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Friday, September 22, 2023

Man who sued over care at two hospitals settles case for €1.25m

A man who sued the HSE over the care he received at two hospitals after he fell while fixing a roof has settled a High Court action for €1.25 million.

It was claimed the man developed meningitis and suffered alleged profound injuries. All the claims were denied.

The man’s counsel John Finlay SC, instructed by Dundon Callanan solicitors, told the court it was their case that if the man had received antibiotics when he went to Nenagh General Hospital complaining of hurting his ribs, “all of the catastrophic consequences” could have been avoided.

The man, who cannot be identified by order of the court, ended up with meningitis and suffered profound injuries as a result, Counsel said.

The settlement, which Counsel said was reached after mediation, was without an admission of liability. Liability, he added, was fully contested.

Standard of care

The man had, through his wife, sued the HSE over the care he received at Nenagh General Hospital, Co Tipperary and later at University Hospital Limerick in February 2017.

It was claimed the man underwent a horrific ordeal. He attended the Nenagh General Hospital a day after his fall and an X-ray was taken.

It was claimed the man was later contacted about the alleged abnormal X-ray report, which allegedly suggested a lung-type injury and no rib fractures. He was advised about pain relief with a further review planned for two days later, the court heard.

However, he was later found slumped over a chair at home and was brought by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick.

He suffered seizures and was transferred to the High Dependency Unit where it was found he had a positive blood culture with streptococcus pneumonia the next day.

A lumbar puncture indicated a bacterial infection and an MRI later concluded there was evidence of cerebral vasculitis secondary to pneumococcal meningitis.

The man had prolonged treatment in hospital, the court was told.

In the proceedings it was claimed that there was an alleged failure to recognise the significance of the symptoms presented at Nenagh General Hospital and there was an alleged failure to consider pneumonia as a possibility.

It was further claimed the man was not recalled on receipt of the X-ray report to commence antibiotics and there was an alleged failure to intervene in a timely fashion with intravenous antibiotics and this allegedly contributed to him developing meningitis.

Against University Hospital Limerick, it was claimed there was an alleged failure to appreciate the man had developed meningitis and his seizures were due to intracranial infection and sepsis.

All the claims were denied.

Counsel told the court there was “a stark difference” between the medical evidence on both sides.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Paul Coffey said considering the litigation risk involved, the offer was fair and reasonable.

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