Thursday , July 18 2024

Man Settles Claim for Slip on Stairs of Council Property

A man from Cork has settled his claim for a slip on stairs of a council property one day into a hearing to determine liability at the High Court.

William Busteed (59) from Cork City was departing his council-owned apartment to catch a flight to Majorca on 9th May 2009, when he slipped on a wet step of the complex´s stairway and fell down to the bottom of the stairs – sustaining injuries to his face and left shoulder, and fracturing his left arm.

William was taken to the Cork University Hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries; and, after seeking legal advice, he made a claim for a slip on the stairs of council property against Cork City Council.

William claimed in his legal action that a smoke alarm in the six-unit complex would go off twice a week and that this caused vents above the stairwell to open and allow the rain in. The vents could only be closed by a council workman, and William claimed to have informed Cork City Council about the hazard, but nothing had been done about it.

Cork City Council contested the claim for a slip on stairs of a council property. It produced evidence that William´s complaints had been dealt with within 48 hours of them being made, and claimed that the reason he fell in the stairwell was because he was intoxicated and in a hurry to get to the airport. The council also produced William´s medical report from when he attended Cork University Hospital which, the council claimed, showed a high level of alcohol in his blood.

William denied that he had been drinking excessively, and told Mr Justice Daniel Herbert at the High Court that on the day of the accident he had drunk no more than two small bottles of beer. He explained to the judge that he was aware airlines would not allow passengers to fly in an intoxicated condition and would not put himself into that position.

William´s claim for a slip on the stairs of a council property was adjourned until the following day but, before the hearing could restart, Judge Herbert was informed that a negotiated settlement of William´s claim had been agreed and that the case could be struck out.

IHCA Claims Health Service Funding Crisis Increasing Risk of Hospital Deaths

A warning that the health service funding crisis is increasing the risk of hospital deaths has been made by the President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association at its annual conference in Cork.

Dr Gerard Crotty was addressing delegates at the Irish Hospital Consultants Association AGM when he said that patients were almost certainly dying unnecessarily in Irish hospitals while waiting for a hospital bed. He used figures from international studies to highlight a 30 percent increase in hospital deaths when patients are left waiting on trolleys after being admitted to hospital.

Dr Crotty told delegates that he feared what will happen during the winter months; pointing out that there had been a substantial decline in day case patients while hospital beds were being allocated to emergency cases. He said that years of “easy cost-saving measures” was the cause of the health service funding crisis, and that the health service in Ireland was now showing the strain.

Referring to the health service as being in “intensive care”, Dr Crotty forecast that there would be a patient safety crisis unless the Government significantly increased funding for frontline health services. He called for a realistic budget – rather than a token gesture by the Government – in order to deliver safe, high quality care to patients without the unacceptable delays which are currently being experienced.

During his speech, Dr Crotty also touched upon the acknowledgement by Health Minister Leo Varadkar that the 30 percent pay cut for new entrant consultants had been a mistake. Dr Cotty claimed that it had done nothing to alleviate the health service funding crisis and that it had reduced the attractiveness of senior medical positions. He called upon the Health Minister to completely reverse the 30 percent pay cut to halt the flow of newly graduating doctors taking positions overseas.

Delegates at the conference also heard their General Secretary – Martin Varley – announce that a number of consultants had taken legal action against the Department of Health to recover the pay rises they were promised in 2008. Under the agreements – Mr Varley told delegates – consultants were due pay rises from €175,000 to €240,000, but the increases failed to materialise when the economic crisis developed and the Department of Health prioritised other areas of the health service.

Settlement of Child´s Cerebral Palsy Claim for Compensation Approved at the High Court

The settlement of a child´s cerebral palsy claim for compensation has been approved at the High Court despite questions over liability.

Emma O´Donnell was born at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin on 9th June 1998. Six hours after her suction birth, Emma turned blue and started to have seizures. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and now requires full-time care due an intellectual disability and behavioural problems,

Emma (now 16 years of age) has been cared for by her father – James Forde from Aklow in County Wicklow – since her mother was diagnosed with a significant bi-polar condition and institutionalised in 2007. James gave up his job to look after his daughter and has been her full-time carer ever since.

James made a child´s cerebral palsy claim for compensation on his daughter´s behalf, but encountered difficulties finding a link between the treatment Emma had received at the National Maternity Hospital before and after her birth, and the cerebral palsy.

Solicitors working on Emma´s behalf attempted to recover €9 million in compensation from the hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE); but a value of €6 million was placed on the claim by the HSE – and only then if full proof of negligence could be established.

Eventually a compromise was agreed without admission of liability in which the child´s cerebral palsy claim for compensation would be settled for €3 million subject to the approval of a judge.

Consequently, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns at the High Court in Dublin heard the tragic case of Emma´s birth and her life to date. He was told that the compensation claim had been brought so late in Emma´s life due to the difficulty of establishing liability and that the hospital had provided a letter of consent to settle the claim for €3 million.

Having reviewed the case, Judge Kearns agreed with Emma´s solicitors that it would be difficult to establish full proof of negligence if the case went to a full hearing, and he approved the settlement of the child´s cerebral palsy claim for compensation – describing the care that had been provided by James for Emma as “heroic”.

Injury Claim for Bin Truck Accident Settled for almost €5 Million

A judge has ruled that an injury claim for a bin truck accident should be settled for €4,885,888 after a hearing at the High Court.

Padraig Hearns was enjoying a night out in Dublin on 23rd April 2007 when he was assaulted in Sycamore Street in the city´s Temple Bar area and was subsequently run over by a Dublin City Council bin truck, as he lay dazed and confused in the road.

Due to the bin truck running over him, Padraig (39) from Hollywood in County Wicklow sustained a fractured skull and severe arm and injuries. He was put into an induced coma on arrival at hospital, where he stayed for several months recovering from his injuries.

Due to the brain injury sustained when the bin truck ran over him, Padraig – a former air steward for British Airways – will never be able to work again or live an independent life. He currently lives at home where he is cared for by his parents and siblings.

Padraig´s parents made an injury claim for a bin truck accident against Dublin City Council, but the local authority denied their responsibility for Padraig´s injuries – arguing that it was not the fault of the bin truck operators that Padraig had been lying in the street at the time of the accident.

The claim went to the High Court, where it was heard before Mr Justice Michael Peart. The judge found in Padraig´s favour after being told that Dublin City Council had broken its own by-laws by collecting commercial waste in Temple Bar between the hours of 12:00pm and 6:00pm.

The judge noted “It makes complete sense from a public safety point of view that these large refuse trucks would not be permitted to try and negotiate their way through an area such as the narrow and crowded streets of Temple Bar when so many people are present”.

Judge Peart added that the operators of the bin truck had a duty of care to have one operator outside of the truck as it moved on in order to ensure that it was safe to do so. He considered that Dublin City Council´s bin truck operators had broken that duty of care by failing to notice Padraig lying in the path of the vehicle.

The judge awarded Padraig €4,885,888 in settlement of his injury claim for a bin truck accident which included €350,000 for past and present pain and suffering, €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date and €3,485,000 for care costs in the future. He also awarded costs against Dublin City Council.

Personal Injury Claim for Adverse Reaction to Medication Given Green Light

A woman´s personal injury claim for an adverse reaction to medication has been given the green light to be heard in the High Court later this year.

Lorna Savage from Cobh in County Cork was granted permission to pursue her personal injury claim for an adverse reaction to medication after a High Court hearing in which the pharmaceuticals company – Pfizer – had applied for the case to be struck out on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her claim.

Mr Justice George Birmingham at the High Court dismissed the application after hearing how Lorna (now 43 years of age) had started taking the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 to treat vasculitis – a condition in which the blood vessels are damaged and cause an irritable rash.

Judge Birmingham was told that within a few years of taking the medication, Lorna had developed Avascular Necrosis – a rare but established side effect of Deltacortril, which interrupts the passage of blood to the bones, causing the bone tissue to die and the bone collapse.

By 2001 – at the age of 31 – Lorna had to have both knees and a hip joint replaced, and her condition has deteriorated to such an extent that she is now confined to a wheelchair and has to take morphine to manage the ongoing pain she suffers.

