Personal Injury Compensation

Doctor Medical Negligence

In order to make a successful compensation claim for doctor medical negligence in Ireland, it has to be shown that the doctor who was treating you demonstrated a poor professional performance which led to you suffering a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition which could have been avoided had another course of action been taken “at the time and in those circumstances”. Claims for doctor medical negligence compensation are resolved by expert medical opinion and not by application to the Injuries Board Ireland – therefore you will need a solicitor to prepare and argue your claim. Find out more about making a claim for doctor medical negligence compensation in Ireland by discussing the circumstances of your injury with an experienced solicitor on our freephone Legal Advice Centre.

Sanofi Acknowledges Class Action Against Them

April 13th, 2017. By Compensation News.

Drug manufacturer Sanofi has issued a statement acknowledging the valproate birth defect claims being made against the company in a French class action.

The drug responsible for prompting the valproate birth defects claims is sold as Depakine in France (since 1967), and as Epilim in Ireland (since 1983). It is commonly known as an anti-epilepsy drug, but is also used to treat bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions. Epilim contains an active ingredient – sodium valproate – that stabilises electrical activity in the brain.

When taken by pregnant mothers, the risk exists that the sodium valproate will be converted to valproic acid. This is then absorbed into bloodstream and adversely affects the health of their unborn child. In Ireland, children born after being exposed to valproic acid have been known to suffer from spina bifida, autism and a range of congenital and development issues under the umbrella term “foetal valproate syndrome”.

The risks were first identified in France in the 1980s, over a decade after the drug was introduced. However, no conclusive evidence was found linking the drug to the children born with defects, so no formal announcement was made to the medical profession. After further investigations, Sanofi informed medical authorities of the risks of the drug in 2006. In spite of the announcement, very few medical professionals were made aware of the side effects until France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – investigated valproate birth defect claims in a case study the Rhone-Alpes region last year.

IGAS´s research revealed just under 500 children born in the region had congenital defects exposed to valproic acid during the period between 2006 and 2014 after being. The report called for a warning to be printed on the outside of each box of Epilim advising pregnant women not to take the drug due to the serious risks to the foetus.
A much deeper study of the risks was conducted by France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM). The results of that study were recently released following an investigation into the health of 8,701 children, born to women known to have taken Depakine while pregnant between 2007 and 2014. The results revealed that up to 4,100 children had been born with “severe malformations” and many hundreds more had died in the womb or been delivered stillborn.

Following the release of the study, Sanofi issued a statement in which the company said: “We are aware of the painful situation confronting the families of children showing difficulties that may have a link with the anti-epileptic treatment of their mother during pregnancy.” However, the statement has not satisfied parents of the children affected by the side effects of Epilim. They sought legal counsel, and together have started a class action of valproate birth defect claims to recover compensation for their children.
In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning in large type on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been born with birth defects due to being exposed to valproic acid. If a member of your family has been affected by this tragic situation, and you would like to know more about valproate birth defect claims, you should speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Family of Baby with Erb’s Palsy Wins Compensation

February 17th, 2017. By Compensation News.

The family of a baby who was born with Erb’s palsy following negligence of the medical staff involved with his birth has been awarded compensation.

A baby boy was born via a natural delivery on 22nd March 2010 despite his mother having requested a birth by Caesarean section. She had requested such an operation because he had been identified as a large baby following an ultrasound, and she wished to avoid the medical complications which this could cause. As she feared, during the delivery process, the boy´s shoulder got trapped in the birth canal. Staff at the hospital-Kerry General Hospital-had to extract him with the assistance of a vacuum cup.

Due to the force applied to free his shoulder, the boy suffered a brachial plexus injury and has since been diagnosed with Erb´s palsy. As a result of this, the boy has a weak right arm that will permanently affect him for the rest of his life. The family sought legal counsel, and the boy´s father made a claim for an Erb´s palsy birth injury against the HSE on his son´s behalf.

The authority in charge of the hospital, the Health Service Executive (HSE) initially denied liability for the boy´s birth injury. period of negotiation agreed to a €530,000 settlement of the claim for an Erb´s palsy birth injury without an admission of liability. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the child´s best interests.

The case was recently heard at the High Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge was informed that the boy had been identified as a very large baby approximately two months before his birth following an ultrasound scan. As a result of his size, his mother had requested a Caesarean section delivery on two consultations and again when she was admitted to Kerry General Hospital in labour to avoid potential complications with his birth. However, these requests were subsequently ignored by health authorities.

