Hospital Negligence in Ireland

Claiming compensation for hospital negligence in Ireland is often extremely complicated for although you know that a mistake has occurred and an injury sustained, determining where the mistake occurred and proving that “on the balance of probabilities” it could have been avoided can be problematic. Unless a hospital admits its mistake immediately, a prolonged investigation and expert medical testimony may be required to demonstrate hospital negligence in Ireland. If you or a loved one have sustained a loss or injury due to hospital negligence in Ireland, you are advised to speak with one of our courteous and professional solicitors for impartial and accurate advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

Family Settle Claim for Negligent Hospital Treatment

Posted on: July 16th, 2013

The family of a woman, who died at Mayo General Hospital due to an alleged failure to diagnose a perforated bowel, has settled its claim for negligent hospital treatment against the HSE.

Eileen Maloney (69) from Pullathomas, County Mayo, was admitted to Mayo General Hospital on Sunday February 1st 2009 suffering from severe abdominal pain. Eileen´s family allege that an X-ray taken at the time of her admission showed an obstruction in her small bowel but, because it was the weekend, no doctor was available to diagnose her condition.

A CT scan taken during the following week clearly showed that a tumour had developed in Eileen´s large bowel but, it was alleged in the family´s claim for negligent hospital treatment, neither the X-ray nor the scan was reviewed to check for a perforation of her bowel which would have required urgent medical attention.

Eileen was not scheduled for surgery until February 12th, despite being in constant pain, and died five days later. Her family claimed they were informed by a member of the hospital staff at the time that, had Eileen´s condition been diagnosed and treated more promptly, she would have survived the operation.

The family made a claim for negligent hospital treatment against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that Eileen´s death was avoidable at the time and in the circumstances, and that it had caused them a considerable amount of mental anguish.

The HSE denied being responsible for Eileen´s wrongful death but, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard that the family had agreed a settlement of their negligent hospital treatment claim amounting to €50,000 without an admission of liability from the HSE.

The judge approved the settlement of the claim, stating that Eileen´s death had been “very, very tragic” and he extended his sympathies to her family.

Teenager Awarded Compensation for Brain Damage at Birth after High Court Hearing

Posted on: June 10th, 2013

A thirteen-year-old boy has been awarded compensation for brain damage at birth following a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.

Ryan Brennan from Cahir, County Tipperary, was born in January 2000 at the St Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel several hours after a foetal trace had discovered abnormalities in his heart rate. Ryan had to be resuscitated after he was born and throughout the day suffered seizures.

Ryan developed cerebral palsy as a result of the complications during his birth and it was alleged by his parents – Lorraine and Raymond – that his injuries could have been avoided if the hospital´s consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – and staff at the hospital had acted with greater care.

On behalf of their son, Lorraine and Raymond made a claim for brain damage at birth against Dr Powell and the Health Service Executive (HSE), claiming that Ryan´s irreversible brain damage was attributable to a failure to act, negligence, a breach of duty by Dr Powell and a breach of contract by the hospital.

Both Dr Powell and the HSE denied responsibility for the brain damage suffered by Ryan but, at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that an interim settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth had been agreed upon without admission of liability from either of the two allegedly negligent party and that the claim against Dr Powell could be struck out.

The interim payment, which is for two years to allow for a review of Ryan´s future needs or the introduction of a structured payment system, amounts to €1.7 million – a sum which Ms Justine Mary Irvine described as ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’ as she approved the temporary settlement.

Settlement Approved in Claim for A&E Misdiagnosis Compensation

Posted on: May 10th, 2013

The High Court has approved the settlement of a claim for A&E misdiagnosis compensation after the tragic death of an eight-year-old boy.

Richard de Souza had been taken by his parents to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise in February 2011, due to their son developing a lump on the left side of his body. The boy was suffering from chicken pox at the time, and a doctor in the A&E Department diagnosed an infection and prescribed a three-day course of antibiotics.

The doctor sent the family home, but later that evening Richard complained of being thirsty and became delirious. The following morning he told his mother that he felt the need to vomit and then passed out on the floor of the family home in Athy, County Kildare. Richard´s mother summoned an ambulance, but Richard was already in a state of cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived and he was declared dead at the Midland Regional Hospital.