After seeking legal advice, Lorna made a personal injury claim for an adverse reaction to medication against the estate of GP Dr. Michael Madigan and her consultant Dr. MG Molloy – who both prescribed the medication to her – and Pfizer, the manufacturer of the steroid.

In her action against the two doctors, Lorna alleged that they had both acted negligently by prescribing the medication for her, failing to investigate her symptoms thoroughly, and failing to identify that she was developing Avascular Necrosis.

Lorna also claimed that Pfizer had failed to provide adequate warning in the literature accompanying the Deltacortril tablets that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and that there was no warning advising against the drinking of alcohol while taking the tablets.

The estate of Dr Madigan (who died in 1999), the HSE (of behalf of Dr Molloy who was employed by Cork University Hospital) and Pfizer each deny their liability for Lorna´s adverse reaction and, in a pretrial motion, lawyers representing Pfizer attempted to get Lorna´s personal injury claim for an adverse reaction to medication thrown out on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her claim to court.

However, Mr Justice George Birmingham dismissed the application – finding that the time that had elapsed was excusable due to Lorna having recently undergone multiple surgeries after which she had been unable to brief her solicitors. The judge said that the case would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

Welfare Benefits to be Deducted from Compensation Settlements in Ireland

New laws are being applied from tomorrow (1st August) that will see certain welfare benefits deducted from compensation settlements in Ireland.

The Department of Social Protection´s “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” comes into force tomorrow following the passage of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act last year. The scheme replaces the current practice of deducting welfare benefits from calculated loss of earnings and operates in a similar way to the Compensation Recovery Unit in the UK.

From 1st August a compensator – usually the insurance company of the negligent party – will be required to apply for a statement of recoverable benefits from the Department of Social Protection and will then reimburse the Department for benefits that the plaintiff has received over the previous five years that are directly related to the injury or accident for which their claim was made.

Copies of the statement will also be sent to the plaintiff´s solicitor (and the Injuries Board where applicable) detailing deductions to be made from compensation settlements in Ireland for receipt of the following welfare benefits:

  • Injury Benefit
  • Illness Benefit
  • Partial Capacity Benefit
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension

The deduction of welfare payments from compensation settlements in Ireland is not the responsibility of the plaintiff, nor does the receipt of welfare benefits exclude a plaintiff from claiming injury compensation due to somebody else´s negligence. The only likely noticeable difference for plaintiffs is that the payment of compensation settlements in Ireland will take longer to process (up to four weeks).

An appeals procedure exists if a plaintiff contests the amount of welfare payments being recovered, and it is important that plaintiffs examine their copy of the benefits statement to ensure that it is accurate, and that deductions made from compensation settlements are relevant only to the welfare benefits they have received in respect of their injury.

In the event that plaintiffs are unsure about the assessment of their injury compensation claim – and the welfare payments deducted from it – it is recommended that professional legal advice be sought from a solicitor.

Compensation Claim for Delayed Operation that Resulted in Death of Wife Resolved after High Court Hearing

A widower´s compensation claim for a delayed operation that resulted in the death of his wife has been resolved at the High Court after a settlement of €165,000 was approved.

Helen Malone from Carlow Town died at St Luke´s General Hospital in Kilkenny on 12th January 2006 four days after she had undergone surgery for a bowel problem. The cause of death was recorded as systemic sepsis and multiple organ failure due to a bowel failure, and a subsequent investigation into her death determined that, had Helen undergone the operation earlier, there was a strong likelihood that she would have survived.

Helen´s widower – Patrick – made a claim for a delayed operation that resulted in the death of his wife against consultant doctor George Nessim and the HSE on the grounds that the avoidable loss of his wife had caused great mental distress to himself and Helen´s six adult children.

Despite the Irish Medical Council finding Dr. Nessim guilty on four charges of professional misconduct, the HSE denied its liability for Helen´s death and court proceedings were issued. It was only as the scheduled date of the court hearing drew closer that the HSE finally agreed to settle Patrick´s claim, but due to the nature of Helen´s death, the €165,000 settlement of compensation for a delayed operation first had to be approved by a judge.

After being postponed on five separate occasions, the circumstances of Helen´s wrongful death were related to Mr Justice Ryan at the High Court. Judge Ryan and members of the Malone family heard an apology read to them on behalf of the HSE in which the Executive apologised for the failings in treatment and care that were afforded to Helen. The HSE also acknowledged that the treatment provided for Helen did not meet the appropriate standard of care, which led to a series of events “giving rise to her untimely death”.

Judge Ryan commended the two parties for settling a “difficult, painful and tragic case” and, noting that the settlement of compensation for a delayed operation that resulted in a death did not include aggravated damages, he approved the €165,000 settlement.

Compensation for Death of Passenger in Fatal Car Accident Approved in Court

A family from County Monaghan has been in court to hear the settlement of compensation for the death of a passenger in a fatal car accident approved by a judge.

The widowed husband of Rose Martin (57) of Carrickakelly in County Monaghan and members of the couple´s family made their claim for compensation after the events of New Year´s Eve in 2006, when a car driven by Jason Kearney of Dundalk, County Louth, crashed head-on into the Martin´s car.

William Martin´s leg was broken in the accident, while the couple´s 28-year-old son – David – had to undergo emergency surgery for an abdominal injury at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. Rose suffered devastating internal injuries in the accident, and died in hospital eleven days later.

On behalf of the family, William Martin claimed compensation for the death of a passenger in a fatal car accident, and for the injuries that both he and his son had sustained. In his action against Kearney, William alleged that Kearney had been driving too fast for the road conditions and prevailing weather.

Liability was acknowledged by the negligent driver´s insurance company and a compensation settlement of €650,000 was negotiated for Rose´s wrongful death and the physical and psychological injuries sustained by the other family members.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard about the circumstances of the accident, how David Martin suffers from Down Syndrome and that Rose had been his primary carer throughout his life. The judge was also told about the shock that William Martin had suffered on learning that his wife was dying from her injuries.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of compensation for the death of a passenger in a fatal car accident, and extended her sympathy to the family.

Lack of Periodic Payments Frustrates Judge in Obstetrician Negligence Claim

A High Court judge displayed her frustration at the failure of Ministers to introduce periodic payments when approving a second interim payment of compensation in part-settlement of an obstetrician negligence claim.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine has many times called for legislation to be passed so that periodic payments can be awarded to claimants with catastrophic life-long injuries and, at the High Court in Dublin, the judge once again displayed her frustration at not being able to approve a structured settlement in the case of Luke Miggin – an eight-year-old boy who suffered severe brain damage prior to his birth due to the negligence of his mother´s consultant obstetrician.

Luke was born at the Mullingar General Hospital on 26th February 2006 after consultant obstetrician Michael Gannon had failed to act on CTG traces taken throughout the day which showed a deceleration of the foetal heart rate. Luke´s delivery was delayed several hours longer than would reasonably be expected, and when he was born needed resuscitation and was transferred to the special care baby unit.

Because he was starved of oxygen in the womb, Luke now suffers from cerebral palsy, is unable to walk and requires around-the-clock attention.

Through his mother – Emily Miggin of Athboy, County Meath – Luke made an obstetrician negligence claim for compensation, and in 2010 Dr Gannon and the Health Service Executive admitted liability. In January 2011, an interim settlement of compensation amounting to €1.35 million was approved by Mr Justice John Quirke, and Luke´s obstetrician negligence claim adjourned for three years to allow time for a periodic payment system to be introduced.

However, with no such structured compensation system yet in place, Emily Miggin returned to the High Court to have a second interim payment of compensation approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. Judge Irvine commended Emily for her patience and commented that ongoing litigation prevents families such as the Miggins from getting on with their lives. She apologised for her frustration at not being able to approve a structure settlement and criticised successive Ministers of Justice for failing to deliver on their promises of a periodic payment system.

Judge Irvine then approved the €580,000 interim settlement of compensation and adjourned Luke´s obstetrician negligence claim for a further three years, when the family will have to have Luke´s future needs re-assessed and return to court once again.

Judge Grants Permission for Hospital Wrongful Death Claim to Proceed

A High Court judge has granted permission for a widower to proceed with a hospital wrongful death claim for compensation after the HSE used the Statute of Limitations to contest its legality.