Judge Cross also heard details about the boy’s life. The child attends mainstream school, and has learned to write with his left hand. He is also very good at maths. An expert witness who examined the boy’s physical strength testified that the boy is unable to tie shoes or close buttons and will struggle at sports, after which the judge approved the settlement of the boy´s claim for an Erb´s palsy birth injury against the HSE and wished the family well for the future.

Widow Compensated for Failure to Diagnose Husband’s Meningitis

November 24th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A woman, whose husband was told that he was constipated when he was infact suffering from meningitis, is going to be compensated for the misdiagnosis, which resulted in her husband’s death.

Philip Morrissey, aged thirty nine from Kilkenny, visited his general practitioner on the 26th May 2010 with symptoms including a high temperature, an earache and a headache. The GP referred him to the Accident and Emergency Department of St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny. His symptoms progressed to include a high pulse rate and light intolerance.

A few hours after his admittance to the hospital, Mr Morrissey was confused and disoriented. Gail, Mr Morrissey’s wife, told medical staff attending her husband of her concerns, but was told that the symptoms her husband were presenting with were because he was constipated. However, the next morning, the patient was found slumped in his bed. He had had a cardiac arrest during the night, triggered by his undiagnosed streptococcal pneumonia meningitis.

Mrs Morrissey sought legal counsel, and proceeded to make a claim for compensation for her husband’s misdiagnosis – which resulted in his death – against the Health Service Executive (HSE). In her claim, Mrs Morrissey stated that her husband was not seen by any medical staff in the hospital since 3:40pm on the day before his cardiac arrest and death. She also alleged that there was a failure on the part of the hospital to properly consider her husband’s symptoms, which lead to the misdiagnosis and failure to treat the streptococcal pneumonia meningitis.

An investigation was launched by the HSE into the circumstances of Mr Morrissey’s death. After this, the HSE admitted liability for the misdiagnosis and the two parties negotiated a settlement of €455,000. However, before the case could be concluded, the case had to be presented in the High Court due to the nature of Mr Morrissey’s death.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna oversaw the proceedings in Dublin’s High Court, where the details of Mr Morrissey’s death were presented. He proceeded to approve the settlement of compensation, adding that it was a “huge tragedy” for the family, and that though no amount of money could compensate for their loss, it was the best that could be offered by the law.

Claim for Negligent Prescription of Steroids Allowed to Go Ahead

August 7th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A High Court judge has given his permission for a claim for the negligent prescription of steroids to go ahead after denying an application to dismiss the case.

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork was given permission to proceed with her claim for the negligent prescription of steroids after an application to dismiss her claim by the steroids manufacturer – Pfizer – was denied by Mr Justice George Birmingham at the High Court.

Lorna had initially been prescribed the steroid Deltacortril by her GP when she was twenty-seven years old in order to treat the skin disorder vasculitis – a condition in which damaged blood vessels group together and form an irritable and unsightly rash.

After taking Deltacortril for several years, Lorna developed the condition Avascular Necrosis – a known but uncommon adverse reaction to the steroid – a disorder which prevents blood from reaching specific bones, so that the bone tissue dies and the bone eventually crumbles away.

By the time Lorna was thirty-one years old, she had one hip and both knees replaced and her condition had worsened to such a degree that she was confined to a wheelchair and was taking morphine to manage her pain.

Lorna made a compensation claim for the negligent prescription of steroids against her GP – Dr. Michael Madigan – and her consultant doctor at Cork University Hospital – Dr. M Molloy – who continued to prescribe Deltacortril after Dr. Madigan´s death in 1999.

In her claim against the GP, Lorna alleged that Dr. Madigan had not sufficiently investigated her vasculitis disorder and had negligently prescribed Deltacortril tablets when he was (or should have been) knowledgeable of the potential risks of taking the steroids.

Lorna´s claim for the negligent prescription of steroids alleged that Dr. Molloy had continued to prescribe the steroids after Dr. Madigan´s death and that he had failed to identify the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis despite her deteriorating condition.

Lorna also included the Pfizer in her compensation claim – alleging that manufacturer of the steroid  had neglected to warn people taking Deltacortril that continued use of the steroids could result in Avascular Necrosis. Lorna also claimed that neither her doctors nor Pfizer gave any warnings against drinking alcohol while taking the tablets.

Pfizer, Dr. Madigan´s estate, and the HSE (on behalf of the Cork University Hospital and Dr. Molloy) each denied negligence. Pfizer applied to have Lorna´s claim for the negligent prescription of steroids dismissed on the grounds that there had been an “inexcusable delay” in bringing the case to court.

However, after hearing arguments from Lorna´s solicitors and the defendants, Mr Justice George Birmingham decided that the delay was “excusable” because the delay in bringing the case to court had been due by Lorna having to undergo more operations in the recent past.

