Kevin Cross, was  by Denis McCullough SC, that Luke is a happy and eager school-going child. Emily Miggin, who had been working as a therapist, is now tending to her son and providing care on a full-time basis.

During the birth injury compensation hearing Ms Miggin told the Judge that this is her son’s fifth occasion attending court in relation to this. She went on to say that he had first agreed a settlement for compensation in 2011 with the first interim payment of €1.35m. Since then Luke has underwent 80 assessments as part of the court approved payouts. She stated: “The system should be easier”.

Ms Miggin informed Justice Cross that Luke is a special child who has complicated needs and they were blessed with excellent carers and she would give the money back fivefold to see her son play football. She said she was heartbroken and both her son and she had lost an awful amount.

Justice Cross praised the treatment and love that Ms Miggin has given for Luke and wished her all the best for the future. The case is due for a further review review in 2026 when Luke’s future care needs will be reviewed.

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Interim €2.1m Cerebral Palsy Settlement for 11-year-old Boy

An 11 year old boy who has suffered with cerebral palsy since his birth at St Munchin’s Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick, in 2009 had an initial compensation settlement of €2.1 million approved at the High Court.

The birth injury legal compensation action was taken by Rory Pender and his family from Kildysart, Ennis, Co Clare against the Health Service Executive due to the circumstances of his birth at the hospital. Legal representative for Rory, Alastair Rutherdale BL, told the judge that a Zoom video mediation conference this month had lead to a settlement agreement with liability being conceded.

During proceeding Justice Kevin Cross was told that Rory has a condition know as spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Due to this he is able to walk without help but has difficulty jumping and only began to run in recent years. He cannot communicate verbally but attends school and has a special needs assistant.

The case will be revisited in 2025 time so Rory’s future care needs will be assessed but the initial settlement includes payment of €1.2 million in the case as well as €500,000 to be paid in general damages and €400,00 in past special damages.

Taking the legal action through Rory’s mother Catherine Pender against the HSE, it was claimed that the boy should have been delivered much earlier. A medical expert appearing on behalf of the Penders told the Court that Rory the baby should have been delivered at 1am and not one hour and forty nine minutes later on May 1, 2009.

As a result of the slower delivery, the expert said that an over-stimulation of labour by the use of oxytocin took place and there was also a failure to stop the oxytocin infusion and conduct a medical assessment and do a fetal blood sample. The medical expert said that these would have indicated an emergency caesarean section or instrumental delivery was necessary. It was also argued that there was an alleged failure to spot the CTG abnormalities and an alleged failure to have CTG trained staff at the birth.

Lastly it was claimed that Rory experienced hypoxia during the final stages of labour and soon after birth the baby displayed evidence of respiratory distress and hypoglycemia. Following an MRI scan on January 7, 2010, when Rory was seven months old, his mother was advised initially that he might have a brain injury. Following this he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Justice Kevin Cross approved the initial settlement and adjourned the case until May 2025.

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HSE to Pay €30,000 Compensation to Eight Nurses due to Delay in Bullying Investigation

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has directed the Health Service Executive to pay €30,000 in compensation to eight nurses in relation to its failure to publish a report into their bullying claims five-and-a-half years after the complaints were first registered.

WRC adjudication officer Shay Henry said the compensation was necessary to make up for the the nurses’ stress caused by the undue delay it was taking to the process to come to a close. As he issued eight separate rulings, Mr Henry ordered that two nurse managers who registered complaints should be awarded €6,000 each and an additional six nurses should be awarded €3,000 each in relation to the failure by the HSE to publish the report in question.

He went on to say that final report into the bullying claims had not been published at the date of hearing into the cases and should now be published. In addition Mr Henry said that “justice delayed is justice denied” and the latitude afforded to the senior nurse manager against whom the complaints of bullying were made was “excessive”. This, he said, “compounded the stress” for the eight nursing staff that had registered the complaints.

In relation to the individual whom the complaints centred around Mr Henry said: “Where one party is effectively frustrating the process through raising issues which cause continual delays, at some point there is an obligation on the employer to bring the matters to conclusion.”

The HSE accepted that an excessive amount time had evaporated elapsed since the complaints were initially registered and communicated to the Workplace Relations Commission that this was a result of the complexity of the complaints and to a number of issues raised by the person against whom the complaints were registered.

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HSE Facing Legal Action in Relation to BreastCheck Misdiagnosis

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

Siobhan Freeney has alleged that the mammogram which was conducted on her in June 2015 was not assessed correctly. Not long after this she was issued a letter from the BreastCheck service to inform her that the  outcome of the mammogram had been negative in relation to traces of cancer. Around six months after this Ms Freeney given a cancer prognosis in her right breast. Due to this she initiated a legal action, claiming that the initial mammogram should have given a diagnosis of cancer which would have led to more assessments being conducted.

Ms Freeney’s legal representatives Jeremy Maher SC told the Judge that due to this delay in an actual diagnosis being conducted the opportunity to identify the cancer at an early stage was missed. Mr Maher SC told the court that they are making the compensation claim due to the alleged delay in the diagnosis of Ms Freeney’s breast cancer. The breast cancer was not properly diagnosed until December 2015.

there was also an allegation 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 which incorporated a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have been carried out and spotted the cancer if this had occurred.

The claim which has been made states that there was a failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful fashion along with a failure to use appropriate skill and judgment when reviewing her mammogram on June 17, 2015. Lastly it was claimed that there features were not identified in her mammogram of her right breast, taken that June, that may have been cancer.

All the claims are denied by the Health Service Executive. Legal representatives for the defence said that the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have needed radiotherapy and chemotherapy if the cancer has been discovered in the first test. The court was told that their legal action was the mammogram conducted in the mobile clinic was incorrectly reported as showing no indications of cancer. Medical experts said that if Ms Freeney had been sent on for more assessments the cancer would have been identified.


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Girl (9) has €12m Hospital Negligence Settlement Approved at High Court

At the High Court a €12m approval has been given for a hospital negligence compensation settlement in favour of a nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage as, it was alleged, she was not admitted and treated when she first  contracted bacterial meningitis.

The medical negligence compensation action was submitted against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by Cabrini Fallon on behalf of her daughter Robyn Kilgallon in relation to the treatment she was given when she attended Sligo General Hospital on February 1, 2011 at the age of 10 months.

The court was informed that Robyn’s parents brought her to the hospital on the advice of her GP who was concerned the child had a viral infection. Even though Robyn was displaying standard infection symptoms such as a high temperature and vomiting, had little management over her movement and had eyes rolling in the back of her head, she was sent home by a junior doctor as, her parents were informed,  Robyn’s blood tests did not suggest that there was anything that appeared to be a serious issue.

However, when Robyn’s condition did not then get better and she was readmitted to the hospital on the morning of February 2. At this time the young girl was very ill, unresponsive and experienced a seizure. She was taken to an intensive care unit where she was also incubated. Soon after this she (Robyn) was reviews and her condition was deemed to be a serious to the extent that she was brought to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for specialist treatment and care.

Robyn now suffers from significant development delay and has great trouble communicating with others and walking.

In the legal action it was alleged the HSE has not admitted Robyn to treat her for the suspected bacterial infection. It was also claimed that this failure to admit Robyn, of Caltragh Road, Sligo lead to her suffering brain damage.

The family solicitor, Donnacha Anhold, read out a statement in court on for the Kilgallon family. It said Robyn had been a very healthy young child at the time that she was taken to Sligo General Hospital. Mr Arnold went on to say that the HSE has issued an apology to the Kilgallon family last week, for which the family was extremely appreciative.

He added that he family had not been informed of the steps that the HSE plans to create to stop something this from happening in the future. There has been nothing produced so far in relation to this particular aspect of the case.

Liability in the action was accepted by the HSE in the hospital negligence legal action and presiding Judge Justice Cross said he was satisfied to give his approval for the settlement figure that had been agreed by all parties involves.


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Hospital Consultant’s Widow Claims Medical Negligence in his Care & Treatment

A hospital consultant’s widow has taken a legal action alleging negligence in the care and treatment of her husband at two different Dublin hospitals.

