Settlement of Claim for the Misdiagnosis of a Perforated Bowel Approved in Court

A €50,000 settlement of a wrongful death claim for the misdiagnosis of a perforated bowel has been approved in the Dublin High Court.

The family of Eileen Maloney from Pullathomas in County Mayo made their claim for the misdiagnosis of a perforated bowel following the death of the sixty-nine year old mother of thirteen in February 2009 at the Mayo General Hospital.

Eileen, who was being treated for cancer at the time, was admitted to the Mayo General Hospital on February 1st 2009 after complaining of severe abdominal pain. An x-ray was taken after her admission which showed an obstruction in Eileen´s bowel, but no consultant was available to examine the x-ray as it was the weekend.

Eileen remained in hospital and a CT scan taken on the 6th of February confirmed the presence of a tumour, but a perforated bowel was not checked for on either the scan or the original x-ray. Eileen´s condition was diagnosed nearly a week later – when she underwent emergency surgery for a perforated bowel.

Eileen died on February 17th – five days after her surgery – and her family made a claim for the misdiagnosis of a perforated bowel; alleging they were told by a member of the medical team that Eileen would have survived the operation, despite her cancer, and lived for a further six months had the perforated bowel been diagnosed sooner.

The family´s claim for Eileen´s wrongful death and their unnecessary mental anguish was initially contested by the Health Service Executive. However, Mr Justice Michael Peart at Dublin High Court heard that a settlement of the claim for the misdiagnosis of a perforated bowel had been agreed between the two parties without admission of liability.

After hearing the circumstances of Eileen´s death, Judge Peart approved the settlement of compensation, commenting that it had been a “very, very tragic case” and extending his sympathies to the family.