The extended recovery period from the operations, Judge Birmingham said, had prevented Lorna from instructing her solicitors and was a valid explanation for the delay. The judge denied Pfizer´s application to dismiss the case – and ordered that Lorna´s claim for the negligent prescription of steroids be listed for a hearing in the High Court later in 2014.

Wrongful Death Compensation for Medical Negligence Approved

July 30th, 2014. By Compensation News.

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”.

Compensation for Birth Injuries due to Doctor Negligence Approved by Judge at High Court

November 19th, 2013. By Compensation News.

A High Court judge has approved a second interim payment of compensation for birth injuries due to doctor negligence for an eight-year-old girl, who sustained severe paraplegic cerebral palsy after a paediatrician failed to act on blood test results.

In October 2011, the Sheehan family from Mallow in County Cork had an interim settlement of €1.9 million compensation for birth injuries due to doctor negligence approved in the High Court in respect of an injury claim made on behalf of their eight-year-old daughter, Isabelle.

Isabelle was born by emergency Caesarean Section at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in November 2004 with severe paraplegic cerebral palsy, after the consultant paediatrician treating Isabelle´s mother had failed to act on blood test results which revealed a conflict of antibodies.

At the hearing in 2011, the consultant paediatrician – Dr David Corr – admitted that he had mismanaged the later stages of Catherine Sheehan´s pregnancy, and acknowledged that he should have referred Catherine to an expert in foetal medicine when the test results revealed the potential dangers to Isabelle´s health.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved the original €1.9 million settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to doctor negligence, and adjourned Isabelle´s case for two years to allow time for legislation to be passed which would enable a structured system of compensation to be introduced.

As no such legislation has yet been introduced, Isabelle´s case was heard again recently at the High Court by Mr Justice Kevin Cross; who was told that a second interim payment of compensation for birth injuries due to doctor negligence had been agreed, which would cover Isabelle´s care expenses for the next two years.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the interim payment of €635,000, after being told that Isabelle was keeping up with the other children at her mainstream school and that she was an intelligent and bright young girl. The judge wished Isabelle good luck in the future and adjourned her case for two more years when a further review will be conducted of her needs.

Injury Compensation Claims for Missed Diagnoses top GP Malpractice Cases

August 23rd, 2013. By Compensation News.

A review prepared for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin has found that injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses are the leading reason for GP malpractice cases.

The review – “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” published recently in the British Medical Journal – was compiled with the objective of establishing which areas of primary care in Ireland should be given specific attention when developing future educational strategies and risk management systems for front-line healthcare practitioners.

It found that the most common reason for GP malpractice cases were the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer – specifically lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer – medication errors (in both administration and prescription) and, in children´s injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses, the failure to correctly diagnose meningitis and appendicitis.

The lead researcher for the report – Dr Emma Wallace – is herself a GP, and she acknowledged that reviewing GP malpractice cases may not be the preferred methodology to establish where the most attention was required; however, she did accept that injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses were creating an environment where GPs and front-line healthcare practitioners were acting more defensively.

The review found that more patients are being referred to consultants than before – potentially delaying a correct diagnosis and placing pressure on an under-resourced Irish health service – because of the risk of litigation should a mistake be made. Medical practitioners against whom injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses are made often experience increased stress levels, Dr Wallace said, reducing their effectiveness to diagnose correctly and placing more patients at risk.

It is hoped that “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” provides an insight into the nature of adverse events in hospital outpatients´ departments and GPs surgeries, and the reasons for them occurring. This would then reduce the number of injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses in Ireland and ultimately improve the standard of primary healthcare provided.

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Wrongful Death

July 19th, 2013. By Compensation News.

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for the wrongful death of a woman from County Mayo, who died in February 2009 from a perforated bowel.

Mother-of-thirteen Eileen Maloney (69) from Pullathomas, County Mayo, was admitted to Mayo General Hospital on Sunday February 1st 2009 suffering from severe abdominal pain.

Eileen, who was also suffering from cancer, underwent an x-ray which suggested an obstruction in her small bowel; but it was claimed by the family that the x-ray was not reviewed for the possibility of a bowel perforation – the condition which eventually led to her death.

A CT scan, conducted five days after her admission to hospital, showed that a tumour was causing the obstruction in Eileen´s bowel, but again – the family allege – the possibility of a bowel perforation was not considered. Instead, surgery was scheduled for the following week, from which Eileen died on February 17th.

Following an investigation into Eileen´s death, the family claim they were told by one of the medical team that Eileen´s death could have been avoided – despite her being weak from her cancer treatment – if the perforated bowel had been identified in either the initial x-ray or the subsequent scan and prompt medical attention initiated.

