The High Court has approved an interim settlement of compensation for a claim made on behalf of a man who was left in a coma because medics failed to diagnose organ failure
During October 2011, an operation was carried out on Robert Bolton – aged seventy-one – at St James Hospital in Dublin to correct an oesophageal condition. Though the operation was initially determined a success, the following morning Robert had a heart attack, triggered by respiratory failure.
Despite being transferred to an intensive care unit at the hospital, Robert’s condition continued to deteriorate. Sepsis caused him to suffer a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, rendering him in a coma with only brief bouts of minimal consciousness since 2011.
Robert’s wife, Angela, sought legal counsel and asked a solicitor to investigate what had happened to her husband. After this, she made a claim for compensation on her husband’s behalf, claiming that the hospital’s failure to diagnose the organ failure indicated a substandard level of care. She also alleged the hospital failed to follow accepted guidelines for responding to systemic inflammation.
Though the hospital did admit some liability for Robert’s condition and the level of care he received at the hospital, the health service disputed any claim for compensation.
Negotiations ensued between the parties, resulting in the offer of a compensation settlement worth €550,000. This would provide Robert with the specialist, round-the-clock care he needs for two years.
However, as the claim was being made on the behalf of someone unable to represent themselves, the settlement needed to be approved through the courts, The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court of Dublin. Evidence was given at the hearing of hor Robert’s heart attack came about and what impacts it has had on Angela and the rest of Robert’s family.
Angela told the judge that though no amount of compensation could make up for what had happened to her husband, she was happy that the settlement would see to Robert’s care. Judge Cross approved the settlement for compensation, adding that it was obviously the result of hard bargaining by Angela and her solicitors. He finished by wishing the Bolton family the best for the future.