Dolores Hewitt from Navan in County Meath had been on a monitoring regime at Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan after making a full recovery from breast cancer in 2001. In February 2007, an ultrasound examination discovered two cancerous lesions on her liver, but no immediate action was taken.

Some five months later, a chance meeting between Dolores and her surgeon led to further scans being performed. The second series of scans showed further lesions on her liver, and Dolores started a new course of treatment but unfortunately died in June 2010.

In January 2012, Dolores´ widowed husband – Joseph Hewitt – made a compensation claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) for Our Lady´s Hospital failing to act on the scan results in February 2007. In his action he claimed that that Our Lady´s Hospital had been negligent by not responding to the early indicators of cancer. He also claimed compensation for Dolores´ “wrongful death”.

The HSE contested the hospital wrongful death claim on the grounds that the alleged failure to act occurred in 2007, and therefore a claim made in 2012 was outside of the two years Statute of Limitations. The HSE applied for the case to be dismissed, but Joseph opposed the application and the case went before Ms Justice Marie Baker at the High Court.

In the High Court, Judge Baker said that the HSE was correct that Joseph was outside the Statute of Limitations to claim compensation for the hospital´s failure to act in respect of the alleged negligence that occurred in 2007, but was within the allowed time period to make a hospital wrongful death claim for compensation, as the claim had been initiated nineteen months after Dolores had died.

Boy Overcome by Slurry Pit Fumes Dies in Hospital

A young boy who was overcome by slurry pit fumes on a farm in County Antrim has died in hospital after emergency services failed to revive him.

Robert Christie (8) from Donloy in County Antrim is believed to have been overcome by slurry pit fumes as he helped his father mix slurry on a neighbour´s farm. Both he and his father – Bertie Christie – were found on Saturday afternoon by a postman delivering mail to the address, and an ambulance was called immediately.

Robert was airlifted to Belfast´s Royal Victoria Hospital but doctors were unable to save his life, while Bertie Christie was taken by ambulance to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, where his condition remains in critical condition.

On request of the family, the police have not released details of how Robert was exposed to the deadly slurry pit fumes, but an explanation of how such deadly accident can occur was offered by the Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union, Barclay Bell.

Mr Bell explained that slurry pits at this time of the year often contain the waste materials of animals that have been kept indoors over the winter. The slurry is used as a fertiliser on farms, but before being able to use it, it has to be agitated so that it can be spread.

However, while the slurry has been resting since the winter a lethal combination of gasses develops – most noticeably hydrogen sulphide – and during the agitation process, the fumes of these lethal gases are released.

It is difficult to know when the lethal fumes have dispersed because they have no smell and, as the gasses which produce the fumes are heavier than air, they tend to stay low to the ground – potentially explaining how Robert suffered a fatal injury when being overcome by the slurry pit fumes and his father did not.

Northern Ireland´s Health and Safety Executive are already investigating the accident and the organization´s Chief Executive -Keith Morrison – said: “Incidents like this show starkly the dangers which our farming communities face and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragic accident”.

Woman Deaf Due to Medical Negligence has Compensation Settlement Approved in Court

An 18-year-old woman, who is allegedly deaf due to medical negligence, has had a €5 million settlement of compensation approved at the High Court.

Laura Kavanagh from Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow contracted meningitis when she was thirteen months old, and an alleged failure by her family GPs to attend her in good time resulted in Laura permanently losing her hearing.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard how Laura´s mother – Simone – had telephoned Dr Frank Malone´s surgery in Greystones in County Wicklow on 29th January 1998 to say that Laura had become ill with a high temperature, was lethargic and had severe fatigue.

When Laura´s condition worsened, Simone Kavanagh rang the surgery again and spoke with Dr Malone´s partner – Dr Paul Crean. Dr Crean said he would make a house call after surgery and – 3½ hours later – he examined Laura and diagnosed a bowel infection.

The following day, Simone Kavanagh called the surgery again to request another visit as her daughter was no better. She was told that it would be at least three hours before a doctor could attend Laura, but when Laura showed signs of improvement, Simone cancelled the house call.

However, Laura´s condition deteriorated once again and, on 31st January 1998, an on-call doctor visited the Kavanagh´s home and immediately admitted Laura to hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe meningitis.

The court heard that Laura lost her hearing due to the illness and now communicates through sign language and some lip reading, but has a moderate intellectual disability.

Through her mother Laura made a compensation claim for being deaf due to medical negligence, alleging that there had been a failure to ensure proper care and continuity of care and a failure to attend Laura in good time.

It was further alleged there had been a failure by Dr Crean to diagnose meningitis or alternatively an alleged failure to attach due weight or concern to Laura´s condition and symptoms.

The claim for being deaf due to medical negligence was denied by the two doctors but, as Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told, and a settlement of €5 million compensation had been agreed without admission of liability.

The judge approved the settlement, commenting that money would never give Laura the life she was meant to have.

Family to Receive Wrongful Death Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of Cancer

A bereaved family is to receive €62,500 wrongful death compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer after an apology was read out at the High Court.

The family of thirty-one year old Sharon McEneaney – who died from a cancerous tumour in her abdomen in April 2009 – was assembled in the High Court earlier this week to hear an apology read to them by a representative of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, were Sharon first went in October 2007 complaining of a pain in her abdomen.

The court heard how Dr Etop Samson Akpan failed to consider the possibility of a tumour, and it was not until June 2008 – after the intervention of former TD Dr Rory O´Hanlon – that a biopsy was conducted which revealed the presence of cancer. By then the cancer had advanced beyond the stage at which it could be treated, and Sharon died ten months later.

An investigation into Sharon´s death conducted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) resulted in thirty-eight separate recommendations being made to prevent the misdiagnosis of cancer happening again at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, while a hearing of the Medical Council of Ireland´s Fitness to Practise Committee found Dr Akpan guilty of a poor professional performance in January 2012.

At the High Court, Margaret Swords – the General Manager of the Louth & Meath Hospital Group – read an apology to Sharon´s family, admitting that the hospital had failed Sharon and that Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was making progress in implementing the changes recommended by the HSE´s report. The court also heard that a settlement of wrongful death compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer had been agreed amounting to €62,500.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that the settlement of wrongful death compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer will be divided between Sharon´s mother – June McEneany from Carrickmacross in County Monaghan – and Sharon´s four siblings after €10,000 has been set aside to cover funeral expenses and other costs related to Sharon´s death.

The judge commended the McEneaney family for their “courage and tenacity” through the inquest into Sharon´s death and while ensuring the changes at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital were implemented. “You have shown marvellous fortitude in the face of such a loss,” she commented before closing the hearing.

High Court Approves Compensation for Critical Injuries due to Bus Accident

A €9 million settlement of compensation for critical injuries due to a bus accident has been approved in the High Court in favour of a Spanish student.

On February 4th 2009, twelve-year-old Carlos Tesch was walking along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, with some fellow Spanish students when a number of youths, who had previously been verbally abusive to them, started to approach the group.

Carlos tried to avoid the older boys by running out into the street; but, as he did so, he was struck by a bus coming up the street from behind him. Carlos suffered catastrophic head injuries in the accident – fracturing the base of his skull, and leaving him unable to talk or walk more than a few steps without help.

Carlos´ father – Hans Tesch – gave up his managerial position to care for his son, and has twice taken him to China for stem cell treatment. Despite his severe disabilities, Carlos still manages to attend the Institute of Further Education in his home town of Bray, County Wicklow, during school hours.

Through his father Carlos claimed compensation for critical injuries due to a bus accident against the operators of the Bray service – Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus denied their liability for Carlos´ catastrophic injuries, arguing that it was unreasonable for the driver of the bus to predict when a child would run out into the road.

Last year the claim proceeded to the High Court, where Dublin Bus was found to be 70 percent liable for Carlos´ injuries after it was admitted that the bus driver had been distracted by a passenger just before Carlos ran out from the pavement. Dublin Bus appealed the High Court decision, but the verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court and the claim returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

This week at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that a €9 million settlement of compensation for critical injuries due to a bus accident had been agreed and, after being told the circumstances of Carlos´ terrible accident – and the care his father had provided in the five years since – Judge Irvine said that her experience of cases such as this made her aware of the sacrifices that parents make when their children are badly injured.

The judge then closed the hearing after approving the settlement.