The family consequently made a compensation claim for a wrongful death against the hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE), but the HSE denied liability for the mistakes that led to Eileen´s death. The family persisted with their claim and, just before their case was to be heard in the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard that an out-of-court settlement had been agreed.

Under the terms of the settlement, the HSE will pay Eileen´s family €50,000 compensation for a wrongful death without an admission of liability. After hearing the circumstances of Eileen´s death and expressing his sympathy for the family, Mr Justice Michael Peart approved the settlement – stating that “this was a very, very tragic case”.

First DePuy Hip Replacement Compensation Settlement Awarded

March 10th, 2013. By Compensation News.

A former prison officer has been awarded $8.3 million in the first DePuy hip replacement compensation claim to be heard in court in the US.

The DePuy compensation claim made by Loren Kransky (65) from South Dakota was moved forward ahead of the Multi District Litigation (MDL) due to be heard in Ohio next May, as the claimant is terminally ill and dying from diabetes, heart disease and kidney cancer.

According to solicitors at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Kransky had to undergo a second hip replacement operation – causing him pain and suffering – as a result of high levels of chromium and cobalt in his bloodstream caused by metal-on-metal friction within his DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement system.

It was also claimed that Johnson and Johnson – the parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics – marketed the faulty hip replacement products knowing that the ASR systems were defective, pracitcally accusing them of fraud in addition to negligence which would have entitled Kransky to claim significant punitive damages.

Johnson and Johnson disputed that they were aware ASR hip replacement devices were faulty in 2007 – the year in which Kransky underwent his original DePuy hip replacement operation – and contested Kransky’s claim for on the grounds that Kransky’s pain and suffering was due to his previously-existing medical conditions.

The jury at the Los Angeles Superior Court concluded that Johnson and Johnson had not operated “with malice” by marketing their hip replacement system in 2007, but agreed that the product was defective and awarded Kransky $8 million in settlement of his DePuy hip replacement compensation claim, with a further $338,000 to account for the medical expenses he has incurred to date.

Due to the potential for the precedent of $8 million in compensation for pain and suffering being greatly inflated when claims for claimants who do not have a terminal illness are heard in the MDL action in Ohi, ohnson and Johnson announced immediately after that the company intends to appeal the decision.

Compensation for Delayed Hospital Treatment Approved in Court

November 10th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A settlement of compensation for delayed hospital treatment has been approved at the High Court in the case of Brid Courtney – two years after the brain damaged child was originally awarded an interim payment.

Brid, who is now nine years of age and comes from Ardfert in County Kerry, was born in Tralee General Hospital in February 2003 suffering from brain damage after medical workers at the hospital allegedly failed to act on a sudden and dramatic change in the foetal heart rate pattern.

As a consequence of the drop in heart beat, Brid suffered perinatal asphyxia in the womb and due to the oxygen starvation is now confined to a wheelchair from which she has to be lifted bodily. She is also unable to speak and must rely on the use of her eyes and facial expressions to communicate with her family.

Following a claim for injury due to delayed hospital action taken through her mother – Deirdre – the Health Service Executive agreed to settle the claim without an admission of liability and, in November 2010, Mr Justice John Quirke approved an interim payment of 2 million Euros and adjourned the case for two years to allow for the introduction of periodic payments.

However, a system for periodic compensation payments for catastrophic injuries has still not been passed by government and – two years after the initial payment of compensation for delayed hospital action was approved – the case returned before the court for the approval of a final settlement.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was shown testimony from experts that a further 9 million Euros in compensation for delayed hospital action would be required to provide adequate care for Brid through the remainder of her expected life and, as both Brid´s mother and the Health Service Executive agreed with the expert´s assessment, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement.

Wrong Prescription Leads to Woman’s Death

November 8th, 2012. By Compensation News.

An inquest has told how a Dublin woman died two days after being given the wrong prescription by one of the city´s pharmacies.

Margaret Swaine (64) passed away due to a heart attack in July 2010 after being mistakenly dispensed Tegretol – an anti-convulsant and mood stabilising drug – instead of Trentol, a drug which had been prescribed for Margaret to assist the flow of blood through her body due to a pre-existing heart condition.

The Coroners Court was told Dr Brian Farrell testify that Margaret´s death was due to her heart condition, but the effects of the Tegretol had constituted an “additional stressor”. His proof was supported by University College Dublin´s Professor Patrick Murray, who confirmed that the presence of Tegretol had been a contributing factor to Margaret´s heart attack and said “It is very unlikely that she would have passed away on that given day had she not taken the Tegretol.”