Meraid Hyland-McGuire claims that there was failure to act properly in response to an electrocardiogram (ECG) that was conducted on her 58-year-old husband Patrick indicating he had suffered a heart attack. Had there been a proper response, he would probably have survived, it is alleged.

 The couple had been married for 30 years at the time of his death in 2016. he had been around €500,000 a year as a consultant in emergency medicine at locations, including the Beacon Clinic, which has since named its A&E department after him.

Ms Hyland-McGuire, of Stonebridge Road, Rathmicahel, Co Dublin, was completely financially dependent on her husband and the case includes a claim for €2.8m relating to loss of earnings and opportunities, Ms Hyland-McGuire is also seeking compensation for nervous shock arising from his death.

The case has been submitted against Professor Des Winter, a general/laparoscopic and gastrointestinal surgeon attached to St Vincent’s Private Hospital (SVPH), Merrion Road, Dublin 4 and St Vincent’s University Hospital and is also against both of those hospitals.

The court was told by Ms Hyland-McGuire’s legal team that Dr Hyland McGuire was working at the Beacon Clinic hours before he admitted himself to SVPH about 10.30pm on the night of July 28th 2016. Prior to that he had phoned Prof Winter to inform him of the different symptoms including abdominal distention and fever he was suffering from. He then diagnosed himself as suffering from diverticulitis [a digestive tract disease] and was admitted SVPH as an in-patient under the care of Prof Winter. During the first night of his hospital stay, at about 5am, Dr Hyland-McGuire was suffering from a dizzy spell due to an ECG. The ECG unequivocally showed proof of an acute inferior miocardial infarction or heart attack, counsel said. Teh case that was being made stated that the defendants did not take any appropriate action arising from the results of the ECG.

Nursing staff called Prof Winters about 6.27am asking for him to be moved to SVUG for vital cardiac care but Prof Winters refused to sanction that at that stage and suggested a cardiac consultation later that morning. A third ECG at 6.48am confirmed the results of two earlier ECGs and the consultant cardiologist was called, leading to drugs being given to Dr Hyland-McGuire and him moving to SVUH about 8am.

Dr Hyland-McGuire spoke to his wife by phone before being taken to the Cath Lab by 8.15am for an angiogram and attempted coronary intervention. The case being made is that he should have been taken to the closest hospital that could treat Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI), St James or the Mater, as SVUH had permanently ceased about April 2015 to have on-site PCI facilities.

The Court was told that Dr Hyland-McGuire developed cardiogenic shock about 8.40am and lost consciousness. Despite more attempts at resuscitation and coronary medical interventions, he was pronounced dead at 10.59am.

Presenting separate legal defences, the defendants refute the claim his death was caused or contributed to by any medical negligence, breach of duty or breach of agreement on their part.

In his defence, Professor Winter claims he had told Dr Hyland McGuire, during their phone conversation on the afternoon of July 28th 2016, to go to the emergency department of the Beacon Hospital for an evaluation and a CT scan to be conducted and to attend either Blackrock Clinic or SVUH but the deceased declined those suggestions and guidance.

He says the agreed strategy was for Dr Hyland-McGuire to come and see him at once in his medical clinic and have a CT scan carried but Dr Hyland-McGuire did not come and texted at 8.15pm stating he was still at work at the Beacon Clinic. Prof Winter says he then departed VUH as he understood the deceased was refusing to have a CT scan conducted or attend the clinic.

The case will continue today.

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Seven-year-old Girl Awarded €5.8m Birth Brain Injury Compensation

A seven-year-old girl has settled her High Court action with an interim settlement of €5.8m after she sustained a brain injury during her delivery at Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway.

The girl in question, Ellen O’Kane, will return to court in 15 years when her future care needs will be assessed and further provision for her care and treatment can be made.

Ellen, who live at Kiltybegs in Longford town, took the birth injury compensation claim via her mother Mary Brady, against the HSE in relation to the care provided to her  at the time of her birth on September 19, 2012, at Portiuncula. It was alleged that, due of excessive traction as attempts were made at instrumental delivery, Ellen sustained injuries and became “severely compromised”. It was necessary to intubate her when she was finally delivered by an emergency caesarean section.

Her legal representative, Denis McCullough, instructed by solicitor Michael Boylan, told the court that an MRI scan later showed that a skull fracture and the baby had suffered a hypoxic ischaemic injury. In addition to this it was claimed there was a failure to use any or any proper or adequate care for the safety and wellbeing of the baby who was born in a very poor, flat and asphyxiated condition and that that syntocinon, a drug used to induce labour, was used unnecessarily and when Ms Brady was already experiencing strong contractions. It was claimed that a failure to stop the use of syntocinon which was allegedly resulting in atypical variable decelerations in the foetal heart rate.

The baby was not delivered in an acceptable and timely way and her skull was deeply impacted against her mother’s hip, it was also claimed. The claims were denied.

Mr McCullough said Ellen has had seizures and while she is now attending mainstream school now, her family plan to home school her in the future. Due to this the birth injury compensation settlement includes €520,000 for home-schooling.

Mr Justice Cross said that this is a good settlement and gave his best wishes for Ellen in her future life.

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Girl Left Paralysed from the Chest Down Awarded €9.4m Compensation Settlement

A High Court settlement of €9.4m has been approved for a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly paralysed from the chest down from an operation to treat curvature of her spine.

The girl in question, Aimee Brennan underwent the operation at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin when she was six years old. Due to her paraplegia she now has to use a wheelchair. The court was informed that the legal action case was quite complicated and the compensation settlement was agreed without acceptance of liability.

Her legal representative Liam Reidy SC informed the court that Aimee, who had curvature of the spine, was living an independent life prior to the surgical the operation. However, he added that the surgery was required to help her breathing. The surgery, he said, involved the placing of an anchor system and implants along the spine using pedicle screws. It was their argument that the screws had been improperly placed.

Aimee – with an address at Wolfhill, Co Laois – sued Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital via her mother. In the claim submitting to court it was claimed that Aimee had a required operation on September 29, 2014 during which led to her sustaining an injury to her spinal cord leading to her paraplegia.

The hospital refuted all of the allegations and said that the screws did not cause damage and could have been caused by a stroke, which is a common complication with this type of surgical procedure. Prior to the operation Aimee’s mother was told that the curve of the spine was significant severe and inflicting pressure on Aimee’s lungs and the operation was needed to save her life.

Following the operation, Aimee was still on traction and was taken to the intensive care unit. Her father Alan stayed with her that night and noticed Aimee was suffering with pins and needles in her legs at about 4:30am. A nursing note of 6am said that Aimee was unable to comply with requests to move her lower limbs. Due to this an urgent MRI scan was completed and she was taken back to theatre where a hematoma was evacuated during an operation which took six hours.

It is also alleged claimed that there was negligence during the main operation by following a surgical strategy which did not allow for more conservative approaches to Aimee’s condition. Along with this there was an alleged failure to complete pre-operative advanced imaging to present a road map to guide the placement of critical high-risk implants in surgery. The claims were refuted by the defence.

The Judge was also informed that no potential danger points or alternative options to the proposed surgery were provided to Mrs Brennan.

In an affidavit provided to the court, Aimee’s mother Jacinta said of her daughter: “She has been through so much but always has a smile on her face.” She added that Jacinta was unable to walk again after the operation and she has no power or sensation from below chest level.

Approving the €9.4m settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good one.

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Four-year-old Jack Awarded €2.5m Compensation for Brain Damage during Birth

A four-year-old boy from Co Donegal, left brain-damaged at birth, was awarded a €2.5m interim settlement in court yesterday.

Along with the award Letterkenny University Hospital issued an apology, at the High Court, for the mistakes that lead to Jack’s injuries. Hospital general manager Sean Murphy expressed sincere apologies for the failings and the “consequential trauma suffered by him and you, his parents and his family. The hospital understands that neither this apology nor the financial compensation … can negate the continuing heartache that the McGahern Donaghey family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for you.”

Jack, from Killygordon, Co Donegal, had initiated the legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) through his mother in relation to the events surrounding his birth on August 5, 2015. It was claimed that the maternal heart rate was being recorded rather than the foetal heart rate. In addition to this it was alleged that there was a failure to recognise the loss of the foetal heart rate during the active second stage of Ms McGahern’s labour.

