The High Court has approved a €165,000 settlement of medical negligence compensation for failing to operate in a timely manner in favour of a widower who lost his wife due to delayed surgery.
Patrick Malone made his medical negligence compensation claim for failing to operate in a timely manner following the circumstances which resulted in his wife -Helen – dying at St. Luke´s General Hospital in January 2006.
Helen had been admitted to the hospital with a bowel problem but, under the instruction of consultant George Nessim, surgery was postponed until 8th January. Helen underwent the delayed surgery as scheduled, but four days later she died from systemic sepsis and multiple organ failure due to a perforated bowel.
A subsequent inquest into Helen´s death determined that, had she had an operation when she was first admitted to hospital she would have most likely survived, and a resulting enquiry by the Irish Medical Council found George Nessim guilty on four charges of professional negligence related to Helen´s death.
Despite the verdict of the Irish Medical Council, the HSE denied liability for Helen´s death, and Patrick made his medical negligence compensation claim for failing to operate in a timely manner against St Luke´s Hospital – claiming that he and his six adult children had suffered mental anguish due to Helen´s unnecessary death.
The HSE continued to deny that there had been failings in the standard of care provided to Helen until shortly before a scheduled court hearing was due to take place. A settlement of €165,000 was negotiated, but due to the nature of Helen´s death, the settlement had to be approved by a High Court judge before the case could be resolved.
Consequently, before Mr Justice Ryan at the High Court, members of the Malone family heard an apology for Helen´s death read to them by a representative of St Luke´s General Hospital in which it was acknowledged that the standard of care provide to Helen was below an acceptable standard and led to a series of events which caused her untimely death.
After the apology had been read out, Mr Justice Ryan approved the settlement – commenting that it had been “a difficult, painful and tragic case”.