Home ireland Pensioner had to wait 10 hours for urgent medical review after fall, court hears

Pensioner had to wait 10 hours for urgent medical review after fall, court hears

Pensioner had to wait 10 hours for urgent medical review after fall, court hears

The family of a 78-year-old woman who claimed she was not seen by any doctor for 10 hours at a Dublin hospital when she was brought there after a fall has settled a High Court action over her death.

Mother-of-four and grandmother Frances Farrell was attending an event when she was struck on the head by metal and fell off a five-foot stage to the ground.

She was brought by ambulance to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, but it was claimed she was not the subject of any medical review until the early hours of the next day.

The Farrell family counsel, Alistair Rutherdale BL, told the High Court it was their case there was an alleged 10-hour delay in medically assessing Mrs Farrell at Connolly Hospital and her condition deteriorated. He said by the time she “was ultimately seen, the position was irreversible”.

He said Mrs Farrell was transferred to another hospital at around 6am the day after the fall and was admitted under a consultant neurosurgeon. She underwent an urgent procedure but testing over the next few days showed extensive injury to the brain stem. She died on December 22nd, 2019.

Her son Kevin Farrell, of Lucan, Co Dublin, had on behalf of his father and the Farrell family sued the HSE.

Mrs Farrell had been brought to Connolly Hospital by ambulance on the evening of December 11th, 2019 complaining of pain in her mid-spine. She was alert but could not remember the incident and had a cut in the back of her head.

At the hospital it was claimed Mrs Farrell was triaged as Category 3, but it was claimed she should have been categorised as higher and have had an urgent medical review.

It was claimed that hospital notes indicated Mrs Farrell was given medication, had an ECG and was under observation.

Brain scan

She had a CT brain scan in the early hours after her condition deteriorated, and she was accepted for transfer to the neurosurgery department at another hospital and was transferred about 6.00am.


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In the proceedings it was claimed that there was a failure at Connolly Hospital to carry out a full and complete triage process on the pensioner.

There was also it was claimed a failure to consider that she was a person who had been struck by heavy objects, had fallen from a stage and was on blood thinning medications and was a clear risk of a brain hematoma.

The hospital allegedly failed to comply with their own assessment of Triage category 3 and with full assessment within one hour.

All the claims were denied. The court heard a settlement was reached after mediation and the matter was before the court for the division of the statutory mental distress payment of €35,000 only.