It was also alleged that the baby’s heart rate during labour was not adequately or accurately assessed, diagnosed or followed up on. The court was told that liability was conceded in the case last month. Jack’s parents Denise and Seamus were in court as the apology was read out and the interim settlement reached after the judge gave his approval for mediation.

Denise McGahern Jack’s mother said: “With this interim settlement Jack will get the best support and care and help that he needs. This has been a very stressful time for our family. Although the interim settlement has been achieved today, it has been a very tough battle over the last three years between us and the HSE, causing us anxiety and worry. Whilst the apology from the HSE is welcome, we are saddened and weary of the legal process and struggle to understand why it took this legal road to bring about an explanation and produce an apology.”

She went on to say that they would like lessons to be learned from what happened during Jack’s birth and they never wished for “this tragedy to be visited on any other family”, going on to say that Jack is a special little boy “who is the light of our lives” and the interim settlement will allow them to move on positively from “what has been an horrendous ordeal”.

Gabriel Gavigan SC, legal counsel Jack, asked that that the case be adjourned for 10 years when the court will complete an assessment of Jack’s future care needs. In giving his approval for the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the bulk of the money will provide for Jack’s ongoing treatment.

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Swine Flu Vaccine Side Effects Compensation Case Settled between Woman (27) & HSE

A young woman’s family, who took  legal action against the State and drugs company GSK in relation to her contracting the sleep disorder narcolepsy after being administered with the Pandemrix vaccin expressed their wished that that the State decision to settle their action will clear the path for around 100 other pending claims over narcolepsy to be settled with proper compensation being paid to claimants.

The family also has slated as “a national scandal” the millions of Euro in taxpayers money spent defending the case by the State. Their daughter, Aoife Bennett (27), who was given the vaccine when she was just a child during the height of the Swine Flu pandemic fears in 2009, settled her case with the Department of Health and Health Service Executive (HSE). The confidential settlement is with no an admission of liability.

During the action at the High Court the Judge was informed that that key data on the vaccine was not included in Irish medication reports because it was thought of as “useless.” However, that data showed that Pandemrix had a ten times greater danger for serious side effects than a sister vaccine created by the same company.

The medical negligence compensation settlement for the student teacher was awarded against the Department of Health and the HSE. GSK and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) were not included in the settlement and will not pay anything in relation to costs or compensation in relation to the action.

Aoife’s mother Mary Bennett remarked: “It is a national disgrace that millions of taxpayers money has been wasted in defending my case and other similar cases against children and young people who do not have any right to legal aid.” She added that the public were not, at the time, made aware that there were safety concerns over the vaccine – and she called for a thorough review of the drug regulatory system in Ireland.

The Bennett family also criticized the manner in which they were treated over the past 10 years by the State. Ms Bennett had broken down while giving evidence in the High Court. Her parents Pat and Mary remarked: “The behaviour of the defendants prior to and during the trial has been exceptionally hostile. Further, the State Claims Agency have taken a very adversarial approach in dealing with Aoife’s case. The aggressive cross examination of Aoife, and us as parents, over four days is something I hope will not be replicated for other families. Today, Aoife has succeeded in recovering compensation and her case has been vindicated. However, no money will ever compensate Aoife for a lifetime of living with the incurable disability of narcolepsy and cataplexy.”

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WRC says that Bus Éireann Must pay Former Constructive Dismissal Damages of €10,200

€10,200 in constructive dismissal damages must be paid by to a long-time Bus Éireann driver following a ruling made by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The bus driver in question, Dan Fitzpatrick, told the hearing that he has been left ‘deeply traumatised’ over the way he was constructively dismissed by Bus Éireann. Mr Fitzpatrick had been employed by Bus Eireann for 16 years, working in the Galway region. The company informed him that he would need to step down from his role or face being terminated due to an incident involving an old-aged passenger in November 2017.

In that incident Mr Fitzpatrick stated that he escorted the passenger off a Galway city route bus service due to a heated exchange of words and repeated requests from Mr Fitzpatrick for the man to depart the bus. Once the man was off the bus Mr Fitzpatrick returned to his driver’s seat and drove off.

The next day, Mr Fitzpatrick was called into his line manager’s office where he viewed three different CCTV recording of what took place and was immediately suspended pending a subsequent disciplinary hearing.

He was informed that if he chose to remain in his position and be fired and he would have no longer have qualified for his €10,000 to €15,000 gratuity upon retirement. Due to this he retired on November 27, 2017, after what he told the WRC was “a flawed and unfair disciplinary investigation” conducted by Bus Éireann. He then filed a claim for constructive dismissal damages under the Unfair Dismissals Act with the WRC.

WRC Adjudication Officer, Ray Flaherty said at the hearing that Mr Fitzpatrick had no choice but to step down when he was informed that a failure to do so would lead to him not qualifying for his retirement gratuity. He also referred to the gratuity ultimatum to Mr Fitzpatrick as “unreasonable and unacceptable”.

As part of his ruling, Mr Flaherty said that comments made to Mr Fitzpatrick by a supervisor that “there is no excuse for this behaviour” in the incident and “you will never work in the company again” backed up Mr Fitzpatrick’s claim that fair and just process was not followed.

Bus Éireann did not appear at the WRC oral hearing but a Bus Éireann representative stated: “Bus Éireann do not comment on individual cases and we have no further comment”.




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€710,000 Paid by HSE for Prescription Error Negligence

The High Court has given approval for a €710,000 prescription error negligence compensation settlement offer made by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to a woman (69) who experienced a massive stroke after she was sent home from a hospital without her vital blood thinning medication.

Along with this an apology was issued by the HSE and annual care for the rest of her life in the region of €250,000 a year will be provided.

The woman, Mary Moss, was left without her required anti-coagulants “unknowingly” for six weeks and, as a result, suffered a massive stroke. She is now disabled.

The apology to Ms Moss, made through a court statement, and her family for any “shortcomings” the took place during her attending Sligo University Hospital. It went on to express regret for the massive impact that this has inflicted on the life of Ms Moss and her family.

Legal counsel for Mary Moss, Des O’Neill SC, for Ms Moss, told the High Court that she had experience a stroke during 2010 and recovered well. In February 2018 she had experienced another ‘episode’ and her anti-thinning medication was amended accordingly in hospital. However, her new medication was not included on her prescription upon her discharge. This error went unnoticed until Ms Moss experienced another stroke six weeks later.

Mr O’Neill said Ms Moss is, at present, in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, having made a good recovery. Her family plan are formulating plans to take her home to Ballymote, Co Sligo, as soon as they can. Her daughter, Leanne Moss spoke outside court saying that she was happy to know that her mother’s care will be paid for annually and that this would help her family significantly. She said her mother is confined to a she suffers from left side paralysis due to this stroke.

The family’s solicitor, Roger Murray, commented: “Thanks to a successful mediation, the family can now concentrate on getting the best possible care for their mother, and moving her home to the west where she is happiest.”

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€60,000 Dentist Negligence Compensation claim Settled by Woman (50) and Dublin Dentist

Fifty-year-old Roisin Mimnagh, has settled a €60,000 negligence claim against her former dentist for an undisclosed sum in the Circuit Civil Court following a treatment that she said left her afraid to smile.

Following the treatment Mrs Mimnagh told the Court that she had been horrified to find an incisor had been filed away without her permission and replaced with an amalgam or composite.

Mrs Mimnagh legal representative, David McParland, informed Judge Jacqueline Linnane that his client was someone who was generally happy with her appearance. She had attended Dr Anna O’Donovan, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, to have an incisor realigned. He said: “To her horror she afterwards found that her tooth had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite that was smaller and shorter and different from her original tooth”.

Counsel for Dr O’Donovan, Barrister Sarah Corcoran, informed the Judge that her client had entered a full defence to Ms Mimnagh’s compensation claim. However they had admitted that written consent to the specific remedy for her tooth had not been received before the treatment took place. She added that the case before the court was not one of deciding liability but a matter of assessing damages.

