IS IT TIME YET TO CALL IT “ENOUGH!” ?

If this blog touches on any issue of interest to you please do not hesitate to contact us at nicholas@oshearussell.ie for some preliminary guidance and advices.

 ENOUGH

The latest reports relate to the death of Susan Magee while undertaking effective hernia surgery.   During a Coroner’s ‘hearing into her death, the presiding Coroner focused in on the confusion that occurred in a “hand over” procedure which saw Mrs. Magee left in hospital without a Consultant’s visit for over 48 hours.   The late Mrs. Magee’s daughter has encouraged people to “trust their instincts” when dealing with the Medical Profession.

This report followed quickly on yet another case where compensation was awarded to a boy (aged 10) left to live with cerebral palsy due to negligence around the conduct of a Caesarean Section and, specifically, resulting in shortcomings in the monitoring of the boy’s mum on the lead up to the procedure.    The unfortunate mother gave evidence of delay in dealing with the emergency around the birth of her son “due to midwives chatting on the corridor and a locked theatre room” in Mullingar’s Midland Regional Hospital.   Commenting on a significant compensation settlement figure the boy’s mother commented that it was “dreadful” to think it had taken so long for the Family to get to the settlement stage and “yet with no admittance of liability” and no apology.

There was a litany of cases where Hospitals and Medical Personnel have been negligent with devastating consequences.   We have reported on a number of such cases over the last few years.   In the last eighteen months we have noticed what appears to be a significant increase in such cases which presumably coincide with people becoming aware of their rights and of screaming “ENOUGH”!

Who recalls the very sad recent reports surrounding the death of Melissa Hamilton, a young mother who died of breast cancer after a missed opportunity to diagnose the disease. In the late Mrs. Hamilton’s case the Court heard heart breaking evidence from her husband in circumstances where a settlement of €900,000 for her children was approved.   While these monies will be of little consolation to Mr. Hamilton or his children they may at least help with some of the practical challenges faced by them.   Mrs. Hamilton passed away at the age of 34 years just eight days after given birth to her third child.

The claim was initiated against Mrs. Hamilton’s GP and the HSE (Letterkenny General Hospital).

There is a reality with these Claims.  They are tragedies and no money can compensate those who suffer as a result of medical malpractice.   No compensation cannot make up for the often devastating consequences of such negligence.

While all of us without exception have sympathy for those working in the medical profession the fact of the matter, nevertheless, is that we as Citizens rely on those Professionals who look after us when we are at our most vulnerable and there can be no tolerance level for shoddy service.

It is only through public outcry and vigorously pursued litigation that we can hope to achieve a model of Health Care that we can be confident of and have pride in.

For those of you who have been following our Medical Blog you will recall some of the following examples of tragic outcomes from cases we have reported in the last eighteen months:-

  • In February 2014 we heard an apology from Dr. Philip Crowley the National Director of Quality and Patient Safety at the Health Service Executive for issues surrounding childbirth at Portlaoise Hospital.   It followed on an RTE Programme highlighting tragic failings in the standard of care there which led to four baby deaths.   Various recommendations had been made from the tragic death of Mark Molloy but these were not implemented.   It was found that the HSE recommended a ratio of one midwife to 28 women was disregarded in Portlaoise Hospital where there was one midwife per 75 expectant mothers.
  • In the same month there was the very sad case of Eileen Brady from Cavan who was admitted to the hospital there and whose medical records seem to have be completely disregarded so that she was improperly treated leading to her death.
  • In April 2014 we heard of the case of a Dublin woman who was given wrong blood products.
  • In the same month there was a case brought on behalf of Mary Malee an infant born at Mayo General Hospital who was left suffering from Cerebral Palsy resulting from oxygen deprivation which, in turn, was a result of a failure of communication and tardiness in the response to her mother’s condition and failure to do a Caesarean procedure in time.
  • The following month May 2014 a Judge approved a Settlement of €140,000 for a Special Olympian whose knee fracture was misdiagnosed at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan so that her condition worsened considerably before intervention leaving her with some adverse sequelae.
  • July of the same year saw the case of Patrick Malone from Carlow who brought a case when his wife Helen died at St. Luke’s Hospital due to a delay in carrying out an operation.   The Judge observed that Helen was left to “languish in pain” and ended up dying of systemic septicaemia and multiple organ failure.
  • In October 2014 there was the case of Dylan Kenny whose delivery was negligently delayed at Waterford Hospital resulting in oxygen deprivation and the onset of foetal distress.   Dylan was left with Cerebral Palsy and with difficulty communicating and a complete lack of independence.
  • In February of this year the High Court approved compensation for a mismanaged birth at Waterford Regional Hospital of €2million in favour of a young boy from Mooincoin whose birth had been mismanaged at the hospital.
  • In the following month of March 2015 liability was found on the part of a Public Health Nurse and the HSE as a result of failure to act in relation to a baby with symptoms of hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
  • In May of this year we had another sad case of a little girl born at National Maternity Hospital who was left with Cerebral Palsy.  In this, case, one of the principal issues was the misuse of a drug known as syntocinon which is the brand name of oxytocin.   While the drug can be used it needs to be used, with care and due diligence.

We say “ENOUGH!” Do you?

 

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