After discovering that their son´s cause of death was a streptococcal infection which led to toxic shock syndrome, Ralmon and Flavia de Souza made a claim for A&E misdiagnosis against the Midland Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive, alleging that Richard should have been admitted to hospital with the symptoms he had been displaying and that his death could have been prevented.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the HSE had admitted liability for Richard´s death and an apology was read out on behalf of the hospital to the family. The judge then approved the settlement of the de Souza´s claim for A&E misdiagnosis compensation, which had been agreed at €160,000 to account for Richard´s wrongful death and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder both parents had been diagnosed with following the tragic and avoidable death of their son.

Hospital Obstetric Negligence Compensation Action Settled at Court

Posted on: April 26th, 2013

The family of a young girl, Alex Butler, who suffered brain damage at birth when a locum doctor was unable to recognise the need for a Caesarean section, have had their hospital obstetric negligence compensation action settled at the High Court.

Sonya Butler from Dunmore in Waterford was brought to Waterford Regional Hospital at Ardkeen in April 2005 after a normal pregnancy and was looking forward to delivering her first child. However, her consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and the hospital’s two other obstetric doctors on staff had all been allowed to take leave at the same time, and the hospital had called in a locum – Mahmud Khbuli – to cover for them in their absence.

However, Dr Khbuli failed to recognise the need for a Caesarean section to be performed during Sonya´s pre-operative assessment and, when Sonya´s daughter – Alex – was delivered, she had suffered an oxygen deficiency in the womb which lead to the young girl suffering brain damage and being born tetraplegic.

Through her mother (Sonia), Alex took a hospital obstetric negligence compensation action against the hospital, Dr Bermingham and Dr Khbuli; alleging that Waterford Regional Hospital was negligent by failing to have an adequate number of properly trained and competent medical staff to oversee her delivery, that Dr Bermingham should not have taken leave when the Butler family had opted for private treatment and that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment by Dr Khbuli was substandard.

At the High Court, the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted that negligence was committed which should never have happened and an apology was read out to the family by a representative of Waterford Regional Hospital. The court heard that the action against Drs Bermingham and Khbuli had been dropped and compensation of €1.4 million had been agreed as an interim settlement of the family´s claim for hospital obstetric negligence.

The figure is to be reviewed in two years time, when Alex´s future care needs have been assessed and there may be the option of a structured settlement of hospital obstetric negligence compensation.

Court Approves Compensation for a Fatal Delayed Diagnosis

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for a fatal delayed diagnosis which led to the wrongful death of a child.

Six-month-old Kaiden Costello was admitted to Temple Street Children´s Hospital in April 2009 when his concerned mother – Kate – had noticed her son was not eating his food. Kaiden was diagnosed with a failure to thrive, but two months later was re-admitted and underwent an MRI scan which revealed that his condition was due to a brain tumour. Kaiden underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour, but died three days later.

Kaiden´s mother made a compensation claim for a fatal delayed diagnosis against the hospital and HSE; alleging that, had an MRI scan been conducted when Kaiden was first admitted to the hospital and the tumour diagnosed sooner, her son could have received chemotherapy treatment or undergone surgery earlier to remove the tumour and extend his life.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that responsibility for the failure to diagnose Kaiden when he was first admitted to hospital had been admitted by Temple Street Children´s Hospital and a settlement of compensation for a fatal delayed diagnosis had been agreed upon in the amount of €180,000.

As part of the settlement agreement, an apology was read out by Mona Baker – CEO of Temple Street Children´s Hospital – who said she understood that “no apology or compensation arising from Kaiden´s death could negate the continuing heartache that the family must feel every day”.

Judge Cross thereafter approved the settlement of compensation for a fatal delayed diagnosis, which comprised of €145,000 for Kate Costello´s nervous shock as a result of her son´s death and €35,000 relating to the wrongful death due to a delayed diagnosis.

Woman Awarded Symphysiotomy Injuries Compensation by the High Court

Posted on: March 12th, 2013

A woman, who underwent a symphysiotomy procedure at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, has been awarded €591,297 symphysiotomy injuries compensation by the High Court.