Remedial work was completed in 2013 not long after the initial treatment. Mr McParland said Ms Mimnagh was still wearing an appliance on her tooth. Additionally a specialist told her that she would need further realignment work.

The judge was informed by Mr McPartland that his client initially believed she was going to have some white filling applied to her tooth to make it look straighter. She was very distressed when she later discovered it had been filed away and an amalgam or composite put on it. This left her afraid to smile.

Judge Linnane told the Court that she had examined the pleadings and had found that the latest expert report was more than three years old. Due to this she said that she would be unable to assess damages on the basis of outdated expert reports.

When Judge Linnane proposed talks about possibly settling the cas,  she was informed by Ms Corcoran that Dr O’Donovan had always had “a significant willingness” to deal with the case. Following some talks Mr McParland informed the Judge that the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Ms Mimnagh;s legal costs to be taxed in default of agreement.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed in court.

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Dentist must pay €10,000 in Compensation to HIV Positive Woman after Stopping Treating Mid-Procedure

A dentist who refused to treat a woman while in the dentist chair and under anaesthetic after she disclosed to him that she had HIV status has agreed to pay the woman €10,000 in compensation.

In addition to this the dentist has agreed to provide a written apology to the patient in question.

Before attending the dental appointment, the woman had disclosed her HIV status to the dental clinic. Then, during the procedure, after she had been injected with anaesthetic, the woman was asked by the dentist whether she was taking medication. At this point she advised the dentist that she is taking her HIV medication. The dentist then withdrew his service raising his perceived concerns regarding possible contamination.

Speaking about the incident the woman at the centre of the case said: “I felt embarrassed, ashamed and I was really stressed and very anxious. Playing the whole scenario in my head again made me feel a kind of rejection. I went in confident thinking they knew my status and it was okay for them to help me, but after what happened it has had a huge impact on my self-esteem. It took me back to the time when I first found out about my HIV status. The woman added: “I had no idea that what they had done was wrong until after speaking to my doctor. I feel like going to the WRC helped me, as I believe the clinic is now aware that their conduct towards me was wrong. I feel better hoping they will not treat anyone that way, not only because they agreed compensate me, but also because staff will receive awareness training.”

As part of the settlement, the dental clinic has said that it will put in place an appropriate company policy that reflects their commitment to equality and will ensure that similar incidents do not arise in the future. The dental clinic will also provide equality and diversity, including HIV, training to its employees.

The woman also agreed to withdraw her discrimination case under the Equal Status Act which she had brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).


Commenting on the case, HIV Ireland stated: “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Some dentists and dental services continue to refuse treatment to people living with HIV, incorrectly believing that there are special places to treat people who are HIV positive.”

Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Emily Logan stated: “Dentists, just like other service providers are obliged to meet the commitments of the Equal Status Acts which protects people against discrimination. The clear message from this settlement is discrimination of this nature is not acceptable and should be challenged.”

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9-Year-Old Boy Awarded €32m in Birth Injury Negligence Compensation

Benjamin Gillick, aged 9, who sustained permanent brain injuries as a result of a delayed diagnosis of an infection when he was being delivered has had a €32 million medical negligence compensation award approved in the High Court.

The injuries were inflicted on the boy when his mother was giving birth to. Benjamin’s parents, Miriam and Andrew Gillick, asked the judge not to approve the proposed injury at birth compensation settlement as they believe it to be an insufficient amount to provide him with everything he needs for the remainder of his life saying: “It leaves us with a shortfall that will be imposed on ourselves or our children, or possibly our grandchildren.”

Judge Justice Kevin Cross told the court that a small percentage of the birth injury compensation, under €500,000, was being awarded due to the life changing injuries afflictions that Benjamin suffered at birth. The rest of the birth injury compensation settlement is made up of the costs associated with Benjamin’s complex treatment, educational and housing needs for the rest of his life.

The family, who previously lived in Chapelizod, Dublin now live in the UK in London.  As party of the injury at birth compensation action Benjamin said that he believed that the hospital was negligent in the review, diagnosis, medical treatment and care of the shunt infection that was carried out.

Approving for the final injury at birth compensation settlement offer of €25m, Judge Cross said: “When the headlines come to be written it should be noted that no one is getting a bonanza”.

Andrew Gillick, the father of the boy, advised Judge Cross that he is very worried that proposed injury at birth compensation settlement award not being a large enough amount when contrasted with the rates of return on investment in England. He went on to say that a similar case heard in the United Kingdom where the injury at birth compensation award was almost €45m due to the costs of medical-carers, therapists, aids and appliances, transport and education.



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Bicycle Accident Compensation of €64,000 for Man Who Slipped and Fell on Repaired Road

A man (47), who suffered a serious back injury when his bike slipped on a roadway where an excessive amount of bitumen sealant had been applied during repair work, has been awarded €64,000 Bicycle Accident Damages at the High Court.

Portlaw, Co Waterford resident Mr Kearney made the bike accident compensation claim against Tipperary County Council, the body responsible for the upkeep of the road, and another against Roadstone Wood Ltd, the group which carried out the repairs on the roadway.

Presiding Judge Bronagh O’Hanlon said it was clear to see that Joseph Kearney had suffered serious pain and a loss of the amenities of life in the accident that took place at Ballinaraha, Kilsheelan, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, on December 26 2011.

The judge, in decreeing that Tipperary Co Council and Roadstone Wood were both to blame for the incident, said it seemed to the court they believed the evidence given by Mr Kearney that there was faulty workmanship in terms of the original work on the road and the repair. Along with this, a similar incident had taken place elsewhere on the road which had been witnessed by an individual who provided evidence in this case.

The Judge said that that Roadstone Wood had carried out the repair works without ensuring ii had been finished to the correct standard in line with the correct specifications. She went on to say that Tipperary County Council was also negligent as the accident could have been prevented if corrective measures had been applied following the other accident that occured on the same stretch of roadway.

The court was informed that Mr Kearney’s accident took place when he was cycling as part of a group of 17 people, cycling two abreast on the hard shoulder. Mr Kearney was wearing a helmet and, as he approached a curve on the road, he slipped and fell from his bike. The judge said that she believed Mr Kearney had given his evidence carefully and honestly and did not over emphasise the accident or his injuries.

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Post Operation Negligence Compensation of €63,000 for Woman She Fell and Cut Herself

€63,000 post operation negligence compensation has been given to 58-year-old Ms Concepta Anderson at the High Court after she picked up a permanent scar in an accident during her post operative treatment at St James’s Hospital in Dublin as she as recovering form the removal of a heart pacemaker.

Ms Anderson, with an address at Sooey, Co Sligo, began the compensation action against St James’s hospital after she experienced a syncope episode, a heart stoppage leading to a blackout, and fell to the floor when she using a hospital toilet on May 18th, 2014.

The accident happened during her recovery period following a procedure to remove her permanent pacemaker. Ms Anderson was waiting for her new pacemaker to be put in when ther accident took place, leaving her with a head injury and has a permanent cut on her head.

Presiding Judge Justice Anthony Barr told the Court, in his reserved judgment, that he was aware that Ms Anderson had a known history of falls and syncope and should have represented a potential fall risk after her pacemaker was removed.

However, the Judge said that he was of the opinion that there was negligence on behalf of her consultant cardiologist in not ensuring that clear directions were provided to nursing staff that Ms Anderson was a fall high risk case and therefore should be told to remain in her bed and only allowed to walk about with proper help.

However, as no such warning was provided, Ms Anderson was not told to stay in bed and was permitted move freely within the range of her telemetry monitor. The judge said that this put her in serious danger.

He added that claimant was lucky that she was in the bathroom when she experience the syncope episode. The Judge went on to say that he did not accept the additional claims of negligence in relation to a decision not to place a temporary wire after the removal of the pacemaker and before the replacement device was put in. Ms Anderson was impacted with a moderate head injury in the accident, he added.

He awarded her postoperative medical negligence compensation of €63,112.

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Doctor Negligence Compensation of €750k Awarded Deceased 42-Year-Old Woman’s Family for

A doctor negligence compensation settlement of €750,000 has been awarded to the family of a 42-year old mother of three at the High Court. The woman died of a heart attack not long after visiting her local doctor complaining of cardiac arrest-like symptoms.

