A settlement of wrongful death compensation for medical negligence that led to the death of a sixty-year-old mother of six has been approved at the High Court
Patrick Malone from Carlow brought his claim for wrongful death compensation due to medical negligence after his wife – Helen – had waited in pain for an operation to be performed on her bowel at St Luke´s General Hospital in Killarney.
Helen´s surgery eventually went ahead on 8th January 2006, but four days later she tragically died due to systemic sepsis and multiple organ failure brought on by a perforated bowel. An inquest into Helen´s death determined that had she undergone surgery when she was first admitted to the hospital she would have most likely survived.
After the Irish Medical Council had found consultant George Nessim guilty on four charges of professional negligence related to Helen´s death, Patrick made his claim for wrongful death compensation due to medical negligence against Dr Nessim, St Luke´s General Hospital and the HSE – claiming that he and his six children had suffered mental anguish due to Helen´s avoidable death.
Despite the findings of the Irish Medical Council, the HSE denied liability for Helen´s death, and court proceedings were initiated by Patrick´s solicitor. Only shortly before a scheduled hearing was to take place did the HSE acknowledge that there had been failings in the standard of care provided to Helen, and a settlement of €165,000 was negotiated.
Due to the nature of Patrick´s claim, the settlement of wrongful death compensation for medical negligence had to be approved by a judge; and the case came before Mr Justice Ryan at the High Court. Judge Ryan and members of the Malone family heard an apology for Helen´s death read out in court by a representative of St Luke´s General Hospital, after which the judge approved the settlement – commenting that it had been “a difficult, painful and tragic case”.