A Wenicke Korsakoff award has been made to a woman, who developed the illness after alleged negligence by her surgeon. Her claim for medical negligence was settled for an undisclosed sum.
Avril Doyle (46), was described as a bubbly and vivacious person prior to having a laparotomy to treat multiple abdominal adhesions at St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire in July 2005.
Avril was sent home ten days after the operation, but had to re-admitted for further surgery on August 2 2005 after her condition deteriorated. Another laparotomy was performed, during which a portion of her small bowel had to be removed.
It was alleged that, during this operation, medical staff failed to administer the vitamin thiamine as part of Avril’s intravenous feeding and she suffered brain damage as a result. It was claimed in the action brought through Avril’s spouse, Dick, that staff failed in their duty to monitor, test and review her “total parental nutrition” management.
Due to this alleged negligence, the court heard how Avril developed memory problems, became increasingly disorientated and suffered impairment to her cognitive linguistic function – a symptom commonly witnessed in cases of dementia.
After treatment Ms Doyle returned home in April 2006 to be cared for by her husband and, more recently, by a specially employed care assistant. She continues to have problems including dizziness, fatigue, emotional fits and depression.
A week into the trial, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was informed that the claim had been settled for an undisclosed figure and with noadmission of liability except for the failure to provide a nutritionist at the hospital during the surgery.