The claim of Helen Malone who died from systemic sepsis and organ failure due to a perforated bowel was settled against St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny for a settlement figure of €165,000 which was ruled by the High Court.   This very sad case dealt with the issue of failure to operate on a patient in a timely fashion.   Mrs. Malone was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital with a Bowel problem.   Her Consultant postponed surgery rather than undertaking it immediately.   Unfortunately Mrs. Malone developed systemic sepsis which led to organ failure. The cause was a perforated bowel.

The Consultant himself was found by the Medical Council to be guilty of four charges of Professional Negligence.

Notwithstanding this the HSE continued to deny liability for some considerable period which was disappointing.   It was ultimately accepted by the HSE that the care provided by the Consultant fell below acceptable standards but this admission came just prior to the Hearing of the Court action.   It was accepted that, on balance, had the Surgery proceeded when it should have Mrs. Malone would have survived.

Delay and the implications of delay are often legitimate cause for a claim of Medical Negligence.

Issues with failure to act also arose arose in the case of  Isabella Sheehan and eight year old who brought a case through her parents against the Bon Secour Maternity Hospital, Cork arising out of difficulties with her birth in 2004.

In relation to Isabella test results revealed a sudden increase in the presence of antibiotics in her mother’s blood. The Pediatric Surgeon failed to act on these results in a timely fashion and Isabella was unfortunately born suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

It was accepted that if Isabella had been referred to an expert in foetal medicine by the Paediatric Consultant the cause of the antibiotic level present in the mother’s blood could have been identified and any difficulties avoided.


*solicitors may not charge fees of levy other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement

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