The court was also told the circumstances surrounding how Margaret was dispensed the wrong medicine. Margaret´s friend – Ann Murphy – related how Margaret had come home from the Janet Dillon Pharmacy in Stoneybatter with the tablets which Ann believed were for the treatment of depression. Margaret took the Tegretol tablets three times over the course of the day and became groggy, disorientated and unstable on her feet.

Ann visited the pharmacy and showed the box of tablets to pharmacist Janet Dillon, who was alarmed that the pharmacy had dispensed the wrong medicine and who exchanged the Tegretol for the correct medicine. However, Margaret´s symptoms persisted and the following morning she was discovered sitting on the side of her bed having difficulty breathing. White foam was coming from her mouth and her pulse had slowed. An ambulance was called but attempts to resuscitate Margaret at the Mater Hospital failed.

In court, Janet Dillon stated that a “picking error” by a trainee assistant had been the reason why the wrong medicine was dispensed, but that she checked the medicine before it was dispensed to Margaret and her failure to spot the mistake was attributable to human error. The DPP has decided not to prosecute the pharmacy, but Margaret´s family may be entitled to claim compensation for being dispensed the wrong medicine.

Brain Tumour Delayed Diagnosis Claim Heard in Court

October 30th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A former student, who suffers severe spasticity of the limbs and has eye movement problems allegedly due to the negligence of a Galway hospital, has had his brain tumour delayed diagnosis claim heard in court.

Seamus Walshe Jnr (27) of Taylor´s Hill, Galway, was a 21-year-old student studying construction studies when he first began suffering problems with his eyes in 2006 whenever he looked upwards. His symptoms worsened to the point where upward eye movement left him feeling nauseous and he would start to vomit.

Seamus went to Galway University Hospital with his problems, but was told after a neurological examination that there was nothing seriously wrong with him and he should get used to having problems with his eyes.

Seamus went back to Galway University Hospital later in the year when he started to develop pains in his head and underwent a scan which revealed a brain tumour. He was sent to Dublin´s Beaumont Hospital where he underwent surgery to remove the tumour in May 2007.

However, complication during the brain tumour procedure resulted in severe haemorrhaging around the brain and Seamus was kept in intensive care for nine weeks following surgery. When he began to recover, he was transferred back to Galway University Hospital in November 2007.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court was told that in September 2008 Seamus was sent to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire but, because of the alleged negligent treatment he had received, was confined to a wheelchair with spasticity of the limbs and had problems moving his eyes.

Seamus filed a compensation claim for the delayed diagnosis of his brain tumour through his father, Seamus Snr, claiming that had he had a scan when he first attended the Galway University Hospital, the tumour would have been diagnosed earlier and he would have been referred to the Beaumont Hospital sooner.

A second claim was filed against the Beaumont Hospital for choosing to perform brain surgery when treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy had resulted in long term survival rates of up to 90 percent.

Both the Health Service Executive – on behalf of Galway University Hospital – and the Beaumont Hospital did not accept their liability for Seamus´ injury, but Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that a negotiated settlement of 2.5 million Euros in compensation for the delayed diagnosis of a brain tumour had been agreed without admission of liability.

The settlement of compensation is hoped to provide Seamus with the care he needs for the next three years, after which time a structured periodic payment system would provide for his future care if legislation was passed by the Government in time to allow such a payment procedure.

Medical Misadventure Compensation Awarded

October 18th, 2012. By Compensation News.

The family of a woman who passed away giving birth to her second child has been awarded 850,000 Euros in compensation for medical misadventure following a High Court hearing.

Evelyn Flanagan (38) from Castlebar in County Mayo passed away at Mayo General Hospital on October 19, 2007, following the birth of her daughter Niamh as a result of serious complications. An initial post-mortem suggested that Evelyn´s death was attributable to an amniotic fluid embolism; however Evelyn´s family contested the findings – alleging that the deterioration in her condition was due to a postpartum haemorrhage which could have been prevented with greater care.

Inquest proceedings in 2008 and 2009 lead to a verdict of death by medical adventure, following which Evelyn´s husband – Padraic Flanagan – filed a claim for medical misadventure compensation against the Health Service Executive and consultant obstetrician, Dr Murtada Mohamed. It was  claimed in the action that Evelyn suffered a postpartum haemorrhage as a result of a rupture of her uterus which was not detected or adequately dealt with.

Mayo General Hospital at first denied that negligence had occurred but, as Mr Justice Michael Peart heard at the High Court, an acknowledgement of liability had been made during mediation prior to court proceedings. The judge awarded the family 850,000 Euros in compensation for medical misadventure to include the highest amount allowable 25,395 Euros for mental distress and payments for each of Evelyn´s two children as they grow older.

