85 Cases Completed and over €119 million in damages recovered for clients over the past 10 months.
The 10 month period of the legal year between 1st October 2021 and 30th July 2022 has been incredibly busy and successful for clients and the firm. The total cases completed were 85 and the total amount of compensation recovered for clients was in excess of €119m in damages. This is a remarkable total for one firm, when one considers that the total amount of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency in respect of all clinical negligence claims for the year 2021 (figures unavailable for 2022) was €280m. Thus, it can be reasonably assumed that in 2022, this firm will be responsible for the recovery for injured patients, of more than one in every three euro in damages, paid out by the State Claims Agency under the clinical indemnity scheme.
Examples of Achievements - 1st October 2021 to 27th July 2022:
Oran Molloy v the HSE – Birth Injury Case
A record award in an Irish birth injury case - €30m damages plus costs for mismanagement of the Plaintiff’s labour resulting in spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.
The record award was achieved because the firm challenged the Court’s current real rate of return assumptions in the calculation of damages and de facto achieved by settlement, the equivalent of a -1.5 % negative discount rate, potentially increasing the value of the award by €10m to €12m.
Leanne Doyle v St. Vincent’s Hospital & Others
After a contested trial lasting six days the Defendants were forced to concede the weakness of their case and damages of €10m were secured for a nine day failure to diagnose and treat the Plaintiff for herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE). This condition (HSE) is an extremely rare manifestation of the common herpes simplex virus and unfortunately for the Plaintiff she was initially wrongly suspected as suffering a stroke or epilepsy and thus not treated with appropriate anti-viral drugs which would have prevented her progressive brain damage.
Meehan v the Rotunda Hospit
Interim damages €1.5m, for hypoxia, cognitive impairments including autism suffered at birth, due to undiagnosed condition of vasa previa.
The firm sought to impugn as defective, the “lacuna” in general and approved practice in Ireland (also adhered to in the UK) of not seeking to diagnose the relatively rare condition of vasa previa ( affecting 1 in 2,000 pregnancies) which renders the placental end of the umbilical cord likely to rupture during labour. It was the Plaintiff’s case that this lethal condition ought to be screened for as a routine part of the 20-week antenatal foetal anomaly scan. The Defence argued that the practice of non-screening was a general and approved and practice and internationally recognised as such. We asserted that the practice was inherently defective and lacked logic. Ultimately an award of 50% of the full value was secured and approved by the High Court. In the aftermath of this litigation and award, it is believed that the hospital, HIQA, the Minister for Health and the HSE intend to review their current practice of non-screening for this potentially lethal condition.
Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccine Damage Claims
As a result of the firm’s efforts in two lead cases, in late 2020 an ad hoc vaccine compensation scheme was established by this firm and the State Defendants to cover 90 High Court actions being prosecuted by this firm against vaccine manufacturers, Department of Health and the HSE. The actions concerned an allegedly defective not fully tested swine flu vaccine, administered mostly to school children in 2010 in response to the declared swine flu pandemic and which caused them narcolepsy. This firm, in the period (October 2021 to July 2022) resolved 53 of these claims resulting in compensation awards totalling approximately €51 million.
In addition during the past 10 months, the firm has successfully completed a myriad of other claims including:
3 urgent tragic cases concerning delays in diagnosis of cancer, requiring fast tracking and early High Court trials because of the patients poor life expectancy, brought to a successful conclusion with multi-million euro awards. Indeed the Court personally praised the “extraordinary work of Ms O’Connor” our partner, in one of these cases.
A serious cauda equina case where there was an undue delay in diagnosis and treatment of the plaintiff, where damages of in excess of €3 million were recovered for the plaintiff
We have been a pathfinder in other cases, notably the first case prosecuted before Cervical Check Tribunal.
Several other catastrophic injury cases involving payment of multi-million euro awards.
Cases involving more modest awards, but which were of vital importance to the individual clients involved.
This autumn we anticipate that the firm will again be very busy and successful for clients. By way of example, the firm will bring to trial the first case of Fetal Sodium Valproate (Epilim) Syndrome in an epileptic pregnant mother.