Dental Complaints Resolution Service Resolves Woman´s Claim for Negligent Dentistry

The Dental Complaints Resolution Service has successfully resolved a woman´s claim for negligent dentistry and secured her €40,000 compensation.

The woman – only identified as living in the east of the country – was featured in the Dental Complaints Resolution Service Annual Report as one of 130 grievances the service received from dental patients in Ireland.

According to the report, the woman had attended her dentist twice a year since 1993 and believed that her teeth were in good health. However, when she visited a cosmetic dentist last year, the woman was told that her gums were not in a good state and she would need remedial work before implants could be fitted.

The woman had to undergo specialist treatment from a periodontist to reverse the damage to her gums – which was both expensive and painful – and she subsequently wrote a letter of complaint to her regular dentist which went unanswered.

The patient then contacted the Dental Complaints Resolution Service, who mediated on her behalf to secure a compensation settlement of €40,000 to resolve her claim for negligent dentistry. However, the compensation settlement only covered a refund of the money she had paid for dental treatment over the past ten years, the cost treatment to her gums and the dental implants, and an amount to pay for check-ups over the next ten years.

Although the complaint to the Dental Complaints Resolution Service and claim for negligent dentistry was resolved satisfactorily, the settlement failed to take into account the pain and suffering the woman had experienced during the remedial treatment, and the emotional trauma that accompanied ongoing and extensive treatment.

If you believe that you have been the victim of negligent dentistry, it is always in your best interests to discuss the nature of your injury with a medical negligence solicitor before accepting any other resolution to your potential claim for injury compensation.

Court Approves Settlement of Missed Diagnosis Compensation for Special Athlete

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of missed diagnosis compensation for an athlete who had been hoping to compete in the Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, and every two years a Special Olympics World Games takes place which attracts tens of thousands of competitors from all over the world.

In May 2009, Amy Rose McGowan from Trim in County Meath was in training for the Special Olympics that were to take place in Athens in the summer of 2011. Unfortunately, while competing in a 50 metre sprint race, Amy Rose fell and hurt her knee.

She was taken to Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan, County Meath, where doctors diagnosed a soft tissue injury and strapped her knee for support. However, a few months later Amy Rose attended her GP complaining of a pain in her knee.

It was only then that a depressed fracture was discovered – too late for corrective intervention or an operation to break and reset the bone – and due to the oversight of the doctors at Our Lady´s Hospital, it is likely that Amy Rose will need knee replacements in the future.

Because of her intellectual disability, Amy Rose made a claim for missed diagnosis compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE) through her mother – Collette McGowan. After an investigation, the HSE acknowledged that a mistake had been made and admitted liability for Amy Roses´ knee injury.

A settlement of missed diagnosis compensation amounting to €142,000 was agreed between the two parties; but, as the claim had been made on behalf of Amy Rose because of her intellectual disability, the settlement had to be approved in court.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Michael Peart was told of how Amy Rose had previously won 34 medals and 10 trophies in athletics and swimming before her accident. Approving the settlement the judge said that he was “very impressed and full of admiration” for Amy Rose and that it was a pity her athletics career had been cut short.

Roofer´s Fall from Height Injury Compensation Approved at High Court Hearing

The High Court has approved the settlement of a roofer´s fall from height injury compensation in favour of a man who suffered life-changing brain damage due to the accident.

On 18th July 2012, Paul O’Brien (50) from Glenealy in County Wicklow was working on the roof of a house in Bray on the first day of a roofing contract – his first paid employment since the construction industry went into decline in 2008.

When it started to rain, Paul went to descend from the roof of the house using a ladder that had been propped up against the property to provide access to the roof. As he attempted to get onto the ladder, it slipped on the timber decking it had been placed upon, and Paul crashed to the ground.

Paul suffered a significant head trauma in the accident which manifested into permanent brain damage, and Paul now has limited short-term memory which will prevent him from ever working again.

Through his wife – Sandra – Paul made a compensation claim for a roofer´s fall from height against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin – claiming that Lyons failed to provide a safe environment in which to work or suitable scaffolding to enable him to conduct his work safely.

It was also alleged that the ladder that had been provided was unfit for the purpose of safely descending from the roof, that it had not been fastened to the property, and that the combination of an unsuitable ladder and the wet timber decking on which it had been placed resulted in a hazardous means of exit from the roof.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Sandra O´Brien had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband; and that a settlement of roofer´s fall from height injury compensation had been agreed out-of-court amounting to €1.5 million.

Judge Irvine approved Paul´s settlement, stating that it was a good one when taking into consideration that Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor had the case gone to court. She then closed the hearing, saying that she sympathised with the position of the O’Brien family.

Interim Settlement of Compensation for Cerebral Palsy due to a Delayed Delivery Approved in Court

The High Court has approved an interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery in favour of a teenage girl who delayed delivery resulted in her sustaining life-long injuries.

Mary Malee was born by emergency Caesarean section at the Mayo General Hospital on October 11th 1999, after there had been a delay in finding a consultant gynaecologist to assist with the delivery. As a result of the hospital´s alleged negligence, Mary was born with cerebral palsy and is now confined to a wheelchair.

Through her mother – Maura Malee of Swinford, County Mayo – Mary made a compensation claim for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery against the hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that there had been a failure to intervene and conduct a Caesarean section in a timely manner, and a failure to ensure the presence of a paediatrician when it was known that the foetus was suffering distress and likely to need resuscitation.

Mayo General Hospital and the HSE both denied their liability for Mary´s birth injuries; but, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery had been agreed amounting to €1.5 million, with a further assessment to be conducted within two years.

The judge also heard that Mary was Maura Malee´s fourth child, and that Maura had attended the consultant gynaecologist who had delivered her three previous children several days before Mary was born. The gynaecologist had told Maura that he would not be able to attend her at Mary´s delivery as he was about to start treatment for cancer, but would make arrangements for her to be transferred to the care of another consultant.

Maura saw her GP the following day and was told to go to hospital immediately as she was exhibiting symptoms of pre-eclampsia. She was transferred to the labour ward and underwent a CTG shortly before 6.00am which showed a series of decelerations and a consultant was called. When he arrived at shortly before 7.00am, there was an alleged failure to communicate the severity of Maura´s condition and the Caesarean operation did not take place until after 7.20am. .

In court, Mary´s legal representatives stated that had it been possible to commence the birth earlier Mary´s injuries could have been avoided and, after a statement had been read out by Mary (14) in which she commented “It would have been appreciated had the HSE/Mayo General Hospital said they were sorry”, Judge Irvine approved the interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery and adjourned the hearing.

Man to Receive Compensation for Injuries Caused by Excessive Force at Birth

A man from South Wales is to receive compensation for injuries caused by excessive force at his birth which left him with a permanently paralysed left arm.

Jamie Lewis from Blackwood, Caerphilly, was delivered at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport in 1991 suffering from nerve damage in his neck after the delivery team at his birth had used excessive force to free him when he became trapped in the birth canal.

Suffering injuries similar to brachial plexus damage, Jamie grew up unable to use his left arm and hand and was unable to pursue the activities of his peers which made him a target for bullying and hindered his social development.

When Jamie was four years of age, his mother – Cheryl Lewis-Thomas – attempted to make a claim for injuries caused by excessive force at birth, but the solicitor she approached at the time declined to take the case and Cheryl dropped her action against the local health board.

Cheryl was encouraged to pursue compensation for injuries caused by excessive force at birth once again; and, when Jamie was eighteen years of age, he made a claim against the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – which had taken over responsibility for healthcare at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

Jamie spoke with a solicitor who this time believed that he had a viable claim, and the solicitor argued successfully that the delivery team when Jamie was born had failed to follow the correct procedures after Jamie had become trapped in the birth canal.

The Aneurin Bevan University Health Board accepted liability for Jamie´s arm paralysis due to the negligent actions used to free him at the time, and an out of court settlement of compensation for injuries caused by excessive force at birth was agreed for Jamie (now twenty-three years of age) amounting to £450,000.

Claim for Wrong Test Result Compensation Still Unresolved

A Dublin woman will have to wait to discover whether her claim for wrong test result compensation will be successful, after a judgement was reserved on her High Court case.

