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Undiagnosed Haemorrhage Case Settled in High Court

The High Court of Dublin has awarded a settlement of compensation to a woman whose undiagnosed cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage left her severely brain damaged.

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

The CT scan results failed to reveal anything wrong with Paula. However, Paula’s symptoms continued and worsened. Concerned, doctors carried out a second scan a few days later which revealed a large intra-cerebral bleed on the left side of Paula’s brain. She was then transferred to Beaumont Hospital to receive specialist treatment.

Paula underwent further medical examination by doctors at Beaumont Hospital. Paula’s injury was diagnosed as an intra-cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage. However, the delay in the diagnosis at Naas Hospital meant that Paula suffered extreme brain damage. She is now reliant on 24 hour care by her family and carers.

Paula’s husband, Michael, sought legal counsel and on his wife’s behalf made a claim for compensation for an undiagnosed intra-cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage. He alleged that the delay in diagnosing his wife’s injuries would have been avoided had the original scan resulted in a correct diagnosis of her condition.

The HSE disputed part of the claim for medical negligence, saying that they had adequately assessed Paula’s injury and the medical staff did the best that they could in the circumstances. However, they admitted that the diagnosis was not made within an adequate timeframe, and that her injuries were a result of the delay.

A €2.7 million settlement of compensation was negotiated between the parties. However, as Paula was not able to represent herself and only made the claim through her husband, the case needed to be heard in the High Court. Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard the details of the case before approving the settlement. Judge Cross also congratulated Paula’s husband on the care he had given his wife over the past decade.

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