Settlement Approved of Compensation for Brain Damage due to Medical Negligence

A High Court judge in Ireland has approved an interim €1.5 million settlement of compensation for brain damage due to medical negligence at a Dublin hospital.

Martin Byrne (52) from Swords in County Dublin was admitted to the Mater University Hospital in December 2010 to undergo surgery to resolve his angina. The surgery initially appeared successful but, when pacing wires were removed five days later, Martin suffered a heart attack caused by internal bleeding.

Following the heart attack, Martin´s heart stopped for fifteen minutes – during which time his brain was deprived of oxygen. He went into a coma from which he did not awaken until February 2011, when it was discovered that he had suffered profound brain damage. Martin is now cared for full-time by his wife Una, who has given up her job to support him.

As he is unable to legally represent himself, Una claimed compensation for brain damage due to medical negligence on Martin´s behalf – alleging that the junior medical staff who had removed the pacing wires from Martin´s heart were inexperienced, and that their lack of skill resulted in the internal bleeding that led to the heart attack and subsequent deprivation of oxygen.

It took over three years for the Mater University Hospital to acknowledge its liability for Martin´s injury, after which an interim settlement of compensation for brain damage due to medical negligence was agreed. However, as the claim was made on behalf of a claimant legally unable to represent themselves, the settlement first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Martin´s best interests.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard about Martin´s background – that he was a former taxi driver and father of four who, prior to his heart attack, had been an active man who enjoyed camping with his family and scuba diving. Una told Judge Cross “we thought it was the beginning of the rest of our lives as our children were working or at college”.

Judge Cross was also told the details of the interim settlement of compensation for brain damage due to medical negligence. The interim settlement of €1.5 million will cover Martin´s medical and rehabilitation costs for the next three years while reports are compiled on his future needs. Then he will either receive a lump sum settlement of the claim or periodic payments for the rest of his life.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for brain damage due to medical negligence and adjourned the case – wishing the family well for the future.