On 17th August 2010, thirty-five year old Michelle Kenny attended St James Hospital in Dublin due to feeling unwell after a holiday in Majorca. At the hospital she underwent a chest x-ray and an ECG, which led doctors to believe that Michelle might have a blood clot on her lung and she was subsequently admitted.

Following her discharge a week later, Michelle attended the hospital´s Outpatients Clinic on October 6th; where she underwent a blood test for tuberculosis and was asked if she would consent to a test for HIV.  Michelle agreed, and the following week the hospital rang her with the blood test results.

After explaining that there was no indication of tuberculosis, the hospital told Michelle that it appeared she was positive for HIV. Michelle was devastated and believed she was going to die. Three further blood tests indicated that she did not have the virus but, according to court papers, she suffered a nervous shock.

Michelle withdrew from her social environment and, after it had been discovered that she had been given the results of somebody else´s blood test in error, contacted a solicitor to see if she was entitled to claim compensation for being given the wrong test results.

The solicitor agreed that Michelle had a case worth pursuing, and on her behalf made a claim for wrong test result compensation against St James Hospital. The hospital contested the claim on the grounds that Michelle had suffered no loss or injury as a result of the error, and the case went before Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon at the High Court.

At the High Court, the judge heard how distressed Michelle had been after being told her blood tests indicated that she was HIV positive, and also evidence from St James hospital that the error had been identified quickly and that Michelle had been advised of the mistake straight away.

Judge O´Hanlon decided that she needed more time to consider the merits of Michelle´s claim for wrong test result compensation and reserved judgement on the claim for a future date yet to be determined.

Circuit Court Judge Approves Settlement of Cut Finger Injury Compensation

A Circuit Court judge has approved a settlement of cut finger injury compensation for nine-year-old girl who sustained her injury in the café of Debenhams in Henry Street.

In March 2011, Naoise Walsh from Bluebell in Dublin was just six years of age when she tried to retrieve a drink carton from a fridge located in Debenhams´ café in Henry Street. As Naoise removed the drink carton from the fridge, she caught her finger on the metal shelf in the fridge and it started to bleed profusely.

Naoise was taken to the Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin by ambulance; where the laceration to her finger was dressed. She returned to the Temple Street Hospital the following day where an examination of her injured finger was conducted under a general anaesthetic to check for tendon damage. No permanent injury was found, Naoise´s injury was stitched, and she was discharged from hospital the same evening.

Naoise´s mother took legal advice and, on behalf of her daughter, made a cut finger injury compensation claim on behalf of her daughter. The Debenhams Store in Henry Street admitted that it was liable for Naoise´s injury and a settlement of €10,000 compensation for a cut finger injury was negotiated.

As Naoise was just six years of age when the accident happened, the settlement of cut finger injury compensation had to be approved by a judge before the case can be resolved and, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of Naoise´s injury before approving the settlement of her claim.

Judge Approves Compensation for Injury in a Pub Accident

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for an injury in a pub accident which left an eighty-year-old man brain damaged and needing permanent care.

In April 2011, Frank McHugh from Rathgar in Dublin had been celebrating Easter with his family at the Stags Head pub in Dublin when he left the group to visit the toilets shortly after the dinner had finished.

As Frank started to descend the stairs that led from the pub area to the toilets, he tumbled and fell – sustaining a brain damage which left him in a coma and several fractures of the skull. Due to his head injuries, Frank has no recollection of the fall and will need permanent care for the remainder of his life.

Frank claimed compensation for an injury in a pub accident through his son against Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd – the licensees of the Stags Head – claiming that there was a failure in the duty of care to provide a safe means of access to the toilets and that no warning signs were present advising patrons of the dangers of using the stairs.

Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd contested the claim for pub accident injury compensation – saying that Frank had descended the stairs in an unsafe manner and that he had fallen as a result of his own negligence. The company presented CCTV footage in its defence which showed Frank taking the first step of the stairs and then falling down them.

Despite Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd denying their liability for Frank´s injuries, at the High Court in Dublin Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that the company had made an offer of compensation for an injury in a pub accident amounting to €250,000. The judge heard that the value of the settlement was a fraction of what a full compensation settlement amount to, but that it had been recommended by Frank´s solicitors that the family accept it.

After hearing the circumstances of Frank´s injuries, and of the care that had been provided for him subsequently by his family, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement – stating she agreed that €250,000 would not go far in covering the costs of Frank´s care, but Frank´s injury claim for compensation for an injury in a pub accident was lacking in evidence and would likely be unsuccessful if it went to a full trial.

Counsel tells Court HSE Should Apologise for Cerebral Palsy Negligence

The High Court has heard calls for the HSE to apologise for the cerebral palsy negligence that led to a young girl being traumatised at birth and suffering permanent injuries.

Grace Orchard from Carrigaline in County Cork was born at St Finbarr´s Maternity Hospital on 23rd February 2006 after her mother had been administered syntocinon to help speed up her contractions.

According to the evidence provided at the High Court in Dublin, the drug had been administered inappropriately and, as a result, Grace was delivered by forceps after four previous attempts to bring her into the world – including one using a vacuum cup – had failed.

Grace had to be resuscitated after her delivery, and was badly bruised due to the trauma she had experienced. She was subsequently diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy which – according to counsel – was attributable to “appalling poor handling” by hospital staff during her delivery.

Describing the circumstances of Grace´s birth as a “tragedy”, Grace´s counsel told Mr Justice Daniel Herbert at the High Court that Grace had been left in a catastrophic position and that the HSE should apologise for the cerebral palsy negligence.

The Court heard that Grace´s family did everything they could for her during her early years – including taking her to a specialist centre in New York for physiotherapy – and that Grace had been accepted into mainstream school, but the services available to her are being reduced due to cut-backs.

Through her mother – Deidre O´Callaghan – Grace made a compensation claim for cerebral palsy negligence against St Finbarr´s Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE); and the HSE admitted liability two weeks before the court hearing was scheduled to commence. Consequently the case continues for the assessment of damages only.

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Failure to Act at Birth

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a failure to act at birth which resulted in a child suffering serious brain injuries.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard how Katie Martin from Trim in County Meath was born at the Coombe Hospital on November 9th 2000, after her mother – Fiona – had been admitted to the hospital that morning complaining of having irregular contractions.

Fiona underwent a CTG trace after her admission into hospital which suggested that Katie was being deprived of oxygen in the womb. However, it took nearly 90 minutes for staff at the hospital to act on the abnormal readings and organise an emergency Caesarean Section.

When Katie was delivered, she showed no signs of life having suffered a cardiac arrest in the womb, but fortunately staff at the hospital were able to resuscitate her. Katie – now thirteen years of age – had suffered serious brain injuries as a result of being deprived of oxygen, and will need around the clock care for the rest of her life.

Fiona Martin claimed compensation for a failure to act at the birth of her child against the Coombe Hospital; who contested its alleged liability for Katie´s injuries, and argued that Katie was starved of oxygen in the womb before her mother arrived at the hospital. The hospital prepared a full defence against the claim, arguing that that it was already too late to prevent an injury after Fiona´s arrival.

However, Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court heard that a settlement of €4 million compensation for a failure to act at birth had been negotiated without the hospital admitting liability. The judge was told that the case was before her for approval of the settlement and, after hearing the circumstances surrounding Katie´s birth, approved the settlement – commenting that it was a good one considering that the case had been contested by the defendant.

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.

HSE Director Apologises for Hospital Childbirth Medical Negligence at Portlaoise Hospital

The National Director of Quality & Patient Safety at the Health Service Executive (HSE) has apologised “unequivocally” to four families who lost a child due to hospital childbirth medical negligence.

The apology by Dr Philip Crowley came prior to an RTE Prime Time television program – “Controversy at Midland General Hospital, Portlaoise – Fatal Failures” – which highlighted failings in care at the hospital that led to four babies dying in childbirth.

The program featured the story of Roisin and Mark Molloy from Tullamore, County Offaly, whose son Mark died shortly after being delivered on 24th January 2012. Medical staff at the hospital initially failed to inform the Molloys of the reason for their son´s death or conduct an investigation into the circumstances of his delivery.

It was only after a four-month battle against the hospital authorities that the HSE acknowledged there had been signs of life when Mark was born and an investigation was initiated. The investigation took over twenty months to complete – a “lamentable delay” according to Dr Crowley – during which time the Molloys were fed misinformation by HSE officials.

