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HSE Apologise for Negligent Medical Care in Dehydration Death Case

The High Court has heard an apology from the Health Service Executive (HSE) regarding the negligent medical care which led to a woman dying in hospital from dehydration.

In January 2010, Eileen Brady (65) from Crosskeys, County Cavan, attended her family GP suffering from mouth ulcers. She was referred to Cavan General Hospital, where her condition was diagnosed as being attributable to poor fluid intake, and Eileen was admitted into the hospital to be treated for dehydration.

Eileen – a mother of five – was at the time undergoing chemotherapy at a Dublin hospital and, because of the treatment she was receiving for her stomach cancer, her veins collapsed and the dehydration treatment was ineffective. However, whereas alternative procedures were available to treat Eileen, a “catalogue of errors” then followed at the hospital which resulted in her death the next day from multiple organ failure.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court heard medical experts testifying that Eileen´s dehydration could have been reversed if her charts had been examined properly, if senior doctors had been consulted about Eileen´s health or if anybody had spoken with the Dublin hospital that was providing Eileen with her chemotherapy treatment.

Judge Irvine was also told that Martin Brady – Eileen´s son – had made a claim for compensation against Cavan General Hospital and the HSE; alleging that the family had suffered mental distress after his mother´s death due to negligent medical care. The claim, Judge Irvine was informed, had been settled for an undisclosed amount – subject to a public apology.

A solicitor representing Cavan General Hospital and the HSE then read out a statement in which the two parties apologised for the negligent medical care which resulted in Eileen´s death, and the subsequent grief, hurt and stress that had been suffered by her immediate family and friends.

Another of Eileen´s sons – Aidan Brady – responded on behalf of the family. He said he hoped that both Cavan General Hospital and the HSE had learned from “the grave mistakes” made in this case “and that no other family would have to go through the trauma and distress that we have suffered”.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine extended her personal sympathy to Eileen´s family before closing the hearing.