Man Awarded €300k Faulty Medical Equipment Compensation Settlement in Relation to Wife’s Death

A defibrillator manufacturer has agree to pay a €300,000 faulty medical equipment settlement to a man in relation to the tragic death of his wife after she suffered a cardiac arrest in her workplace canteen.

At the hearing in the High Court proceedings, it was alleged that Elaine O’Keeffe, a 39-year-old mother-of-two, was not given an adequate chance of survival when she suffered cardiac arrest on October 10, 2012 due to the fact that defibrillator in canteen at her workplace in Bray, Co Wicklow, was malfunctional.

Mr Farrell was represented in the High Court by Finbarr Fox SC, Mr Farrell, of Hillside, Greystones, Co Wicklow against Takeda Ireland Ltd, for whom Ms O’Keeffe worked at the time as a quality assurance department manager against HSS Management Ltd trading as Heart Safety Solutions (HSS) and HeartSine Technologies Ltd, respectively the supplier and manufacturer of the defibrillator.

He took the wrongful death legal action on behalf of himself and the couple’s two children and the claim included financial dependency provisions caused by the death of Ms Farrell.

Through his legal representatives, Ms O’Keeffe’s husband Brendan Farrell claimed the defibrillator failed to operate when it was used to attempt to resuscitate Ms O’Keeffe. The Judge was advised that Ms O’Keeffe’s death was certified as being caused by acute heart failure by reason of a floppy mitral valve.

However, the judge was informed that there had been complications in relation to establishing causation of death arising from the alleged defective defibrillator. Mr Farrell’s legal team produced a medical report from a cardiologist which claimed that a functioning defibrillator would have increases Ms O’Keeffe’s chance of survival by approximately 38%

Mr Fox requested that Judge Justice Kevin Cross give his approval for a settlement offer of €300,000, plus costs, from HSS and HeartSine to settle the case. Mr Fox informed the Judge that there were some concerns that a full trial setting would face major issues in establishing, as a matter of probability, that a functioning defibrillator would have prevented Ms O’Keeffe’s death. He told Justice Cross that, due to this, the plaintiff and his legal team were happy to accept a settlement offer of some €300,000 made by HSS and HeartSine, subject to court approval.

Justice Cross struck out the case against Takeda with no order and agreed to make various orders, including orders against HSS and HeartSine for payment of €300,000. From the approved settlement the judge made orders for payments for €30,000 each to the two children, Rory and Eimear, aged 16 and 15 respectively, out of the settlement, with the remainder of the wrongful death compensation settlement being made to Mr Farrell.

Posted in Hospital Negligence in Ireland, Medical Accidents in Ireland