Tracey Nelson (now 45) from Navan in County Meath underwent the procedure prior to the delivery of her second child in 2000, when nursing staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda failed to correctly diagnose the symptoms of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

After suffering for years with the physical discomfort caused by the symphysiotomy procedure, Tracey underwent surgery in 2004 to stabilise her condition and again, in 2007, had to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted – since when Tracey has been relatively free of pain.

However, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill heard that Tracey had suffered emotionally due to the negligence of the medical staff who failed in their duty of care to manage her pregnancy and had developed fibromyalgia – where she had constant pain in her muscles and joints – and, because of the pain, started to drink alcohol heavily. Tracey´s drinking was directly associated with the break-up of her marriage and, in turn, to depression.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital denied their liability for Tracey´s injuries, but Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill ruled that he was satisfied from the medical evidence provided to him by Tracey´s solicitor there had definitely been a failure to diagnose SPD on February 2nd 2000 when Tracey attended the hospital complaining of pain in the pelvic area.

The judge said there was no doubt that the “primary cause” of Tracey´s physical and psychological traumas was the negligence of the Health Service Executive and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. “I am quite satisfied that the failures in this regard fell substantially below the standard of care to be expected of doctors practising obstetrics in a maternity unit such as Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda,” he said.

Awarding Tracey symphysiotomy injuries compensation totalling €591,297, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said that he was also satisfied that the midwives and doctors who attended Tracey during the delivery of her child were “oblivious” to her SPD condition, and consequently took no precautions to prevent the risk of an avoidable injury during the course of her labour.

Claim for a Failed Sterilisation Resolved at High Court

Posted on: February 11th, 2013

A woman from County Limerick has been awarded €100,000 compensation after her claim for a failed sterilisation was resolved at the High Court.

Karen Hurley-Ahern from Newcastlewest in County Limerick underwent a sterilisation operation at the Tralee General Hospital in February 2001 after being told by her GP that she had a rare blood-clotting disorder that would pose a health risk to herself and her unborn child if ever she were to fall pregnant again. However – in April 2002 – Karen discovered she was pregnant and, after a difficult pregnancy, baby Samuel was born by emergency Caesarean section on October 10th

Samuel had been born six weeks prematurely and suffered from severe abnormalities which were unrelated to Karen´s blood-clotting disorder. He remained in hospital for six months, during which time he was kept alive by a life-support machine. In April 2003 Samuel suffered a severe heart attack, and Karen had to make the painful decision to turn off the machine that was keeping her son alive.

Karen and her partner – Garrett Ahern – sought legal advice and subsequently made a claim for a failed sterilisation against the physician who performed the sterilisation procedure – Dr Victor Moore – and the Southern Health Board (now administered by the HSE) to recover compensation for the physical and emotional suffering the couple had experienced due to the unsuccessful operation.

Both Dr Moore and the HSE denied liability for the trauma the couple had been through – stating that the sterilisation procedure had been performed correctly and that the couple had been warned, and accepted, there was a risk of failure. However, Mr Justice Sean Ryan at the High Court in Dublin found in favour of the now-separated plaintiffs – stating that Samuel´s disability was not a consequence of the failed sterilisation operation, but acknowledging that Karen had suffered to a significant extent due to the defendants´ negligence.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan awarded Karen €100,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for a failed sterilisation and said the award was in respect of the worry she had experienced when she discovered she was pregnant, the difficult pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, the distress of Samuel´s condition and further distress after his death.

Coombe Hospital Liable in Compensation Claim for Birth Injuries due to a Lack of Care

Posted on: February 6th, 2013

The Coombe Hospital in Dublin has been found liable in a compensation claim for birth injuries due to a lack of care after a High Court hearing.

The compensation claim for birth injuries due to a lack of care was brought by Fiona Murphy of Malahide, County Dublin, on behalf of her son Eoin (10), who suffers from severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy due to an ‘unacceptable’ delay occurring when vital medical treatment was needed in the minutes after his birth.

