The Family Of A Woman Awarded Damages Over Brain Injury Misdiagnosis (Reported By The Irish Times April 2009)
Michael Boylan, when senior partner in his previous firm, represented Mrs Kathleen Myers, who had a brain haemorrhage misdiagnosed as migraine and is now confined to a wheelchair with paralysis in both legs and one arm has secured €6.5 million in settlement of her High Court action.
"The action by Kathleen Myers (49), a civil servant of The Garth, Belgard Heights, Tallaght, who is a ward of court, was against St James’s Hospital, Dublin, arising from her treatment there.
The hospital initially denied negligence but conceded liability last February and Mr Justice Daniel Herbert, after a nine-day hearing to assess damages, was told yesterday by Denis McCullough SC, for Ms Myers, the hospital had offered €6.5 million in settlement and he was recommending that figure be approved by the court.
Mr Justice Herbert said Mr McCullough was perfectly correct to recommend the offer and the court was perfectly happy to approve it. Ms Myers is a patient in a unit attached to St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, and was made a ward of court in December 2007. The court had heard she wished to return home and part of her claim was for money to meet the cost of future home care.
The case arose from events on March 19th, 2005, when Ms Myers suddenly developed a severe headache. A doctor sent her by ambulance to St James’s Hospital. A tentative diagnosis of migraine was made and blood tests were organised. Ms Myers was discharged on medication and advised to see her family doctor for a follow-up.
Subsequently it was claimed Ms Myers was found unconscious at her home on the afternoon of March 21st and was taken by ambulance to hospital in Tallaght where a brain scan recorded a large haemorrhage and she was transferred to Beaumont Hospital.
On March 22nd, an aneurism was located and eliminated by a clip repair method but, despite this, Ms Myers’s brain was swollen, it was claimed.
Had a CT scan been carried out within a 24-hour period, it would have shown blood and Ms Myers would have been moved to Beaumont for the necessary procedures, it was contended. Ms Myers would not have gone on to have her second catastrophic bleed and would have made an excellent recovery and been rehabilitated back into her former employment, it was claimed.
Mr McCullough said the diagnosis at St James’s was unfortunately not correct, as the hospital now admitted, and Ms Myers had a second haemorrhage.
Ms Myers’s family had argued she had a right to be cared for in her home environment rather than in a hospital setting and claimed cutbacks in the health service had resulted in her not receiving enough therapy.
At the outset of the case, the hospital argued that the family was proposing to build a “mini hospital for one” and their expectations were unrealistic. The court was told yesterday the award included the cost of providing a house for Ms Myers."
At the completion of the case the family thanked the practice and all the Legal team for all of their help during the currency of the case.
If you require advice on a similar issue Michael Boylan maybe contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org