Sheila Tymon was discovered, by her three small daughters, unconscious on her bed at home. Their father Michael rushed home after they called him but he was unable to resuscitate her. A post mortem examination said that Mrs Tymon extensive cardiovascular disease  and her heart was enlarged.

The legal action claimed that she (Mrs Tymon) did not receive sufficient medical attention from her local doctor when she had attended the clinic previously.

Mr Tymon took the doctor negligence compensation action with his daughters against GP Martina Cogan who was practising at Keadue Health Centre, Keadue, Boyle, Co Roscommon when his wife’s died in 2013.

The Tymon family’s legal counsel, Pearse Sreenan SC, told the court that the family felt that the doctor should have sent Mrs Tymon on for further review at an earlier point and this course of action may have prevented her death.

Mrs Tymon went to Dr Cogan on June 10 as she was suffering from abnormal sensations in her chest and down both arms which were causing her significant pain. Dr Cogan, it was claimed, diagnosed Mrs Tymon with a possible case of shingles due to her high blood pressure.

A 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor was put in place when Mrs Tymon returned to the doctor’s surgery again two days later. At this point in time a antihypertensive medication was prescribed and a further appointment was made for July 2013. Mrs Tymon the court was advised was still experiencing pain over the following days. Due to this she called the doctor’s surgery to see if they could bring forward the review appointment but she was told that there was no appointment available until June 27. She booked this and on June 27 it was noted she had constant jabs in the front of the chest, shoulders, the top of her back and down her arms. A diagnosis of a musculoskeletal issue was the outcome of this appointment and the doctor prescribed anti inflammatories to try and remedy this.

Mrs Tymon returned home far happier following this.  However, later that evening began feeling some more discomfort in her neck spreading into her head. Just before 8pm her children found her lying unconscious on the bed.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross gave his approval for the doctor negligence compensation settlement without an admission of liability.

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Cervical Cancer Failure to Diagnose Compensation Claim Settled Days after Death of Orla Church

A High Court action taken by Orla Church, a 54-year-old cervical cancer sufferer, has been settled just days following her untimely passing.

Legal representative for Mrs Church, Barrister Richard Kean, informed Justice Kevin Cross that a settlement has been agreed in the case and that Ms Church’s father, Charles Church, along with the dead woman’s sister were present in court for the hearing.

Counsel said that mediation in the case had not been possible to proceed, as had been indicated to the court when it was last mentioned before the judge just days before Ms Church died. Justice Cross offered his sympathies to the Church family on her death. He also thanks the respective legal teams for reaching a settlement.

Mrs Orla Church, of Elm Mount Avenue in Beaumont, had submitted the legal action against the HSE and US laboratory Quest Diagnositcs Incorporated of Delaware as a result of the failure of the smear tests she underwent to return a positive result for cervical cancer. The test took place as part of the CervicalCheck screening programme for Irish women.

Ms Church underwent a smear test in September 2011 which was examined at a laboratory managed by Quest Diagnositcs. It is claimed that the results of the laboratory screening stated that there was no  abnormality detected and Mrs Church was referred to continue with a regular screening timeline.

Ms Church had a subsequent routine smear test in September 2014 and the official laboratory report, once again, stated that there were no abnormalities present in the sample. However, Mrs Church attended hospital in December 2015 as she was experiencing pelvic pain. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer with a tumour of over 4cms showing up in a resulting scan.

After a review of her 2011 and 2014 tests it is claimed that the results had since been changed amended in both instances. However, this claim was later amended to state that there had been no change to the outcome of the 2011 smear test, only the 2014 smear test result had been tampered with. All claims were denied by the defendants.

In her cervical cancer failure to diagnose compensation action Ms Church claimed that the reporting by the Quest Diagnostics laboratory lead to a false negative result both in September 2011 and in September 2014. By September 2017, she had suffered a sever downturn in her health and was advised in May 2018 there was a recurrence of her cancer, with secondary tumours now present in her kidneys.

The Church family, through their legal team, thanked the court and court registrar Grainne O’Loughlin for expediting the matter.

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Consent to Dental Treatment Compensation

If you believe that you sustained an injury during a dental procedure that a dentist completed on you which you did not provide consent for then you may be in a position to initiate a legal action for consent to dental treatment compensation.

If may be the case that you had a tooth extracted, while you were under anaesthetic, that you had not agreed to. This could have a massive impact on your self consciousness, confidence and could even have caused you a great deal of personal trauma.

Duty of Care in Dental Negligence Compensation Cases

There is a duty of care that dentists must provide when they are administering care and treating patients. The must always receive the official consent from their patients prior to completing any additional dental work. In order for a consent to dental negligence compensation claim to be successful. Dentist negligence claims have to prove that the attending dentist displayed did not receive consent from the patient and that there was a degree of suffering caused by the subsequent dental procedure, either physical or mental.

Injuries Board Ireland and Dental Compensation Cases

The Injuries Board of Ireland does not deal with resolutions of dentist malpractice. Asa  result it is highly important that you arrange a consultation with a personal injury claims with a solicitor familiar cases like this as soon as you can do so.

Dental Experts in Consent to Dental Treatment Cases

It is normal, for an Irish compensation claim involving dental negligence claim to require the hiring of dental expert. This is so that they can be consulted for their opinion on whether there has been an evidence of dentist negligence during a procedure that was carried out without consent and led to patient suffering. The dental experts will be required to show that a competent dentist would have provided a different course of treatment that would not have resulted in the patient suffering.

Because of the many different accident and injury scenarios, it is very important that you speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity – even if it is just to find out whether you have a worthwhile personal injury claim. A personal injury will not charge you for his or her time when you first speak with them, and will provide you with the information that you need to decide for yourself whether you have a claim for personal injury compensation which it is worth your while to pursue.

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Medical Misdiagnosis Claim Settled in Court

A case of a woman being rendered severely disabled due to doctors misdiagnosing the severity of her illness when she first arrived in hospital has been settled in court.

Bernadette Surlis (60 years of age) made a misdiagnosis negligence claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the treatment she received at Sligo General Hospital in 2013. The claim was recently settled for a settlement of compensation of €5 million.

In November 2013, Ms Surlis attended Sligo General Hospital suffering from a headache and vomiting fits. Although staff at the facility diagnosed her with a dilated left pupil on her eye, she was designated as “category three” in triage and left to wait for treatment for another three hours.

When medical staff finally saw her, they inspected her for evidence of glaucoma. Finding none, they discharged her. However, she returned the following day when the severity of her condition was “appreciated for the first time”.

Ms Surlis, who lives at Drinaum, Strokestown in Co Roscommon was transferred to Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital on November 5 as she suffered a hemorrhage and severe/permanent injury. She now needs permanent care, and in unable to live independently. Senior Counsel, Mr Cush, said the opinion of experts was that her condition will only slightly improve over the course of her life. She is aware of the severity of her condition, and the implications that it will have on her quality of life. Ms Surlis has difficulty communicating but can do so with the assistance of her family members. Ms Surlis has three grown children and four sisters living nearby her, who shall all aid in caring for her.

In relation to the claim, Mr Cush stated that had Ms Surlis been properly and quickly diagnosed and treated in November 2013, she would not have suffered the injuries. He advised the court that liability was accepted by the HSE. Expert medical consultants stated that if she had been sent to Beaumont when she first attended the hospital in Sligo, it is likely that she could have been treated properly and made a full recovery.

Bernadette Surlis is now restricted to a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home. Mr Justice Kevin Cross was advised that the misdiagnosis negligence settlement means she may realise her wish to return home in the future.
Judge Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the medical negligence settlement was a “reasonable and very good one” and that he hopes it will lead to Ms Surlis returning to live at home.

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Birth Injury Claim Settled in High Court

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation of €15 million to the family of a young boy who was left permanently disabled due to the mismanagement of his birth by hospital staff.

Coombe Hostpial, Dublin, has issued an apology to Eoin McCallig (four years of age) and his family, from Dunkineely in Co Donegal, for injuries the young boy sustained at birth. They further apologised for the difficult position in which it has put his family and all those who care for him. A €15 million settlement of compensation for the error has been approved in the High Court.

