Claims News

Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of Meningitis

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis in favour of a teenager from County Wicklow.

On 29 January 1998, Simone Kavanagh from Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow had telephoned the surgery of Dr Frank Malone and Dr Paul Crean in Greystones in County Wicklow to explain to Dr Malone that her thirteen-month-old daughter – Laura – was running a high temperature and was showing signs of fatigue.

Dr Malone advised her to look out for signs of a rash and to telephone the surgery again if Laura´s condition deteriorated. Several hours later, Laura´s condition had deteriorated, and Simone Kavanagh telephoned the surgery again – this time speaking with Dr Crean – who said he would come round to the Kavanagh home when he had finished his surgery.

Later that evening, Dr Crean arrived at the Kavanagh´s home and diagnosed Laura as having a bowel infection. He left two suppositories, and told Simone to telephone again in the morning if Laura´s condition had not improved.

The following day, Simone telephoned the surgery requesting another home visit, but later cancelled the request as Laura seemed to be recovering. However, on the third morning Laura was once again very ill, and her mother was able to get an on-call doctor to visit straight away. The on-call doctor admitted Laura to hospital immediately, where she was diagnosed with severe meningitis.

As a result of her illness, Laura became permanently deaf, and through her mother she claimed compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis against the against Drs Malone and Crean, alleging that there had been a failure to attend Laura in good time, a failure to ensure proper care or any continuity of care and Dr Crean had failed to diagnose meningitis when had visited.

Doctors Malone and Crean denied the allegations made in Laura´s compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of meningitis, but agreed to a settlement of compensation amounting to €5 million without an admission of liability.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court in Dublin was told by Laura´s legal representatives that if she had been admitted to hospital at the time of Dr Crean´s alleged misdiagnosis it was probable that Laura would not have lost her hearing.

The judge also heard that Laura has learned to communicate through sign language and lip reading – but has a moderate intellectual disability. Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis – saying that it would never give Laura the life she was meant to have.



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