Compensation Claims against the State Forecast Expected to Rise

October 15th, 2012. By Compensation News.

The State Claims Agency has predicted that compensation claims against the State for hospital negligence could increase by more than a quarter in 2012.

Commenting in the Clinical Indemnity Scheme newsletter, Ciaran Breen – Director of the State Claims Agency – said that “It appears that people, injured as a result of a medical negligence event, are more likely to sue doctors, dentists and hospitals in these more difficult economic times” after attributing the increase on the economic downturn.

Mr Breen´s remarks were in complete contrast to those made by Patricia Byron – Chief Executive of injuriesboard.ie -after the Injuries Board Interim Report was released last month, which saw only a 4.1 percent increase in claims over the first six months and not the “recessionary spike” that had been predicted. However, both public officials referred to the fact that there had been a significant increase in claims related to the DePuy hip replacement recall.

As 345 compensation claims were filed against the State in the first six months of 2012 (as opposed to 542 in the whole of 2011), and the Statute of Limitations expired in August 2012 for many victims of the DePuy hip replacement recall, Mr Breen´s outlook may appear unjustifiably depressing. However, some compensation claims filed against the State are finding their way to court long after they might previously have been time-barred.

In July this year, the Supreme Court upheld a High Court judgement in favour of Olivia Kearney who, forty-three years beforehand, had went throufh a symphysiotomy procedure which the High Court determined was “entirely unjustified and unwarranted”. Should the remaining two hundred survivors of the symphysiotomy procedure be permitted to make compensation claims against the State, Mr Breen´s forecast could be very conservative indeed.

Compensation claims against the State for hospital negligence account for a small number of claims managed by the State Claims Agency – the majority are for public liability and employer liability – but account for almost 90 percent of the value of claims each year. In 2011, the value of the 542 compensation claims against the State for medical negligence amounted to 860 million Euros.

Heart Surgery Medical Negligence Compensation Awarded by Court

June 16th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A court in Pasadena, California, has awarded a woman who grew up with an avoidable heart condition due to “baffling” post-natal surgery one million dollars in heart surgery medical negligence compensation.

The woman, who was not named in court, was born in the Huntingdon Hospital in May 1979 with a heart problem. An operation the day following her delivery was supposed to repair the septal wall which separated the left and right chambers of the heart; however the Los Angeles County Superior Court heard that during the operation the vena cava artery – the artery which carries de-oxygenised blood to the heart – was connected to the wrong side of the septal wall and, as a consequence, the flow of blood was directed into the heart´s left chamber instead of the right.

Due to the surgical error, the girl grew up with permanent oxygen deprivation which caused hypoxia, physical disabilities and other health problems, and it was not until 2007 that the cause of the problem was identified. The court heard that the claimant had surgery shortly before her thirtieth birthday in 2009 to correct the problem, and subsequently sought legal advice about making a claim for heart surgery medical negligence compensation in relation to the initial error.

The defence for the negligent surgeon – Dr Alan Gazzaniga – argued that it was too late to make a claim for heart surgery medical negligence compensation according to the Statute of Limitations; however the claimant´s counsel successfully argued that the woman could not have been expected to known that her heart condition was the result of Dr Gazzaniga´s medical negligence prior to the discovery of the error in 2007 – with the claim subsequently made within the Statute of Limitations after the discovery of the negligent heart surgery.

In court, the physician who corrected the heart mistake described Dr. Gazzaniga´s work in court as “baffling” and “incorrect” and along with two other cardiothoracic surgeons, a cardiologist, a paediatric cardiologist and a vocational rehabilitation specialist, argued that the woman´s heart condition and subsequent problems could have been avoided had it not been for the negligence of Dr. Gazzaniga.

After three weeks of litigation, the jury at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena returned a verdict in favour of the claimant and awarded her one million dollars in heart surgery medical negligence compensation, having found Dr. Gazzaniga guilty of medical negligence by demonstrating a lack of skill – or the ability to demonstrate that skill – during the first surgical operation.

Brain Operation Negligence Compensation Awarded

May 23rd, 2012. By Compensation News.

An ex-paramedic, who was left severely disabled after doctors removed the wrong part of his brain, has accepted a seven figure settlement of compensation for negligent brain operation from the NHS Trust responsible for the error.

John Tunney (63) from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, underwent the procdure in April 2008 after an MRI scan had revealed abnormalities around his pituitary gland. However, instead of extracting the tumour, surgeons took away healthy tissue during the operation which resulted in John´s brain haemorrhaging.

The error left John partly blind and requiring 24 hour care. He later found that the operation had not even been necessary as doctors had failed to check the results of a blood test which would have revealed that John was suffering from prolactinoma – a benign and common pituitary tumour which can be treated with tablets.