Among the things the Molloys were told was that childbirth deaths at the hospital were very rare; but when a subsequent independent clinical review reported “failures in the standard of care provided were casually linked to the foetal hypoxia damage that occurred [and the death of baby Mark]” it became clear that their son had been the victim of hospital childbirth medical negligence and the Midland Regional Hospital issued the Molloy´s with an apology.

By chance, Roisin Molloy heard a radio interview in which a Shauna Keyes was retelling the story of how she had lost her child at the Midland General Hospital in similar circumstances, and the two women got in touch with each other. The story found its way to the RTE Investigation Unit, who found two more examples of hospital childbirth medical negligence in which children had died, an investigation had been conducted, but the parents were never informed of the outcome.

Among the four instances of children dying shortly after birth, investigators discovered that, although sub-standard care had been identified during the investigation into Mark Molloy´s death, no measures had been taken to deal with the shortcomings, and that the same mistakes had been repeated in the deaths of the other three children.

It was also explained in the program that, in order to provide a “safe” level of service, the HSE recommends a ratio of one midwife for each twenty-eight women in the later stages of pregnancy. At the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise there was a ratio of one midwife to seventy-five expectant mothers – a situation which resulted in “a lack of understanding of a deteriorating condition leading to a failure to seek timely medical assistance”.

RTE investigators were shown a copy of a letter written in 2006 by midwifery staff to the then Minister for Finance Brian Cowen and Minister for Health Mary Harney in which concern was expressed over staffing levels at the hospital. The letter said a “real fear” existed that a mother or baby would die before staffing issues were addressed and that the situation had been made clear to the management at the hospital, but no action had been taken.

Speaking on the Today radio program, the current Minister for Health James Reilly said that the hospital childbirth medical negligence at Portlaoise Hospital was “utterly unacceptable”, and that he planned to conduct a further investigation into the failings of care and the deception that the parents of the dead children had experienced.“I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to give me a report. It won’t take long and I will take action to make sure that this never happens again. I have put great emphasis on this.”

Health Minister Wants to Slash Medical Negligence Compensation Payments

The UK´s Secretary for Health – Jeremy Hunt – has stated that he wants to slash medical negligence compensation payments by “Saying Sorry” – a measure that has proved effective in the United States.

Mr Hunt´s comments were made in an interview with the press to announce new guidelines that have been sent to every hospital in England and Wales. The guidelines recommend that medical professionals “say sorry” in circumstances where there had been a failure in the duty of care, or when an accident has happened due to which a patient has suffered an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition. .

The Health Secretary suggested that medical professionals in the health service are reluctant to apologise because of the fear of litigation and this view was echoed by the chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority – Catherine Dixon – who said:

“Saying sorry is the human and moral thing to do. We won´t say that we are not going to cover you because you´ve said sorry. We are not like a car insurer who will withhold a claim because an apology has been given. Saying sorry is not an admission of legal liability”.

The Secretary for Health used the University of Michigan as an example of how the approach works. Having adopted the practice of “apologising and learning when you are wrong, explaining and vigorously defending when we are right, and viewing court as a last resort”, the University is now one of the safest medical centres in the United States and has halved the medical negligence compensation payments it is liable for from a decade ago.

Mr Hunt tweeted that the University of Michigan´s practice was an “interesting example of how being open and saying sorry could slash the litigation bill. [We] want to see similar results in the NHS”.

Mr Hunt´s concern over medical negligence compensation payments comes after figures revealed the number of claims against the NHS is expected to increase by 25 percent to 12,000; and that around 20 percent of the NHS´s annual budget (approximately £22 billion) would have to be put aside to meet the state´s liability for medical negligence in UK hospitals.

Danger of Deaf Patients Suffering From Medical Negligence Highlighted in Report

A soon-to-be-published report has highlighted the danger of deaf patients suffering from medical negligence due to a failure by medical professionals to communicate.

The report – “Critical Care Required: Access to Interpreted Healthcare in Ireland” – was prepared by Professor Lorraine Leeson as a consequence of the EU-funded project “Medisigns” which was conducted at Trinity College’s Centre for Deaf Studies.

The content of the report focuses on facilitating better communications between healthcare professionals, sign language interpreters and patients, and reveals the danger of deaf patients suffering from medical negligence when communications are misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Examples of some of the tragic accidents that have occurred in Irish hospitals include:

·  One deaf patient was prepared for heart surgery after he attended hospital with a finger injury
·  Concern was raised when a woman failed to sleep for three nights in a recovery ward. It was later discovered that she could not communicate that she was cold.
·  One patient, who relied on sign language to communicate, had eye drops put in their eyes and could not see the signals being made to them or otherwise communicate.
·  A deaf patient was killed after being released from hospital as he attempted to walk home from Galway to Clifden – a distance of 50 miles.

Focus groups who took part in the project also commented on the attitude of medical staff towards deaf people, and the lack of provision those who are hard of hearing – with one case revealing how medical staff called on a hospitalised child who understood sign language to act as an interpreter in the hospital emergency room.

Shortage of Resources No Excuse for Medical Negligence to Deaf Patients

According to a Health Service Executive spokesperson, hospital patients who are deaf or hard of hearing “have a right” to have a sign language interpreter present at healthcare appointments, and the health service provider must find the resources (budget) to ensure one is always available.

This is often possible when appointments are made in advance, but there is the danger of deaf patients suffering from medical negligence when they attend an Emergency Room or their doctor´s surgery.

GPs in particular appear to consider engaging a sign language interpreter as an avoidable expense at a time when they have faced a cut in funding due to FEMPI legislation. However, Professor Leeson cautioned that a shortage of resources is no excuse for medical negligence to deaf patients. She said:

“At the end of the line it is [the doctors’] responsibility to make sure that they are gaining informed consent from their patients and to ensure that their patients understand, and what we are finding is that patients are saying that they absolutely do not understand what is happening.”

She added that failing to use the services of a sign language interpreter could have serious implications for both the patient and doctor: “what [would be] the cost if they were found to be liable for not actually clearly communicating with their patients and there are consequences arising from that”.

Important Footnote:

If you or somebody close to you has suffered medical negligence due to being hard of hearing, we appreciate that you may not be able to use our free telephone advice service. We would therefore request that you complete the contact form at the foot of this page – using the text box to let us know that you cannot communicate by telephone and supplying us with an email address or alternative form of communication.

Allergic Reaction Compensation Claim Against Hairdresser Resolved Prior to Court Hearing

A woman has resolved her allergic reaction compensation claim against her hairdresser in an undisclosed out-of-court settlement just before a hearing was due to get underway.

Grainne Moynihan (33) made the allergic reaction compensation claim against her hairdresser – Coiffeur Salons Ltd in William Street South, Dublin (trading as Dylan Bradshaw) – following a colouring treatment she underwent at the salon on 11th November 2010.

Grainne from Castleknock Park in Dublin alleged in her allergic reaction compensation claim that, following her visit to the salon, a rash developed on her scalp, ears and neck which she attributed to an allergic reaction from the treatment she had received

Grainne visited her doctor, who prescribed her antihistamine medication and a course of oral steroids, and then sought legal advice about making a compensation claim against her hairdresser. Coiffeur Salons Ltd contested liability for Grainne´s claim, and the Injuries Board issued her with an Authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

Coiffeur Salons Ltd continue to argue that treatment Grainne received had not been negligent and the company entered a full defence against the claim prior to the case being scheduled to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge Matthew Deery.

However, before the hearing into Grainne´s claim commenced, Judge Deery was informed the compensation claim against the hairdresser could be struck off as an undisclosed settlement had been reached prior to the court hearing.

Black Eye Claim for Compensation Settled in Court

The Circuit Civil Court has settled a black eye claim for compensation after hearing the circumstances of how a university student sustained her injury in an acupuncture training course.

Forty-five year old Bernadette Poleon from Dunboyne, County Meath, volunteered in April 2010 to take part in an acupuncture training course that was being held at the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Dublin.

One of the exercises during the training course involved a student inserting a needle below each of Bernadette´s eyes. After the student´s placement of the needles was examined by a course supervisor, the needle below Bernadette´s right eye was repositioned.