In response to the statement, Eoin’s father, Anthony, said the family could forgive the error. However, he further stated that they could not reconcile themselves with the way HSE treated their family and others who suffered similarly during the process of seeking compensation.

Mr McCallig feels that there must be a “better way” of handling cases involving seriously injured children than through litigation actions lasting years to a “bitter end” and last-minute settlement attempts. He told the High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that something has to change to prevent other families suffering as his did.

He said that the HSE has spent €800m over the last ten years fighting these compensation cases. Mr McCallig felt that this money could be put to better use.
Mr McCallig stated that the birth injury settlement of €15m would never change what happened to Eoin, but it would provide some peace of mind for the family as they knew that Eoin would now be taken care after if anything happened to them.

The court was told that staff at the Coombe Hospital, stopped monitoring Eoin’s heart rate at 9.30am on the morning of his birth. Eoin’s parents believe that if he had been monitored after this, it would have seen he was in distress before he was deliver at around 11.30am. Due to his distress, Eoin was deprived of oxygen in the 20 minutes leading up to his delivery. This rendered him permanently disabled.

It was argued that if Eoin had been monitored and delivered earlier, he would not have suffered such catastrophic injuries. The court was told Eoin was a very smart boy, but he is unable to walk or talk. He has learned to communicate with other people using only with his eyes and facial expressions.

In a media statement released through their solicitor, Michael Boylan, Eoin McCallig’s parents said the Coombe Hospital settlement was welcome but the family “would hand this €15 million settlement back in a heartbeat if Eoin could get back what was robbed from him in those two precious hours before his birth”.

Due to Eoin being a minor, the settlement of compensation had to be approved of a High Court judge to ensure that it was in Eoin’s best interests. Mr Justice Peter Kelly approved the settlement, and wished Eoin the best for his future.

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High Court Judge Approves Interim Settlement of Compensation

A High Court judge has approved an interim settlement of compensation in the case of a young girl who suffered from catastrophic birth injuries.
In November 2004, Isabelle Sheehan from Mallow in County Cork was delivered by emergency Caesarean Section at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital. Her mother, Catherine, had had a blood test earlier that day, and the results which had revealed a sudden increase in the presence of antibodies.

Although the antibodies would have been in conflict with those of Isabelle´s father – Colm – Catherine Sheehan´s paediatric consultant had failed to refer Catherine to an expert in foetal medicine. As a result of this negligence and lack of further medical intervention, Isabelle was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She has been left reliant on care from her parents, and will remain disabled for life.

On Isabelle´s behalf, Catherine Sheehan sought legal counsel. She made a claim for compensation for failing to refer a patient to a specialist. In the claim, she alleged that, had an expert in foetal medicine seen the results of the blood test in good time, Isabelle would not have been born with such devastating birth injuries.
A court hearing was scheduled for October 2011. At the hearing, the paediatric consultant – Dr David Corr – admitted that he had made a mistake by failing to refer Catherine to specialist and, on that occasion, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved an initial settlement of compensation in the amount of €1.9 million.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill adjourned the original hearing for two years to allow for a structured compensation payment system to be introduced. However, the government has failed to legislate for such a scheme. Thus, with no such facility yet in place, the case was heard again by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court for approval of another interim settlement.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that a further interim settlement of compensation for failing to refer a patient to a specialist amounting to €635,000  had been agreed to pay for the care Isabelle will need for the next two years – by which time it is hoped that a more suitable solution is available.

After hearing that Isabelle is “bright and intelligent”, and keeping up with children in her mainstream national school class with help from an assistant, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the second settlement of compensation for failing to refer a patient to a specialist, and adjourned the case for a further two years.

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Teenager Ordered to Pay Compensation After Inflicting Jaw Injury

A teenager who violently assaulted and inflicted severe dental damage on another individual has been ordered to pay €1,000 in compensation by a judge in the Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

In June, 2016, an incident took place at Charleville Show when one young teenager headbutted another to the left side of his jaw and walked away. He, (the defendant) then approached the victim again and struck him with a closed fist on the same side of his face. As a result of this double attack, the victim suffered a serious injury to his jaw. After seeking medical treatment for the wound, it was revealed that he had to have two plates and splints inserted into his jaw. He also lost some of his teeth due to the attack.

The attacker, who is not named due to being under the age of 18, was apprehended, and brought to court last week. Despite admitting to the assault, no offer of compensation was made by the youth at the court. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin, advised the accused youth that he would want to “wakey wakey” in terms of compensation.

The judge believed that it was unreasonable for the accused to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court with no compensation offer prepared. Therefore, the session was adjourned, and the court offered a warning to the youth that the next time he return to court, it had better be with an offer of compensation.

The youth returned to court yesterday. The Legal Counsel for the defendant, Dermot Sheehan, stated that there was €1,000 offered by way of personal injury compensation to the victim. Subsequently the judge adjourned sentencing until November 20. The accused teenager was remanded on bail.

Mr Sheehan advised the Court that said the accused, suffers from health issues, and offered this by ways of an explanation for his behaviour. Having read the report produced by the defendant’s counsel, Judge Ó Donnabháin commented that: “He has not got health issues, he has behavioural issues.”

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Prominent Solicitor Condemns Medical Negligence Rate in Ireland

A prominent solicitor has condemned the medical negligence rate in Ireland while speaking at a conference on the matter in September this year.

In September, Roger Murray, joint Managing partner at Callan Tansey solicitors, stated that he estimates that 1,000 unnecessary deaths happen annually every year in Ireland due to medical negligence. Mr Murray made these claims while speaking at a medical negligence conference, Pathways to Progress, attended by solicitors, medical workers and patients.

In his speech, Mr Murray stated that the four categories in which medical negligence incidents commonly occur are surgery (36 per cent), medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent), and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).

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

The solicitor issued a plea for thorough investigations when mistakes do happen. He 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. He cited incidents such as this as vital improvement opportunities that had been missed.

Mr Murray said upward of 160,000 people attending hospitals in Ireland experience injuries due to human mistakes made my medical staff at the facilities. In his speech, he 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.

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The State Claims Agency Releases Report on Claims Against the State in 2016

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has released figures revealing that the cost of compensation claims taken against the State was €256.2 million last year.

The SCA is the Government entity which handles legal actions taken against the State. The reported increase of 22%, which brings the accumulative cost of compensation claims to €2.2 billion, was included in and released in their 2016 accounts. In comparison with previous years, it is clear from these figures that there has been a surge in the amount of costs incurred due to legal actions involving the State in recent years.

Séamus McCarthy Comptroller and Auditor General for  the Government’s financial watchdog remarked on the consistent increase in compensation claims saying, “The number of claims under management has increased significantly since 2011”.

The figures in the account under scrutiny show that the number of legal actions against the State given a ‘pending’ status numbered 8,900 at the end of 2016. At the end of 2011 this number was 6,000.

The total amount of compensation and legal costs paid out for legal actions against the State in 2016 was €256.2 million. In 2015 the figure was €219.3 million, showing a growth of 22%, or €36.9 million. This correlates with the total number of actions taken, which grew by 24% to 2,300. There were a number of factors that contributed to this rise.

The payout breakdown by government agency was also released. Compensation pay outs for legal actions taken against the child protection agency Tusla and the Health Service Executive (HSE) made up the majority (€1.9 billion) of the €2.2 billion total amount paid out by the state.

The Department of Justice and Defence, including the Gardaí, prison service and Army, was responsible for claims worth €175 million compared to €27 million for to the Department of Health.

The compensation bill for the Department of Education was approximately €50 million.

The State Claims Agency was established as part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), to tackle at the increase in compensation claims being taken against the State.

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Woman Receives Compensation in Hospital Fall Claim

A woman who fractured her spine in a hospital fall has been awarded compensation for her injury by the Circuit Civil Court.

In April 2015, while attending the Mater Hospital for day surgery, a seventy-nine year old woman (who remains anonymoud) attempted to get out of bed when she slipped and fell. The woman-originally from Finglas, Dublin-was recovering from the general anaesthetic administered to her due to her surgery when the accident occurred. Due to the hard impact with the floor, she fractured her spine.