After taking legal guidance, John – who worked for the West Midlands Ambulance Service as a paramedic for 23 years – made a claim for negligent brain operation compensation against the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and, after an investigation, the NHS Trust admitted liability for the dual error.

John´s solicitors entered into negotiations with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust over how much compensation for negligent brain operation should be awarded and, although details of the final settlement have not been released, a settlement in excess of one million pounds has been agreed.

Negligent Foetal Monitoring Procedure Compensation Approved in Court

April 27th, 2012. By Compensation News.

An eleven-year-old girl, who suffered catastrophic injuries due to avoidable errors made prior to her delivery, has had a settlement of compensation for negligent foetal monitoring procedure approved at London´s High Court.

Milly Evans from Cranwell in Lincolnshire was given birth to at the Lincoln County Hospital on 1st March 2001, but shortly after her birth suffered a seizure which resulted in her developing cerebral palsy. Her injury was of such severity that Milly is now restricted to a wheelchair, requires 24 hour care and communicates through sophisticated eye-gaze equipment.

The seizure was put down to negligent observation shortly before the delivery which, if the baby’s heart had been properly monitored, would have shown that the foetus was distressed and Milly´s birth would have been brought forward – avoiding her catastrophic injuries.

Although United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust accepted liability for Milly´s injuries, the amount of compensation for negligent foetal monitoring was contested and, due to the delay, Milly´s father – Andy Evans – had to give up his career as a Red Arrows pilot.

Sir Robert Nelson at the High Court heard that an agreement had now been reached on a compensation for negligent foetal monitoring procedure package which consisted of a lump sum payment of 5.86 million pounds and lifelong annual periodic payments increasing over time to 204,000 pounds per year.

Speaking after Sir Robert Nelson had approved the settlement, the Evans family said that the money would be used to construct a properly adapted home which would be big enough for Milly to have access to all the rooms and include a hydrotherapy pool.

Windpipe Injury Operation Negligence Compensation for Mother

March 18th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A woman, who had to undergo a tracheostomy operation after a negligent doctor severed a nerve in her neck in a previous surgical procedure, has won an undisclosed settlement of compensation for windpipe injury operation negligence.

Joanne Roche (42) from Bridlington, East Yorkshire, underwent the initial operation in February 2008 at the Scarborough Royal Infirmary when she was admitted for routine surgery to remove a thyroid gland. However, when she woke up from the anaesthetic, Joanne knew immediately that something was not correct.

The surgeon who had carried out the operation – Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti – had severed a nerve to Joanne´s vocal chords, which were blocking her airways, leaving her struggling to breathe whenever she lay back and unable to talk.

Although she was permitted to leave hospital, and even return to her part-time job as a health-care assistant, Joanne´s condition failed to improve. Four months after her initial operation she had to undergo a tracheostomy procedure to insert a tube into her throat to enable her to breathe more clearly.

Joanne, initially had no intention of making a claim for windpipe injury operation negligence compensation, but after the tracheostomy had been inserted, Joanne was unable to speak without placing a hand over the opening in her throat, has become more prone to infections and has to avoid family events – such as swimming – where there is a risk that water may get into her lungs.

After taking legal counsel, Joanne made a medical negligence windpipe operation claim against Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti and the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Trust. In the course of constructing the claim, Joanne´s solicitors found that Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti was not skilled in thyroid surgery and her operation had been done in half the time it should have.

Joanne filed a complaint to the General Medical Council, who suspended the doctor from practising. After such a clear indication of liability, the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust made an undisclosed offer of compensation for windpipe injury operation negligence which Joanne accepted and which will enable her to afford special breathing apparatus so that she may enjoy swimming with her children once again.

GP Malpractice Claim Investigated by Medical Council

January 20th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A GP malpractice claim is being investigated by the Medical Council after a Dublin GP allegedly over-prescribed psychoactive benzodiazepines.

It is alleged that Dr Mohammed Ahmed Khan, who practices in Wicklow Street, Dublin, prescribed up to four times the recommended dosage of drugs such as Valium to patients suffering from anxiety and depression. The Medical Council are also looking into claims that Dr Khan did not make adequate enquiries as to whether any of the patients he was prescribing these drugs to were already being treated by another doctor.

Dr Khan has also been accused of poor professional performance due to his alleged failure to send patients with a dependency on benzodiazepines to drug treatment centres or specialist substance misuse practitioners and due to his reliance on prescription drugs where an alternative form of treatment may have been more beneficial to the patient or in their best interests.