Eoin was born on 12th July at the Coombe Hospital suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia which had developed several minutes before his delivery. However, a delay of seventeen minutes occurred before a paediatric registrar was available to resuscitate him and Eoin suffered irreversible brain damage as a result.

Eion´s mother made a compensation claim for birth injuries due to a lack of care against the Coombe Women´s and Infant´s University Hospital, who denied the claim against them. However, at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine ruled that there was no justifiable reason why Eoin could not have been ventilated within the first nine minutes of his life which would have prevented such grave injuries being sustained.

The judge said that the hospital had failed to act within a reasonable period of time and that “the delay was unacceptable and the hospital was negligent in failing to ensure the child received the type of intubation and ventilation mandated in the first 10 minutes of his life”.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine adjourned the claim for birth injuries due to a lack of care until May to allow for a comprehensive assessment of compensation.

UPDATE May 2013: Eoin was awarded an interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to a lack of care amounting to €1.9 million. The case has now been adjourned for a further two years to allow for the proposed introduction of structured compensation settlements and a review of Eoin´s future requirements.

Compensation for Delayed Brain Tumour Diagnosis Approved in Court

Posted on: October 31st, 2012

A family whose life was turned “upside down” following the alleged late diagnosis of their son´s brain tumour have heard a settlement of compensation for delayed brain tumour diagnosis approved in the High Court.

Seamus Walshe Jnr (27) of Taylor´s Hill, Galway, was a twenty-one year old third-level construction studies student when he started experiencing problems with his eyes whenever he looked upwards. His symptoms deteriorated throughout 2006 to include feeling nauseous and vomiting whenever he tilted his head backwards but, when Seamus attended the Galway University Hospital with his symptoms, he was told that there was no problem after a neurological examination.

Seamus´ condition deteriorated and, as the tumour in his brain spread into surrounding tissues, he returned to Galway University Hospital, where a brain scan revealed a tumour. Seamus was referred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where he underwent surgery in May 2007, but due to the nature of the growth, there were complications during the operation and Seamus was in intensive care for nine weeks due to serious haemorrhaging.

Six months later Seamus was transferred back to Galway University Hospital and then entered the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire in September 2008 – by which time he was confined to wheelchair and suffered severe spasticity of the limbs.

 Through his father – Seamus Walshe Snr – Seamus made a claim against the Galway University Hospital for compensation for the delayed brain tumour diagnosis, claiming that had the brain scans been carried out when he first attended the hospital, he would have been referred to the Beaumont Hospital much sooner.

Seamus´ claim also included the Beaumont Hospital on the grounds that the Dublin hospital had performed surgery rather than treat the tumour with radiotherapy and chemotherapy even though history showed the latter treatment had long-term survival rates of up to 90 percent.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that a settlement of compensation for the delayed brain tumour diagnosis amounting to 2.5 million Euros had been agreed without admission of liability to account for Seamus´ care for the next three years. Thereafter, periodic payments would provide for Seamus´ care should legislation enabling a structured payment system be introduced in time.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement, but stated there was no guarantee that legislation allowing the payment of periodic payments would be introduced within three years as there has been a “deathly silence” on the matter from the Government.

State Claims Agency Announces Increase in Claims

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012

The State Claims Agency – the Government authority responsible for handling claims against the State – is forecasting a significant increase in claims for medical negligence compensation against the State´s doctors and hospitals.  

The agency announced that it has already received 345 claims for medical negligence this year against the State and has forecast an increase of 27 percent over last year´s total of 542 claims – the highest number since the Clinical Indemnity Scheme was introduced in 2002.

Attributing the increase to the economic downturn, Ciaran Breen – director of the State Claims Agency – said “It appears that people, injured as a result of a medical negligence event, are more likely to sue doctors, dentists and hospitals in these more difficult economic times.” Mr Breen added that despite the pressure on hospital funding, hospital´s should prioritise the resourcing of clinical risk management.

The agency´s forecast is much higher than that predicted by the Injuries Board (4 percent) for non-medical negligence claims, but Mr Breen pointed specifically to the number of DePuy Hip Recall compensation claims that had been received and noted that compensation for obstetrics claims – where children have been injured at birth due to negligence – might wait several years before being made.

