Noteworthy Medical Negligence Cases

Noteworthy Medical Negligence Cases

Emmet Halley, the firm’s senior partner,  recently settled some noteworthy cases, particularly in the medical negligence sphere.

The following medical negligence case settled for €1,000,000.00.

In early April 2016, our client attended at a hospital with a history of acute symptoms, including the onset of incoordination, facial numbness and leg weakness.  He had initially attended the out of hours medical service, who had referred him to the hospital, as they were concerned that he may have suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA).

He was discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of “transient ischemic attack, hypertensive episode”, but not withstanding the diagnosis, they failed to provide any treatment or prescribe any medications on discharge.

His condition progressed and developed and deteriorated and necessitated his re-attendance at the hospital on the 18th / 19th day of April 2016.

The progression of symptoms by the time of the second attendance at the hospital included dysarthria (slurred speech) and word finding difficulties. Hewas once again discharged from the hospital without treatment and in circumstances where no medication was provided, prescribed or advised.

He suffered a stroke in the form of a left paramedian pontine infarct which was diagnosed on the 20th of April 2016 and in consequence of which he has suffered very severe and devastating injury, loss and damage, as a result of which he will be unable to maintain gainful employment for the rest of his life.

Proceedings were taken on his behalf against the Health Service Executive, which were at an advanced stage and settled for €1,000,000.00 before going to Court.

The sum agreed by way of compensation includes loss of earnings to date and into the future, an allowance for various therapies that he may need, adaptations to his home etc.

The following medical negligence case settled for €1,200,000.00.

In   November, 2014, our client presented to the Hospital, complaining of severe pain in his right lower limb. He was admitted to the Hospital.  On examination on this occasion it was diagnosed that he had acute ischaemia in his right leg, secondary to an acute arterial occlusion.  His platelet count was very low and CT scan revealed an abdominal aortic aneurysm measuring 6.7cms.

He was discharged on 1 December, 2014, prescribed warfarin and advised by the consultant vascular surgeon in charge that his condition would be considered at a multidisciplinary meeting and that he would be contacted about another review of his vascular condition and regarding potential surgical operation.

He was not contacted by the Hospital in December 2014 or in January 2015, despite his direct enquiries and repeated contact with the vascular department of the Hospital.  On each such occasion he was told that his condition would be considered at a multidisciplinary meeting and that he would be contacted.

In February 2015, he again attended at the Hospital in an attempt to speak to the consultant vascular surgeon in charge, due to his concern and increasing anxiety about his condition He was reviewed by another doctor who prescribed atorvastatin. He was advised by this doctor that he could not go back to work due to his aneurysm and the serious nature of his condition. He was again discharged to the care of his General Practitioner with no further plan for further Hospital treatment or review in place.

On 28 March 2015, he experienced acute, severe pain in his right lower limb, similar to that which he had experienced in the previous November.  He was brought by ambulance to hospital and thence transferred to another hospital, where he was admitted. It was noted on this occasion that the aneurysm had grown significantly in the intervening 4 months and there had been bleeding within the centre of the thrombus with imminent danger of rupture of the aneurysm. His condition at this time was critical and he was prepared for emergency surgery.

On 29 March 2015 he underwent a major surgical operation to attempt repair of his abdominal aortic aneurysm.  At the same time, he underwent an embolectomy of his right lower leg and attempted thrombolysis down the right lower leg where the thrombi had moved.  All attempts to restore blood supply to the lower limb and foot failed and there was no alternative but to amputate his right lower limb.

As a result, he has suffered catastrophic personal injuries and has suffered very severe loss and damage.

A case was taken against the Health Service Executive.  The case was listed for trial in April of this year but settled in advance.

Medical Negligence Cases Settled.

On or about the 15th of April 2016, our client attended the Defendant Hospital following referral from his General Practitioner, whom the client had been attending with worsening symptoms of low back pain and sciatica. At triage, he complained of pins and needles with numbness in his left leg.

He reported low back pain, with pain radiating to the left leg for the previous five months. Following medical assessment at the Emergency Department, he was discharged without a diagnosis and without the benefit of any treatment or planned review.

He returned to the Hospital the following day, 16th April 2016, with the assistance of members of his family having suffered very acute worsening of his symptoms at home. He was disabled at this stage and unable to ambulate independently.

He reported very severe low back pain and paraesthesia in the groin and in both upper legs. He was unable to walk and could not discern when he needed to go to the toilet. He was in severe pain. He also reported urinary incontinence.

For the remainder of that day and most of the following day the Plaintiff was kept on a trolley in the Hospital. During this period and despite a number of assessments, the Hospital failed to diagnose, manage and treat him appropriately or in accordance with the standard and duty of care owed to him. As a result of these failures, it was not until the afternoon of the following day, 17th April 2016, that he was diagnosed as suffering from symptoms suggestive of Cauda Equina Syndrome and necessitated an urgent transfer to Mater Hospital Dublin for treatment. This transfer eventually took place in the evening of that day after further delay at the Hospital.

The delay in diagnosis has resulted in the irreversible effects of Cauda Equina Syndrome.

He underwent an emergency discectomy at Mater Hospital Dublin. However, he remains with significant reduction in mobility and sensation in the affected areas.

He has reduced power in both legs and has difficulty mobilising. He was referred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dun Laoghaire,  Co. Dublin.

He has been significantly discommoded in his day-to-day life.  He was out of work for a period of six months. He is restricted in certain daily activities.

On or about the 4th day of May 2016 the same gentleman attended the Defendant Hospital following referral from his General Practitioner for the purpose of diagnosis/ruling out the presence of Deep Vein Thrombosis. At triage, he complained right calf muscle pain which had been present for about 5 days and which impeded his walking movements. He had a history of recent emergency back surgery for cauda equina syndrome. He was noted to have acute tenderness of the right calf causing claudication (limping). He was not referred for any specialist assessment or treatment but was discharged and scheduled for a Doppler Venogram the following day.

On the 5th day of May 2016, he attended at the Acute Medical Assessment Unit in the Defendant Hospital as planned. At that point, following the Doppler scan, he was wrongly diagnosed as suffering from “muscular pain” only and he was discharged without a scheduled follow-up appointment.

On the 13th day of May 2016, he suffered a pulmonary embolism as a consequence of deep vein thrombosis which resulted in him sustaining severe personal injuries, and he was taken to the Emergency Department.

His condition was very unstable. He was detained as an inpatient until the 19th day of May 2016.   He was prescribed a direct-acting oral anticoagulant for a period of 6 months.

Proceedings were initiated in respect of both matters which settled for settled for €245,000.00 and €50,000.00 respectively.

Case settles for client who is seriously injured in hit and run accident.

The client suffered very severe injuries in a “hit and run” accident. She did not lose consciousness but found herself on the roadway in a confused and disorientated state. She was brought by ambulance to the accident and emergency department.

Radiological assessment at the hospital revealed a multitude of injuries to include compound fracture of the left humerus in respect of which open reduction and internal fixation was required.

The surgical intervention has resulted in significant scarring of the area. She also sustained a fracture of the right superior and inferior pubic rami. There was, what was understood, as blunt injury to the bladder and meniscal injury to the right knee. She also sustained multiple abrasions and small lacerations to include facial injuries.

She was admitted to hospital where she was detained as an inpatient for three nights and she was discharged home in a wheelchair which she required for several months post-incident.

The case settled at an advanced stage for €240,000.00.