Later the same day, the skin around Bernadette´s left eye became swollen and tender and, within two days, significant bruising had developed around the eye. The swelling and tenderness disappeared several days later, but the discolouring around Bernadette´s eye lasted a further seven weeks.

After Bernadette also developed a sinus problem – for which she is still receiving treatment from her GP – she made a black eye claim for compensation against Bellfield Consultants Ltd, who are the owners of the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Bellfield Consultants Ltd contested the black eye claim for compensation and presented a full defence against the claim when court proceedings were issued. However, when the case was about to be heard by Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court, the judge was told that – by consent – the case was now before her for the assessment of compensation only.

After hearing how Bernadette had sustained her injury, and the embarrassment she experienced while the injury was still visible, the judge awarded Bernadette €6,000 in settlement of her black eye claim for compensation and costs.

Judge Approves Hospital Negligence Compensation for Death following Childbirth

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of hospital negligence compensation for death following childbirth after hearing the tragic story of Dhara Kivlehan, who died shortly after giving birth to her first child.

Dhara (29) had been admitted to Sligo General Hospital on 20th September 2010 for the delivery of her first child – Dior. At the time of her admission, she was two weeks passed her due date and exhibiting symptoms consistent with pre-eclampsia – high blood pressure and fluid retention around the feet and ankles (oedema).

Blood test conducted on Dhara showed that she had abnormal liver and kidney function (a further symptom of pre-eclampsia), but the results of the blood test were not communicated to Dhara´s doctors for a further twelve hours. The morning following her admission, Dhara gave birth to her son, and was transferred to a side room.

It was during Dhara´s thirty-six hours in the side room that her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Sligo General Hospital at 4.45pm the day after giving birth. At 11.00pm that night, Dhara´s condition became critical, and she was air-lifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where she died of multiple organ failure four days later.

Dhara´s husband – Michael Kivlehan from Dromahair, County Sligo – believed that the treatment Dhara had received in the side room of the maternity unit had been inadequate as his wife´s condition deteriorated, and made a claim for hospital negligence compensation for death following childbirth against the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The HSE denied that there had been a failure by the Sligo General Hospital to acknowledge the significance and severity of Dhara´s deterioration or to treat her appropriately, and a trial date was scheduled for the case to be heard in court.

However, shortly before the family´s claim for hospital negligence compensation for death following childbirth was due to be heard, the HSE admitted that there had been shortcomings in the care provided for Dhara and a settlement of hospital negligence compensation was negotiated.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard an apology from the HSE read out to the family before approving the agreed settlement of €800,000. The judge expressed her sympathy to Michael and Dior – who were in court for the approval hearing – but she also criticised the HSE for “holding out until almost the bitter end” before admitting liability and for causing the family unnecessary distress.

Settlement of Claim against HSE for Cerebral Palsy Approved by Judge

A High Court judge has approved the settlement of a claim against the HSE for cerebral palsy and criticised both the HSE and State Claims Agency for taking so long to resolve the case.

Dylan Gaffney (6) from Kilcohan Park in Waterford was born at Waterford Regional Hospital on July 22nd 2007, in a poor condition after an emergency Caesarean Section had been performed on his mother – Jean – and with no paediatrician immediately available to provide adequate resuscitation.

Jean Gaffney had previously requested a Caesarean Section delivery for Dylan, as her first daughter had been born by emergency C-Section after 51 hours of labour, and she had miscarried a second child. Her obstetrician had dissuaded her from having one, despite an ultrasound two days before Dylan´s birth indicating that he weighed nine pounds, four ounces.

The ultrasound had been conducted after Jean had attended the Waterford Regional Hospital on July 20th because she believed her waters had broken. She was given an antenatal appointment for five days later but, on the morning of the 22nd, went into spontaneous labour and was admitted into the hospital.

Jean was administered oxytocic – a drug to stimulate contractions – and told to commence pushing. According to Jean´s solicitor at the High Court, this was entirely inappropriate in the circumstances and a Caesarean should have been performed straight away. Instead, medical staff at the hospital waited until after 2.00pm in the afternoon to deliver Dylan.

When Dylan was eventually resuscitated, he had been denied oxygen in the womb and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and other injuries.

After speaking with a solicitor, Jean made a claim against the HSE for cerebral palsy compensation in her son´s behalf, and wrote to the State Claims Agency in June 2009 with evidence of negligence compiled by an independent medical expert.

Despite the evidence clearly showing that Dylan´s birth injuries were attributable to negligence before, during and after his delivery, the State Claims Agency denied everything and refused to consider Jean´s claim against the HSE for cerebral palsy.

Ultimately, court proceedings had to be issued while Jean and her partner – Thomas Hayes – put their lives aside to care for Dylan. It was only shortly before Jean´s claim against the HSE for cerebral palsy was due to be heard that liability was admitted and discussions started to agree a financial settlement.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an agreement had been reached for Dylan to receive a lump sum payment of €8.5 million, as a more beneficial structured payment system was not yet available.

The judge approved the settlement, but criticised the conduct of the Health Service Executive and State Claims Agency for the delay in admitting liability, and causing additional stress for Dylan and his family. She said that this was the second case within a week where the actions of the HSE and State Claims Agency were “highly regrettable”.

Government Appoints Judge to Consider Claims for Symphysiotomy Injury Compensation

The Government has appointed Judge Yvonne Murphy to work out a solution to the issue of claims for symphysiotomy injury compensation following its U-turn on extending the Statute of Limitations.

Dr James Reilly – the Minister for Health – announced this week in a press conference that Judge Yvonne Murphy has been asked to compile options for women who wish to make claims for symphysiotomy injury compensation.

Around 300 women survive who underwent the controversial childbirth procedure in Irish hospitals between 1940 and 1990 – many of whom now have difficulty in walking, suffer chronic pain and incontinence as a result.

Judge Murphy has been asked to look at feasible compensation options for review in February 2014, to compensate the women for the pain they experienced at the time of the symphysiotomy and throughout the rest of their lives.

The Minister said that the Government would contribute to an ex gratia scheme if that was a recommended option , and it is believed that Judge Murphy will be speaking with insurance companies to explore whether they would contribute towards such a scheme.

Originally the Government planned to allow a Private Members Bill introduced by Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin through the Dáil, which would have enabled a one-year window for the women claims for symphysiotomy injury compensation.

However legal advisors told the Government that, by offering a window in the Statute of Limitations, they could face a legal challenge from the insurance companies who would have been liable for compensating the women and the support for the Bill was withdrawn.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin criticised plans to keep the statute of limitations in place and said “The type of scheme outlined in the terms of reference offers the women no prospect of adequate compensation for what was so barbarically done to them nor the choice to pursue their rights in the courts.”

However Tom Moran – Chairman of the support group Survivors of Symphysiotomy Ltd – welcomed the prospect of his members being able to resolve their claims for symphysiotomy injury compensation. “We welcome this decision to appoint the judge and we hope it leads to women finally being given a chance of some kind of closure.”

Girl to Receive Compensation for Cerebral Palsy due to Mismanaged Birth

A twelve year old girl is to receive €2.3 million compensation for cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth after an interim settlement was approved at the High Court.

Mary Conroy was heavily pregnant with her first child when she attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Portloaise on 10th November 2001 believing that her waters had broken. After being reassured that they had not, and everything was fine, Mary was sent home.

On 13th November, Mary then attended the clinic of her personal consultant obstetrician – Dr John Corristine – and, following an ultrasound, insisted she be admitted into hospital.

A CTG scan at the Midland Regional Hospital failed to show any sign of contractions, and Mary was advised to take a bath – but no hot water was available at the hospital – so Dr Corristine ordered that medicine should be administered to help induce labour.

Mary gave birth to her daughter – Roisin – the following morning, but Roisin suffered seizures shortly after her birth and was transferred to a hospital in Dublin with adequate neo-natal facilities. However, Roisin failed to improve and was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

As a result of the injuries suffered prior to her birth, Roisin (now 12 years old) is permanently disabled and can only communicate through her eyes. Mary Conroy blamed herself for Roisin´s injuries, and insisted on having two further children delivered by Caesarean Section.

Mary and Kevin Conroy both gave up their jobs to care for their daughter; believing for many years that nothing could have been done to prevent Roisin´s condition and that they had been “just unlucky”.