Zoe Richardson – one of the agency´s clinical claims managers – also pointed to claims for compensation which previously may have been time-barred being received. In July 2012, the Supreme Court upheld a High Court verdict in favour of Olivier Kearney who, as an eighteen-year-old woman, underwent an unnecessary symphysiotomy in 1969.

Claims for medical negligence against the State represent only a minority of claims handled by the State Claims Agency in terms of numbers – many more arise from employer liability and public liability – however, in terms of value, they account for almost 90 percent of compensation paid by the State. In 2011, the agency managed claims for medical negligence against the State amounting to 860 million Euros.

High Court Awards Compensation for a Familys Loss

Posted on: October 13th, 2012

The High Court has awarded 850,000 Euros compensation to the family of Evelyn Flanagan, who died in tragic circumstances after giving birth to her second child at Mayo General Hospital.

The court heard how Evelyn (38) from Castlebar, County Mayo, had given birth to her daughter Niamh in October 2007 when her condition suddenly deteriorated due to complications. Staff at the Mayo General Hospital were unable to save her life and a post-mortem shortly after suggested that Evelyn´s death was due an amniotic fluid embolism.

Evelyn´s husband – Padraic – refuted the suggested, and claimed that Evelyn had died due to a postpartum haemorrhage that was the result of a rupture of her uterus which was not detected or adequately dealt with – a claim supported by the findings of an inquest into Evelyn´s death which returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure.

Padraic Flanagan made a claim for compensation against the Mayo General Hospital and Dr Murtada Mohamed, who had been the consultant obstetrician at the delivery. Both parties initially denied their liability for Evelyn´s death but, as Mr Justice Michael Peart was told at the High Court, representatives of the Mayo general Hospital admitted during pre-trial medication that Evelyn´s death could have been avoided.

After hearing the full circumstances of Evelyn´s death, the judge awarded the family 850,000 Euros in compensation for their loss, which included compensation settlements for the two children and the maximum allowable 25,395 Euros for mental distress. The Health Service Executive was also ordered to pay Padraic Flanagan´s legal costs.

Judge Repeats Call for Introduction of Periodic Payments in Ireland

Posted on: October 12th, 2012

Ms Justice Mary Irvine has called once again for the introduction of periodic compensation payments in Ireland for cases of catastrophic injury – claiming that important cases cannot be held up any longer while the courts wait for the Government to introduce legislation.

The High Court judge said that a working group had recommended 3 and a half years ago that the legislation be introduced, but nothing had been done and there was no indication that any legislation was forthcoming.

Back in July, the judge stated at the end of a case surrounding nine-year-old Ian Cusack that “we are not protecting the welfare of the young and most vulnerable in society” when approving a 5.5 million Euro lump sum settlement and said that “barring a miracle” it was very difficult to assess the anticipated life expectancy of a claimant.

Ms Justice Irvine noted that if the life expectancy of a claimant was wrongly estimated, one of two things could happen. Either the injured victim could run out of money to provide the care they need or, as happened recently, a victim could die within a couple of months of an award being made – with their family being the recipient of a large windfall at the expense of the State.

The judge´s comments on this occasion were made when a case was brought before her at the High Court which had been adjourned in 2010 in anticipation that legislation for periodic payments in Ireland would be introduced. She said that she would not adjourn the case for another year as the Government had not brought forward legislation and there was no guarantee it was going to be forthcoming.

“I am not going to extend the hardship any further” said the judge, noting that the delay in the resolution of the case was leading to substantial suffering and making it very difficult for those involved. Ms Justice Mary Irvine added that her view was shared by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns – President of the High Court.

Periodic Payments Approved for Woman Brain Damaged at Birth

Posted on: October 1st, 2012

Periodic payments are to form a significant part of a 5.5 million pounds compensation settlement made to an eighteen-year-old woman from the UK who suffered brain damage at birth.

The unnamed woman was born at St. Luke´s Hospital in Bradford in 1994, after “significant delays in her mother´s medical review” resulted in the foetus being starved of oxygen in the days leading up to her birth.

