Claims News

Widow Settles Claim for Death due to Conflict of Medication

Posted on: October 15th, 2013

A woman has settled her claim for death due to a conflict of medication against the Health Service Executive (HSE) after a hearing at the High Court.

Margaret Devereux from Greenrath in County Tipperary brought the claim against HSE following the death of her husband in March 2008; allegedly due to a conflict of medication between the diabetic treatment he was already taking and the fusidic acid he was prescribed after being diagnosed with septic arthritis in a toe on his right foot.

The High Court heard that John Devereux had attended the South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel in January 2008 with an infection in a toe on his right foot. Having diagnosed that the infection was due to septic arthritis, doctors prescribed Sodium Fusidate – a medicine commonly prescribed for bacterial skin infections.

However, John´s condition deteriorated and, on February 15th 2008, he was admitted into South Tipperary General Hospital with pains in both legs and arms. The court was told that John had developed rhabdmoloysis – a condition in which the muscles break down – allegedly due to the interaction between his existing diabetic treatment and the Sodium Fusidate he had been prescribed.

Despite receiving treatment as an inpatient, John´s condition deteriorated further and he developed acute renal failure. He was transferred to Cork University Hospital on February 21st, but he failed to recover and died in hospital on March 2nd.

After seeking legal advice, John´s widow – Margaret – made a compensation claim for death due to a conflict of medication against the HSE, claiming that the hospital was in breach of its duty to recognise that the diabetic treatment and the medication prescribed for John´s swollen toe could interact and cause the muscle break down.

It was also alleged that medical staff at South Tipperary General Hospital failed to recognise the muscle condition immediately, despite John displaying the appropriate symptoms of rhabdmoloysis, and had administered further dosages of Sodium Fusidate. Margaret also claimed that, following John´s death, she suffered avoidable mental anguish, loss and damage.

The HSE denied that John´s treatment had been negligent, but made an offer to settle Margaret´s claim for death due to a conflict of medication amounting to €45,000. Margaret accepted the settlement on advice and, at the High Court in Dublin, the settlement was approved by Mrs Justice Mary Irvine, who added that it may have been difficult to establish liability in this tragic case had it gone to court.

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.