The case of a woman who suffered a wrongful death due to a missed diagnosis of organ failure will be brought to the courts as her family seeks compensation.
In July 2013, Susan McGee, aged fifty-two was admitted to the Hermitage Medical Clinic for a routine operation to treat a hernia. The surgery was initially deemed successful and Susan was discharged from hospital a few days later. Susan, originally from Rush, Co. Dublin, left hospital to return to the care of one of her two children.
The day after she was discharged with a clean bill of health, Susan began to experience pains in her abdomen and was generally feeling unwell. Concerned for her mother’s wellbeing, her daughter brought her back to the Hermitage. Susan was admitted for observation by medical staff. A CAT scan conducted shortly after she was admitted. The results of the scan revealed that Susan had a small mass in her bowel.
Susan immediately underwent emergency surgery to remove the mass. In spite of this treatment, Susan’s condition continued to deteriorate rapidly. The next day, she was transferred to an intensive care unit in Beaumont Hospital for specialist treatment. In spite of the care that she received, she died a day later from multiple organ failure and sepsis. Later investigation revealed that the sepsis was a result of a Clostridium difficile infection.
In June 2015, an inquest was carried out into Susan’s death by independent medical professionals. The Dublin City Coroner’s Court heard evidence of many errors made in Susan’s treatment and care, including a failure by medical staff to act on brown faecal fluid that was emerging from Susan’s nasogastric tube. The staff at the hospital also neglected to record Susan’s vital signs between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm just three days before she died.
Additional evidence as given that, on the 20th and 21st July, there was only one resident medical officer on duty who had eighty-one patients under his care at the time. The medical officer, Dr Lachman Pahwani, testified that he had tried to devote as much time as possible to Susan, as he knew of her weak condition, but that he was vastly overstretched by the number of patients in his care.
Susan’s family have since sought legal counsel, and are making a claim for her wrongful death due to medical misadventure, as this was the verdict delivered by the inquest.