The woman spent a month in the Mater Hospital recovering from the injuries to her spine. She was then transferred to the Clontarf Orthopaedic Hospital for further treatment by specialists and physiotherapy treatment. She now has to wear a lumbar brace and use a Zimmer frame to support herself when she walks.

The woman is dependant upon a significant amount of care and assisstance, which is largely provided by her daughter. This is in a sharp constant to her having led a largely independent life before the accident. After seeking legal counsel, she made a nursing negligence claim against the Mater Hospital. In the claim, she alleged that ithe hospital had failed to adhere to its fall prevention policy.
The defendants denied liability for her injuries, so the nursing negligence claim was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe at the Circuit Civil Court. The judge informed by the plaintiff´s barrister that the woman should have been closely monitored at the hospital due to her having a severe fall at her home the previous November. An expert witness on behalf of the witness testified the hospital should have been aware of her fall and recorded it in the woman´s care plan.

Judge O´Donohoe heard from the head of nursing at the Mater, who explained to the judge how the accident had happened. However, the defendants could not explain why the hospital´s fall prevention policy had not been adhered to or why the nurse who attended the woman after her fall had not been called to give evidence. The judge told the court the absence of the attending nurse “spoke volumes”.

After hearing from the plaintiff´s daughter that her mother was “not the woman she had been prior to her fall”, Judge O´Donohoe found in the woman´s favour. She was awarded €58,500 in settlement of her nursing negligence claim, but placing a stay on €28,500 of the settlement pending an appeal from the Mater Hospital.

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Failure to Diagnose Illnesses Major Cause of Negligence Claims

Medical staff’s failure to diagnose illnesses and injuries account for large proportion of emergency room negligence claims in recent years.

Recently, the State Claims Agency released its review of “National Clinical Incidents, Claims and Costs”. This analysed the nature of claims made during the period between 2010 and 2014. The nature of such clinical claims is categorised into medical, surgical, maternity, disability or elderly care. The publication examined the motivating factors for claims made in the aforementioned categories.

A sub-category has been created to account in the broad medical negligence section for clinical incidents in hospital emergency rooms and the claims that result when an adverse outcome has occurred. More than 60% of emergency room negligence claims were due to the failure to diagnose an illness or injury and delayed diagnoses in the emergency room.

The next most abundant type of claim was the failure to treat or a delay in treatment, but there were only a quarter of the number of these compared to claims for a failure or delay in diagnosing an injury or illness. Other common reasons for emergency room negligence claims included foreign objects left inside a patient, soft tissue damage during the administration of treatment and avoidable reactions to known allergens.

Some common reasons for such diagnostic failures were the failure to perform a radiograph (or interpret the results correctly) in the case of a fracture, and incomplete medical examinations in other illness and injury scenarios. Other areas of concern included incomplete patient note taking and a lack of communication. These both contributed to a great deal of the number of emergency room negligence claims.

According to the review´s lead author Dr Dubhfeasa Slattery, the primary goal of the published review is to improve patient safety by analysing the most common areas of failure and implementing measures to improve patient care.  Dr Slattery described the process as a “learning health system”, and it is hoped that this has a positive effect in relation to the treatment received in hospital emergency rooms and leads to a reduction in emergency room negligence claims.

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Class Action Against French Manufacturer of Epilepsy Drug

The families of children who were born with developmental defects have formed a class action against the French manufacturers of the epilepsy drug Epilim.

Depakine was introduced into France in the 1960s as an anti-epilepsy drug, and was later introduced in Ireland under the trade name Epilim. The active ingredient of the drug is sodium valproate, and it has also been prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions because of an agent in valproate called GABA that stabilises electrical activity in the brain.

When taken by woman during pregnancy, the sodium valproate is converted into valproic acid. When this enters the bloodstream, it can have an adverse effect on the health of the unborn child and affect its development. Children born with “foetal valproate syndrome” have been known to suffer from a range of congenital and development issues including autism and spina bifida.

The first signs that there could be risks of foetal valproate syndrome related to taking Epilim during pregnancy were first identified in the 1980s. However, the evidence in these cases was considered not sufficiently conclusive and was allegedly covered up to prevent “fruitless anxiety” by those who used the drug. The French manufacturer of the drug, Sanofi, later informed leading medical bodies of the risks in 2006. In spite of this warning, many medical professionals were left in the dark about the true extent of the drugs effects.

Only recently has France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) looked deeper into the birth defect claims against Sanofi. The agency has recently published a report revealing that up to 4,100 children were born between 2007 and 2014 with “severe malformations” due to their mothers having taken the French version of Epilim. Tragically, the report also states that hundreds more are likely to have died in the womb.

In light of the report, the children´s parents sought legal counsel, and now are forming a class action making birth defect claims against Sanofi. The claim is being made on the grounds that the drug manufacturer failed to adequately advise the medical professional of the risks associated with Epilim or print warnings on the outside of the packets. The French government has also got involved and is discussing a compensation package.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning on the front of the packet. It is not known how many children have been diagnosed with foetal valproate syndrome due to being exposed to valproic acid in the womb. The Disability Federation in Ireland has called on the government to conduct an audit of children diagnose with foetal valproate syndrome. If a family member has been affected by this issue, and you would like to know more about birth defect claims against Sanofi, please do not hesitate to speak with a solicitor.

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Family Wins Birth Negligence Case After Battling with HSE for Decade

A family has finally won a case for birth negligence compensation after battling with the HSE, who denied liability for the birth injuries for nearly a decade.

In May 2006, a baby boy was born at Kerry General Hosptial. He was born by emergency Caesarean Section, after his birth was avoidably delayed by approximately two hours. The circumstances surrounding his birth were difficult, due to the negligence of the staff involved in the procedure. The difficulties began when no action was taken on a CTG trace that indicated foetal distress, and when a measure of his heartbeat indicated that he was experiencing issues in the womb. No consultant obstetrician was informed these measurements, or of the potential dangers surrounding his birth, including the risk of foetal hypoxia or other adverse health issues.

Due to the avoidable delay, the boy endured a lack of oxygen in the womb. This resulted in him suffering from devastating brain damage. After later medical assessment, he was diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy. The boy, who is now ten years of age, requires 24-hour care by his family. He cannot communicate orally, and he will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Despite the negligence of their staff on several counts, the HSE failed to admit liability for the boy’s suffering for nearly a decade. During this time, the boy´s family had to care for him on their own without the support they should have received from the state.

The HSE only admitted liability in 2016 after a nine-year legal battle with the family. It was only after threats of aggravated damages by the family’s legal team that they were prompted to admit their liability and negligence. An interim settlement of €2.7 million compensation for brain damage at birth was rushed through the courts to alleviate the family of financial burdens as quickly as possible.

Further negotiations ensued between the two legal teams, and the family returned to court earlier this month for the approval of a final lump sum settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth. The final lump sum was agreed upon as €15 million . As the boy is a minor, the amount had to be approved by a judge to deem it sufficient to the boy’s long-term needs and in his best interests.

The case was heard by Judge Kelly at the High Court. He stated that he felt the settlement was “commercial common and legal sense”. He further paid tribute to the boy´s parents for their dedicated care of their son. He further added while no money would compensate the boy and his family, it was the only form of redress the law could provide. He hoped it would give peace of mind that there is a fund to care for the boy´s needs into the future. As the boy is a ward of court, the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth will be paid into court funds and managed by court authorities.

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Compensation Awarded to Family of Severely Disabled Child

Compensation has been awarded to the family of a child left severely disabled due to negligence on the part of hospital staff surrounding his birth.

In March 2010, the young boy in question was born at Cork University Maternity Hospital. A CTG scan was taken, and despite concerning signs on the trace, the hospital staff did not believe that the foetus was in any danger. As such, the planned Caesarean section was delayed. As a result of this delay, the foetus suffered from a hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in the womb. He was born with severe brain damage.

The baby, now six years old, was left blind and unable to speak. He also suffers from daily seizures and is cared for around the clock by his parents and extended family. The family also receive support from the Jack and Jill Foundation and other charities.