The Medical Council regulates doctors to practise medicine in the Republic of Ireland.  Its statutory role, as explained in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registered medical practitioners.

NHS Negligence Compensation Claims in UK Against on the Rise

January 20th, 2012. By Compensation News.

Increased awareness of patient rights has resulted in a serious increase in claims for medical negligence against the National Health Service (NHS). According to UK government figures, the number of claims made in the past five years has gone up from 5,697 to 8,655 per year, and has forced the NHS Litigation Authority to seek additional funding from the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansbury.

Tom Fothergill, financial director of the NHS Litigation Authority, confessed that marketing by “No Win, No Fee” solicitors had contributed to the public body´s financial shortfall and had added a premium to legal costs. However, he was also eager to point out that legislation which linked the wages of claimants´ carers to earnings rather than inflation has also led to increased payouts.

With approximately 100 claims for NHS negligence compensation a year relating to birth injury compensation, and the average value of each claim close to 6 million pounds in the lifetime of the child, an improvement in the survival rates of brain damaged babies – who will require a lifetime of care – has also placed significant strain on the NHS Litigation Authority´s budget.

A further 185 million pounds will be needed by the NHS Litigation Authority to prevent it running out of money by the end of the financial year, a sum which has been approved by Mr Lansbury and health minister Lord Howe. Following the publication of the bail-out Lord Howe said “Following a review of claims, we have made additional funds available to the NHS Litigation Authority in order to make sure that those claimants who are entitled to compensation receive it in a timely way.”

Birth Brain Damage Compensation Settlement Approved

October 23rd, 2011. By Compensation News.

An eleven year old girl, who was starved of oxygen during her birth and is now permanently brain damaged, has had a birth brain damage compensation settlement of 1.75 million pounds approved at the High Court.

The anonymous girl was born at West Sussex Hospital in 2000 but, during her delivery, obstetric staff failed to notice signs of foetal distress. The girl is not able to walk or talk, and uses an electric scooter for mobility and a computer to communicate.

“I am constantly amazed by the triumph of hope over adversity” ssaid Mr Justice Butterfield, as he approved the  birth brain damage compensation settlement against the West Sussex NHS Trust which includes an immediate lump sum payment of 1.75 million pounds and annual payments to fund a lifetime of care.

Mr Justice Butterfield also had words for the girl´s parents, stating that “The devotion and care of her parents is undoubted and we very much hope that this sum of money will provide her with the very best possible future.”

Settlement for Cerebral Palsy at Birth of 1.4 Million Euros Approved in Court

October 16th, 2011. By Compensation News.

A young woman, who was found to have cerebral palsy shortly after her birth, has had a settlement for cerebral palsy of 1.4 million Euros approved in the High Court.

Deborah French, aged 24, of Ballymitty, County Wexford, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after her birth in August 1987 at Wexford General Hospital. Her parents brought a claim for birth injury compensation against consultant obstetrician Harry Murphy and the South Eastern Health Board, claiming that Dr Murphy had been negligent in the hours leading up to and during Deborah´s birth.

The case was settled without an admission of liability by the defendants, a course of action supported by Mr Justice John Quirke as he approved the settlement, stating that the conflicting opinions offered by medical experts may have put the family at risk of getting nothing in a trial.

The judge recommended that the funds should be released to Deborah´s parents – Ann and John French – in annual increments of 100,000 Euros.

Missed Hand Injury Compensation Approved

September 10th, 2011. By Compensation News.

A renowned magician, whose doctor´s overlooked a severed tendon in his hand which threatened to end his career, has been awarded 15,000 pounds in an out-of-court settlement of his missed hand injury compensation claim.

Kyle Summers (40) from Burbage, Wiltshire, had attended hospital in Nuneaton after a cup he had been cleaning shattered in his hand. Medical staff at the hospital took an x-ray of Kyle´s left hand to ensure that there was no china lodged in his thumb and then stitched the wound up and sent Kyle home.

After Kyle started to experience difficulty performing his magic tricks, he decided to have the hand looked at by his GP, but because the notes made at the hospital indicated that there was no damage to the tendon – even though the laceration on Kyle´s thumb had been deep enough to reach the bone – the GP and a physiotherapist decided that the tendon had swollen.

It was after a further check-up six weeks later that the actual cause of the problem was identified. Kyle had to undergo two operations to insert a rod in his wrist and attach a thicker tendon before the injury started to heal. Only after months of intense specialist physiotherapy did Kyle gain the dexterity in his hand to allow him to return to work.

After seeking legal counsel, Kyle sued the George Eliot NHS Trust for missed hand injury compensation and, in an out-of-court settlement, received 15,000 pounds for the missed diagnosis of his severed tendon.


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