Archive for December 2013

Family Settle Claim for the Failure to Treat pre-Eclampsia

A family has settled a compensation claim for the failure to treat pre-eclampsia that resulted in the wrongful death of a wife and mother.

On 20th September 2010, Dhara Kivlehan (29) was admitted to Sligo General Hospital for the birth of her first child. At the time of her admission, Dhara was two weeks passed her due date and exhibiting symptoms consistent with pre-eclampsia – high blood pressure, fluid retention around the feet and ankles (oedema) and abnormal quantities of protein in her urine.

Blood tests conducted on Dhara indicated that she had abnormal liver and kidney functions (further indicators of pre-eclampsia), but the results of the blood test were not communicated to Dhara´s doctors for twelve hours. The morning following her admission, Dhara gave birth to her son – Dior – and was transferred to a side room.

It was during the thirty-six hours that Dhara spent in the side room that her condition deteriorated. She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Sligo General Hospital at 4.45pm on the day after giving birth to her son; but, at 11.00pm that night, Dhara´s condition became critical. She was air-lifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where she died of multiple organ failure four days later.

Dhara´s husband – Michael Kivlehan from Dromahair, County Sligo – made a compensation claim for the failure to treat pre-eclampsia; alleging that the treatment Dhara received in the side room had been inadequate due to a lack of communication and a failure to act. Sligo General Hospital denied that there had been a failure to acknowledge the significance of Dhara´s deterioration or to treat her condition appropriately, and a date for a High Court hearing was scheduled.

Shortly before Michael´s claim for the failure to treat pre-eclampsia was due to be heard, the Health Service Executive admitted that there had been shortcomings in the care provided for Dhara at Sligo General Hospital and a settlement of compensation was negotiated. As part of the settlement, Michael insisted that an apology to the family be read aloud in court.

Consequently, at Dublin High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard the circumstances of Dhara´s wrongful death and that Michael´s claim for the failure to treat pre-eclampsia had been settled for €800,000. The apology from the HSE was then read out to the family. Before closing the hearing Judge Irvine expressed her sympathy to Michael and Dior and criticised the HSE for “holding out until almost the bitter end” before admitting liability and for causing the family unnecessary distress.

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Widow Awarded Compensation for Misdiagnosis of Heart Attack

A grieving widow is to receive £100,000 compensation for the misdiagnosis of a heart attack after her husband received inadequate treatment prior to his death in 2009.

Ian Jardine (58) died at his home in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, a week after attending the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn complaining of a crushing pain in his chest and a shortness of breath.

Ian´s condition was diagnosed as being musculoskeletal in origin, and he was advised to attend the hospital´s chest clinic if the symptoms persisted.

“Anxious” and “in considerable pain”, Ian twice visited his GPs surgery, but declined an ambulance to take him to hospital when he returned from the second visit on 19th June 2009. He died later that evening from a coronary thrombosis.

Ian´s widow – Sharon Jardine – made a claim for compensation for the misdiagnosis of a heart attack and, in April this year, Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust admitted that if Ian´s condition had been diagnosed correctly he would have survived.

The settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of a heart attack was made with full admission of liability and an apology – a spokesperson for the hospital Trust saying “We wish to apologise to Mrs Jardine and her family and to extend our deep regret for the shortcomings in her husband’s care.”

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Settlement of Claim for Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries Approved by Judge

A judge at Dublin High Court has approved the settlement of a claim for cerebral palsy birth injuries and criticised the State Claims Agency for taking so long to resolve the case.

On 22nd July 2007, Dylan Gaffney was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in a poor condition after an emergency Caesarean Section had been performed on his mother – Jean. Dylan´s birth injuries were exacerbated by there being no paediatrician immediately available to provide adequate resuscitation and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to being deprived of oxygen in the womb.

Dylan´s mother had previously requested a Caesarean Section delivery for Dylan, as her first daughter had been born by emergency C-Section after 51 hours of labour, and she had miscarried a second child. Her obstetrician had dissuaded her from having one, despite an ultrasound two days before Dylan´s birth indicating that he weighed nine pounds, four ounces.

On the day of Dylan´s birth, Jean Gaffney had been admitted into the hospital in the morning after her waters spontaneously burst. She was administered Syntocinon to accelerate her contractions, but this had the effect of increasing the level of distress Dylan was experiencing in the womb. Rather than conduct an emergency Caesarean Section immediately, medical staff at the hospital waited until after 2.00pm in the afternoon to deliver Dylan.

After seeking legal advice, Jean – from Kilcohan Park in Waterford – made a compensation claim for cerebral palsy birth injuries on behalf of her son against the Waterford Regional Hospital and the Health Service executive (HSE). Jean´s solicitor followed up the claim by writing to the State Claims Agency with the evidence of negligence supporting the claim, but the State Claims Agency denied that there had been negligence and refused to consider Jean´s compensation claim for cerebral palsy birth injuries.

Court proceedings were issued while Jean and her partner – Thomas Hayes – put their lives aside to care for Dylan. But shortly before the compensation claim for cerebral palsy birth injuries was due to be heard, liability was admitted and negotiations commenced to agree a financial settlement.

At the Dublin High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that a lump sum payment of €8.5 million had been agreed to settle the claim for cerebral palsy birth injuries. Judge Irvine approved the settlement, but criticised the conduct of the State Claims Agency for the delay in admitting liability, and causing additional stress for Dylan and his family. She said that this was the second case within a week where the actions of the State Claims Agency were “highly regrettable”.

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