Due to the negligent nature of the hospital staff surrounding the boy’s birth, the family sought legal counsel. Acting on her child’s behalf, the boy’s mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). The claim alleged that staff at the hospital failed to correctly interpret the results of a CTG scan that indicated their child was suffering from foetal distress syndrome.

The HSE denied the allegations of negligence, but offered to pay an interim settlement of compensation without admitting liability. The €1.35 million settlement allows for an assessment of the boy’s condition and future care needs.

Before the settlement could be awarded, it had to be approved by a judge in Dublin’s High Court, as the child is a minor and a judge must determine if the settlement is in the child’s best interests.  Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who oversaw the approval hearing, was told of how hard it was for the boy’s family to get compensation for the delayed Caesarean section, and of their relief that the process was over. Wishing the family the best for the future, Judge Cross approved the settlement. The case adjourned the case for three years for the value of future settlements of compensation to be assessed.

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Boy Receives Compensation for Birth Negligence Resulting in Disability

A six-year-old boy has received compensation A claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy was bought by the child´s mother against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Cork University Maternity Hospital. The woman’s son-one of twin boys born on 5th October 2010 – was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

The High Court received evidence from the woman’s legal team that a scan conducted in June 2010 revealed a low-lying placenta, and that a second scan in September 2010 indicated there was a risk of vasa praevia – a pregnancy complication in which babies blood vessels cross or run near the internal opening of the uterus. In spite of these medical complications revealed by the scans, no further action was taken.

As a result of the alleged negligence, one of the twins suffered foetal distress in the womb. He now suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, resulting in mobility and cognitive difficulties. He was flown to Missouri for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to help him to begin to learn how to walk. Despite successful treatment, he now requires a walker or a wheelchair whenever he gets tired or ill.

His family sought legal counsel, and brought the case of negligence to the courts. It was alleged in the court action that the Cork University Maternity Hospital should have conducted a more specific scan in September 2010 to address the risk of vasa praevia, and that the hospital demonstrated a failure to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy.

At the High Court the defendants-the HSE-testified it was not a part of their regular proceedings to carry out a second scan to address the risk of vasa praevia. The HSE contested liability in the claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy. In spite of the denial of any negligence on their part, the HSE agreed to an interim settlement of compensation for spastic diplegic cerebral palsy amounting to €1.98 million.

The judge was told various details of the six-year-old boy’s life, ranging from his mobility struggles to how won a National Children of Courage Award in 2014,. The judge was further informed that the funds will be used to provide him with greater access to private physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy. The judge approved the interim settlement on the boy’s behalf. The case will return to the High Court in five years after the boy´s future needs have been assessed, so that a further settlement of compensation can be negotiated.

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Surgical Negligence Claim Results in Family Receiving €7.1 million in Compensation

A case of surgical negligence-in which a man was deprived of oxygen during surgery-has resulted in his family receiving €7.1 million in compensation due to the brain damage he subsequently suffered.

A former barrister, aged forty-six, visited the Sports Surgery Clinic in North Dublin concerning pain he was experiencing in his back. In 2014, he elected to have surgery on his cervical spine due to the pain. However, though the back pain was relieved, during the surgery there was mismanagement of the anaesthetic and the patient was deprived of oxygen and as a result sustained severe brain damage. He later underwent medical assessment and was diagnosed with a hypoxic brain injury.

Since the surgery, the ex-barrister has been reliant on twenty-four-hour care. The patient can smile at his children and has certain reactions around his family, but cannot otherwise communicate. Though he is currently in a resident care home, his family hope that he will one day be able to return home to them in Clonee, Co. Meath.

Acting on her husband’s behalf as he is now unable to represent himself, the man’s wife made a claim for medical negligence compensation against Deirdre Lohan, the anaesthetist on the day of the surgery. However, the medical practitioner did not concede liability until October 2016. A settlement of compensation valuing €7.1 million was negotiated between the two legal parties. However, before the settlement could be awarded it first had to be approved by a High Court judge, as it was made on another’s behalf.

The approval hearing was held earlier this month, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings. The judge was informed of that, to date, the man’s care costs were being funded by a trust fund established and supported by his friends and former colleagues. He also heard of the wife’s distress, and her eagerness to accept the settlement to finish with proceedings and move on with her life.

The judge proceeded to approve the €7.1 million settlement for surgical negligence, offering his own sympathies towards the family after the “terrible tragedy” they had endured.

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Compensation Awarded in Chickenpox Misdiagnosis Case

Compensation has been awarded to the family of a little boy who has been left severely disabled when his case of chickenpox was misdiagnosed.

In August 2012-shortly before his second birthday, Eoghan Keating was brought to the A&E Department of Waterford Regional Hospital. Eoghan-originally from Upper Dunhill in County Waterford-was suffering from a high fever and having developed a rash on his abdomen. After undergoing medical examination by the staff at the facility, Eoghan was misdiagnosed as having mumps. He was sent home with his parents after being treated with ibuprofen and Calpol to relieve his symptoms.

Despite the medical attention, the parents noticed their son’s condition deteriorated during the night. He became lethargic and his neck began to swell. His concerned parents – Larry and Martina – called the CareDoc GP service, who advised that Eoghan be taken back to the hospital as soon as possible. He was brought back to Waterford Regional Hospital, where he underwent further medical examinations. Eoghan was correctly diagnosed as having a chicken pox infection.

Eoghan was incubated and ventilated before being transferred to the Children´s Hospital in Dublin. Due to the delay in receiving the correct diagnosis,  the boy suffered a serious brain injury. Now six year of age, Eoghan is tetraplegic and cannot talk.

On her son´s behalf, Martina Keating made a claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that there had been a failure by medical staff at the Waterford Regional Hospital to admit her son or identify the indications of a significant infection. Due to this incorrect diagnosis, her son was left severely disabled. Liability for the medical negligence that resulted in Eoghan´s condition was acknowledged by the HSE and a €2.5 million interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation was agreed.

As the claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in the child’s best interests. The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Dublin. A medical professional informed the judge of the sequence of events leading up to Eoghan´s brain injury and the consequences of his injury. At the hearing, the family was also read an apology by the General Manager of Waterford Regional Hospital – Richard Dooley – for the “deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan”.

After commenting that the Keatings´ “suffering cannot be described or defined”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation and adjourned the case for two years to allow for an assessment of Eoghan´s future needs. In two years´ time, the family will return to court for the approval of a second interim compensation settlement unless a system of periodic payments has been introduced in the intervening period.

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New National Patient Safety Office Announced by Health Minister

The Minister for Health has announced that the new National Patient Safety Office at a patient safety conference this week in Dublin.

The soon-to-be established National Patient Safety Office, announced by the Health Minister Simin Harris, will report to the Department of Justice and Equality. The minister announced the creation of the new organisation whilst speaking at a patient safety conference in Dublin. He further commented that the organisation will “lead a program of significant patient safety measures”, and should revolutionise the way in which medical negligence claims are made in Ireland.

In order to achieve its goals, the office will establish a patient advocacy service for patients across Ireland. It will work to create a new patient advisory council and implement the use of a patient safety surveillance system. It will also review the existing procedures for claiming medical negligence compensation and their efficacy in the Irish legal system.

This review was organised to help progress the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill. This proposes to allow patients and their families to disclose adverse medical events they have endured while in the care of medical professionals in Ireland. Not all Irish hospitals have adopted the guidelines released by the HSE in 2013 regarding open disclosure, and as such legal cases can vary significantly depending on which hospital the claim is made against.

It has been the longtime goal of many patient rights organisations to lobbying successive Ministers for Health for such a review. They claimed that – without that statutory duty of candour – any new medical negligence claims are impossible. Leo Varadkar, former Minister for Health, has come under heavy criticism from these groups for failing to enforce open disclosure in 2015’s Civil Liberty (Amendment) Bill.

The Health Information and Patient Safety Bill also proposes to end the unauthorised disclosure of health information, and to extend the Health Information and Quality Authority’s (HIQA) hold over private healthcare providers. They further want to see novel technologies used to record and exchange health data.  However, until the EU revises its data protection regulations, none of these innovations are likely to be enforced.

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