Bernadette Surlis, 60 years old, has seen her settlement of €5 million approved in her legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) for misdiagnosis negligence in the treatment she received at Sligo General Hospital in November 2013.
Senior Counsel Mr Cush said that, if had Ms Surlis been appropriately and quickly diagnosed and treated, she would not have experienced the injuries. He told the court that liability was admitted by the HSE.
Ms Surlis went to Sligo General Hospital on November 3, 2013, as she had a headache, was vomiting and had a dilated left eye pupil, but was triaged as category three and left to wait for treatment for a further three hours. ‘Triaged’ refers to the fact that she was not treated as an immediate emergency.
Medical Staff examined her for glaucoma and discharged her. However, she went back the following day when the seriousness of her condition was “appreciated for the first time”.
Ms Surlis from Drinaum, Strokestown in Co Roscommon was sent to Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital on November 5 as she had experienced a hemorrhage and severe/permanent injury. She requires full-time care and Mr Cush said the opinion of experts was that her condition will only marginally improve over the course of her life. She is knowledgeable regarding her condition and has trouble communicating but can do so with the assistance of her family. Ms Surlis has three adult children and four sisters living close to her.
It is believed that if she had been transferred to Beaumont when she first went to the hospital, she could have been treated properly and made a complete recovery.
Mrs Surlis is now restricted to a wheelchair and resides in a nursing home. The personal injury misdiagnosis settlement means she may realise her wish to return home, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was advised.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the compensation settlement was a “reasonable and very good one” and that he hopes it will allow Ms Surlis to live out the remainder of her life at home.