Consequently, when the little girl was born, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and experienced speech and hearing problems which led to severe learning difficulties while she was growing up.

Four years ago, the girl made a claim for compensation against the hospital through her mother – alleging that a “catalogue of errors” and a lack of adequate care had caused her condition for which she is fully dependant on care from her family and helpers.

After an investigation, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability and a compensation package was negotiated which will see the woman receive a lump sum of 2.2 million pounds immediately and periodic payments estimated to be worth 3.3 million pounds throughout the remainder of her life.

Speaking after the settlement had been announced, a spokesperson for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was pleased an agreement had been approved. They added “The trust would like to take this opportunity to wish the patient and her family well for the future.”

Symphysiotomy Medical Negligence Claim Upheld in Supreme Court

Posted on: July 13th, 2012

A woman, who was awarded 450,000 Euros by the High Court in settlement of her symphysiotomy medical negligence claim, has had the High Court judgement upheld in the Supreme Court.

The woman from Castlebellingham in County Louth was awarded the compensation for an unnecessary symphysiotomy by the High Court in March after a ten-year legal battle with Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. The sixty-year old had undergone the procedure in 1969 while still unconscious from the anaesthesia after doctors at the hospital had successfully delivered her son by Caesarean Section.

It was claimed in the High Court action that there was no justification for the procedure to be performed and, back in March, Mr Justice Sean Ryan found in the victim’s favour and awarded symphysiotomy medical negligence compensation of 450,000 Euros. However, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court, claiming that it was not liable for the woman´s injuries on the grounds that the procedure was medically and ethically justified at the time.

The Hospital´s argument was rejected by a five-judge court who unanimously upheld the woman´s symphysiotomy medical negligence claim, although reducing the amount of damages to 325,000 Euros. Announcing the Supreme Court decision, Mr Justice John MacMenamin said that “the procedure was wrong, even by the standards of the time” and that “it was unfathomable by today’s standards and even by those of 1969 had no justification whatever”.

Explaining why the award of damages for the woman´s symphysiotomy medical negligence claim had been reduced, Mr Justice John MacMenamin said that the original award was the maximum allowed for “a person whose life had effectively been ruined”. Acknowledging that the victim had endured very serious injuries, the judge pointed out they did not result in a total inability “to live independently, to work, or to engage in any form of meaningful social life”.

Woman to Receive Compensation for Symphysiotomy Procedure

Posted on: March 27th, 2012

A woman who suffered forty years of pain and discomfort after enduring an unnecessary operation following the birth of her son has been awarded 450,000 Euros compensation for a symphysiotomy procedure.

The victim from Castlebellingham in County Louth is now sixty years of age. In 1969 – at the age of eighteen – doctors at the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda delivered her son by Caesarean Section and then performed a symphysiotomy without the victim´s knowledge or consent. A symphysiotomy is a procedure whereby the cartilage between the left and right pubic bones is cut to widen the pelvis and until 2002 – when the victim recognised the symptoms she had suffered all her adult life listening to radio program – the victim was unaware that she had undergone the operation.

After seeking legal advice, the victim made a claim for compensation for a symphysiotomy procedure in 2004 against the Medical Missionaries of Mary – who ran the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 1969 – claiming that the procedure had caused her to suffer “ongoing pain and later suffered continuous back pain, incontinence and depression” and had been the reason for her failure to bond with her first child or increase the size of her family.

Olivia´s symphysiotomy procedure compensation claim was dismissed by the High Court in 2006 on the grounds that “there would have to be expert evidence available on both sides to debate the appropriateness of the procedure carried out” and, as the obstetrician who had performed the operation – Dr Gerard Connolly – had since died, no medical explanation could be provided. However, in 2006, after revising her claim for symphysiotomy procedure compensation, the Supreme Court gave the victim leave to re-submit her claim.

On this occasion, the victim claimed that there was no justification in any circumstances for a symphysiotomy procedure to be performed subsequent to delivering a child by Caesarean Section and, as representatives of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital could not provide a medical explanation why the operation was carried out, Mr Justice Sean Ryan found in favour of the victim and awarded her compensation for a symphysiotomy procedure amounting to 450,000 Euros.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.