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Family Claim Compensation for a Fatal Post-Surgical Infection

The family of Susan McGee, who died from sepsis after undergoing a hernia operation, are claiming compensation for a fatal post-surgical infection.

Susan McGee (52) from Rush in County Dublin attended the Hermitage Medical Clinic on 13th July 2013 for elective hernia surgery. The surgery appeared to go well, and Susan was discharged on 16th July to be cared for by one of her two children – Melissa Barry.

On the following day, Susan complained of feeling unwell and having abdominal pain. Melissa took her back to the Hermitage Medical Clinic, where she was readmitted for observation. However, Susan´s condition deteriorated over the next few days and, on 22nd July, a CT scan revealed an obstruction in her small bowel.

Susan underwent an operation to clear the blockage, but her condition continued to deteriorate and she was transferred to the Beaumont Hospital on 23rd July. Susan died the following day from multiple organ failure brought on by sepsis that had been triggered by a C.difficle infection.

The initial inquest into Susan´s death in February 2015 had to be adjourned as only the consultants in charge of Susan´s care had given statements, and there was a risk that the evidence given by the nursing staff at the Hermitage Medical Clinic may be contradicted by that forwarded by Melissa Barry.

When the rescheduled inquest was held in June 2015, Dublin City Coroner´s Court heard that there had been a failure by nursing staff at the Hermitage Medical Clinic to report brown faecal fluid draining from Susan´s nasogastric tube, and that Susan´s vital signs had not been recorded between 8:00am and 6:00pm on Sunday 21st July – three days before she died.

The inquest also heard that there was only one resident medical officer on duty over the weekend of 20th/21st July – Dr Lachman Pahwani. Dr Pahwani testified that he had tried to spend as much time with Susan as possible over the weekend, but Susan was one of 81 patients that were staying at the medical facility at the time.

A verdict of death due to medical misadventure was recorded and, after the inquest hearing, Susan´s family sought legal advice before claiming compensation for a fatal post-surgical infection, the failure to identify the infection in an appropriate timescale and the loss of a loved one due to medical negligence. According to the family´s solicitor, a summons has now been issued and served on the Hermitage Medical Clinic.