However, after speaking with a solicitor – who initiated an investigation into the circumstances prior to Roisin´s birth – the couple found out that Roisin was entitled to compensation for cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth.

A claim on Roisin´s behalf was made in 2011, but it was almost two years later – and weeks before the compensation claim for cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth was due to be heard in court – that Dr Corristine and the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability for Roisin´s birth injuries.

An interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth was negotiated that would see Roisin´s family receive an initial compensation payment of €2.3 million, with another assessment made of Roisin´s needs in two years time if a structure compensation system has not been introduced.

The settlement was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine after the High Court had heard an apology read to the family by Dr Corristine and a representative of the HSE. In it both defendants said that “neither this apology nor the financial compensation granted by the court can negate the continuing heartache that the Conroy family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for them.”

Couple Settle Claim for Nervous Shock over Death of Baby

A couple, who alleged that their consultant gynaecologist had mismanaged the birth of their child, have resolved their claim for nervous shock over the death of their baby in an out-of-court settlement.

Jane Farren and Feidhlimidh Wrafter from Rathgar, Dublin, made their claim for nervous shock over the death of their baby, Molly, who died on October 16th 2008 after being delivered in an emergency Caesarean Section.

Jane had been admitted to the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin on October 15th after a spontaneous membrane rupture. She was administered Syntocinon to help induce labour and, at 3.45 am the following morning, was transferred to theatre to attempt a vacuum delivery. Molly was born half an hour later by C-Section, but could not be resuscitated and died.

The couple alleged that their consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Professor Fergal Malone had failed to properly manage the labour, delivery and birth of their child, and that staff at the Rotunda Hospital had failed to identify abnormalities in the foetal heart rate in a timely manner, which would have led to Molly being born earlier and possibly surviving.

The couple also claimed that they were misinformed during the labour and delivery process, and led to believe after Molly´s death that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. Jane and Feidhlimidh also explored the possibility that Molly´s death could have been due to a genetic problem or a pre-labour trauma, despite the couple already having two perfectly healthy children.

Professor Malone and the Rotunda Hospital denied that mistakes had been made which resulted in Molly´s death but, shortly before a scheduled hearing at the High Court, it was announced that the claim for nervous shock over the death of a baby had been settled for €150,000 without admission of liability, and that the case could be struck out.

Compensation for Cerebral Palsy due to Consultant Negligence Approved in Court

A High Court judge has approved a second interim payment of compensation for cerebral palsy due to consultant negligence, as a structured system for the payment of compensation in Ireland has not been introduced.

Two years ago, the Sheehan family from Mallow in County Cork were awarded an interim settlement of €1.9 million in respect of their eight-year-old daughter, Isabelle, who was born with severe paraplegic cerebral palsy after the consultant paediatrician treating Isabelle´s mother failed to act on blood test results which revealed a conflict of antibodies.

The consultant paediatrician – Dr David Corr – admitted that he had made a mistake in the management of Catherine Sheehan´s pregnancy, which led to Isabelle´s terrible injuries when she was born at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in November 2004, and acknowledged that he should have referred Catherine to an expert in foetal medicine.

After the initial settlement hearing, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved the settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to consultant negligence and adjourned Isabelle´s case for two years to allow for the introduction of a structured system for the payment of compensation when a plaintiff has sustained lifelong injuries.

As no structured system for the payment of compensation has yet been introduced, Isabelle´s case was heard again at the High Court by Mr Justice Kevin Cross; who was told that a further interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to consultant negligence had been agreed, which would pay for the care that Isabelle needs for a further two years.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the interim settlement of €635,000, after hearing that Isabelle was keeping up with the other children at her mainstream school and that she was a bright and intelligent little girl. The judge wished Isabelle a very good future and adjourned her case for another two years.

We Have Updated our Page on Compensation for Whiplash Injuries

We have updated our page on compensation for whiplash injuries to provide additional information on how much compensation for whiplash injuries a plaintiff in Ireland may be entitled to.

The information is now particularly relevant for all plaintiffs who have sustained whiplash injuries in a road traffic accident in Ireland in order to assess what is included when compensation settlements are negotiated or assessed by the Injuries Board. As ever, it is recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced personal injury solicitor to have your whiplash injury compensation claim assessed, for as it states in our article, “a typical payout for whiplash does not exist”.

You can read more on What is the Typical Payout for Whiplash?” 

Postman Successfully Claims Compensation for being Attacked by a Dog

A County Westmeath postman has successfully claimed injury compensation for being attacked by a dog while trying to deliver post to a house in Kilbeggan.

Sixty-three year old Joseph Dunne from Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, was attempting to deliver post to house in Kilbeggan when, on 8th October 2008, a husky-type dog escaped from the garden of the house through a hole in the hedge and attacked him.

Joseph was knocked to the pavement by the dog, who continued to claw and bite him while the terrified postman was lying on the floor. Fortunately a passer-by was able to stop the attack by hitting the dog across the back with a stick and Joseph was rushed to hospital.

At the hospital, Joseph was treated for lacerations to the right side of his face and received twenty-two stitches. He also have to receive treatment for nerve damage just below his forehead and, once the stitches from his cuts were removed, he had to undergo plastic surgery to hide the worst of his scars.

Joseph returned to his postal duties soon after the attack, but made a claim for injury compensation for being attacked by the dog against the animal´s owners – Olive Dalton and Martin Maher of Dublin Road, Kilbeggan. The couple denied their liability for Joseph´s injuries, despite having had the dog put down following the attack, and the case was heard at the High Court in Dublin.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty heard Ms Dalton and Mr Maher denying that they had been negligent in failing to enclose their garden securely and allowing the dog to escape; however the judge found in Joseph´s favour and, awarding him €55,000 injury compensation for being attacked by a dog, commended Joseph for returning to work so quickly after his frightening incident.

Workplace Slip and Fall Injury Compensation Cost more than €22 Million in 2012

The Chief Executive of the HSA has issued a warning to employers after it was revealed that workplace slip and fall injury compensation cost industry more than €22 million in 2012.

The warning to employers “to take some time this week to consider the safety systems they have in place and make sure not to leave anything to chance” came in a statement made by Martin O´Halloran – Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – after it was revealed that a third of all accepted Injury Board assessments relating to accidents at work were attributable to workplace slip and fall injury compensation.

Mr O´Halloran was commenting on figures released by the Injuries Board to coincide with European Week for Safety and Health at Work which showed that 807 assessments of injury compensation for accidents at work were accepted in 2012 amounting to more than €22 million (1), and he referred to a health and safety study which indicated that employees take less care at work because of the employer´s responsibility to prevent accidents

It was also revealed that a quarter of all workplaces inspected by the Health and Safety Authority last year had not conducted a risk assessment to identify the dangers of slips and falls in the workplace, and that two of the highest accepted assessments of work place slip and fall injury compensation concerned avoidable fatal accidents.

Other statistics released by the Injuries Board to coincide with the European Week for Safety and Health at Work included:

· The average assessment of injury compensation for an accident at work was €27,286.
· Men are twice as likely to sustain a workplace injury as women.
· Almost one-in-three assessments were for workers in the 25 to 34 age group
· One-in-five of the accepted assessments of workplace slip and fall injury compensation were for injuries which resulted in the plaintiff taking at least one month to recover.

Mr O’Halloran concluded by saying “Effective management of workplace safety and health not only protects workers from injury and ill-health, but also has the potential to save businesses thousands of Euros. Proper management of workplace safety and health contributes to long-term commercial success and profitability”.

(1) In 2012, less than one-third of the applications for assessment submitted to the Injuries Board were resolved through the Injuries Board process – indicating that the number of workplace slip and fall injury compensation claims last year could have been as high as 2,500.

We Have Updated Our Medical Negligence Claims Information Page

We have updated our medical negligence claims information page so that it is more comprehensive than ever before and offers advice on the procedures that need to be completed prior to claiming compensation for medical negligence in Ireland.

As ever, the information we provide about medical negligence claims is no substitute for speaking directly with an experienced solicitor and, if you believe that you – or somebody close to you – has suffered a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition, which could have been prevented if you had received an acceptable standard of care, you are advised to discuss your individual situation with a solicitor without delay.

You can visit our revised page containing medical negligence claims information by clicking on the link below:

>> Medical Negligence Claims <<