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.