A former student, who suffers severe spasticity of his limbs and has eye movement restricted allegedly due to the negligence of a Galway hospital, has had his delayed diagnosis of a brain tumour claim heard in court.
Seamus Walshe Jnr (27) of Taylor´s Hill, Galway, was a 21-year-old student in a construction studies course when he first started suffering problems with his eyes in 2006 whenever he looked upwards. His symptoms deteriorated to the extent that upward eye movement left him feeling nauseous and he would start to vomit.
Seamus attended Galway University Hospital with his problems, but was informed after a neurological examination that there was nothing badlly wrong with him and he should get used to having problems with his eyes.
Seamus returned to Galway University Hospital later in the year when he started to develop pains in his head and underwent a scan which uncovered a brain tumour. He was referred to Dublin´s Beaumont Hospital where he underwent a surgical procedure to remove the tumour in May 2007.
However, complication during the brain tumour operation caused severe haemorrhaging around the brain and Seamus had to remain in intensive care for nine weeks following surgery. When he started to recuperate, he was returned to Galway University Hospital in November 2007.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court heard that in September 2008 Seamus was sent to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire however, because of the alleged negligent treatment he had received, was confined to a wheelchair with spasticity of the limbs and had trouble moving his eyes.
Seamus made a compensation claim for the delayed diagnosis of his brain tumour through his father, Seamus Snr, claiming that had he had a scan when he first attended the Galway University Hospital, the tumour would have been diagnosed earlier and he would have been referred to the Beaumont Hospital at an earlier date.
A second claim was made against the Beaumont Hospital for choosing to perform brain surgery when treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy normally results in long term survival rates of up to 90 percent.
Both the Health Service Executive – on behalf of Galway University Hospital – and Beaumont Hospital denied their liability for Seamus´ injury, but Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that a negotiated settlement of 2.5 million Euros in compensation for the delayed diagnosis of a brain tumour had been agreed without admission of liability by any party.
The settlement of compensation is intended to provide Seamus with the care he needs for the next three years, after which time a structured periodic payment system would provide for his future care if new legislation was brought in by the Government in time to allow such a payment procedure.