Mother of six waited for days before undergoing surgery, court told

Family of Helen Malone claims she might have survived if operated on earlier

Patrick Malone,  widower of Helen Malone, on behalf of his family, is suing over her death at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.

Patrick Malone, widower of Helen Malone, on behalf of his family, is suing over her death at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 01:00

A mother of six “languished for days” in hospital before undergoing surgery for a bowel problem, it has been claimed at the High Court.

Patrick Malone (69), widower of Helen Malone (60), on behalf of his family, is suing over her death at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, in January 2006. The action includes a claim for aggravated damages.

Michael Counihan SC, for Mr Malone, said experts for the family contended that had Mrs Malone been operated on earlier she might have been saved.

He said Mrs Malone was an emergency admission on December 30th, 2005, suffering from cramps and abdominal pains. Inflammation of the bowel was diagnosed, and it was decided to treat that conservatively with antibiotics and without surgery. This was “the most pointed mistake made” and it was clear from January 1st, 2006, surgery was required.

Very serious

However, Mrs Malone “languished for days” and nobody paid much attention to a CT scan, counsel said. An ultra-sound scan was carried out and on January 7th it was realised Mrs Malone’s situation was very serious and surgery was planned. That was postponed because there was no intensive care facility available.

Mr Counihan said his expert’s view was had surgery taken place on January 6th or January 7th, Mrs Malone might have been saved. When surgery was carried out on January 8th it was too late.

The action by Mr Malone, of Green Road, Carlow, is against the HSE and consultant George Nessim over the death of Mrs Malone on January 12th, 2006.

It is claimed Mrs Malone suffered bowel perforation and died as a result of systemic sepsis and multi-organ failure, and her death was caused by the negligence and breach of duty of the defendants.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan was told liability had been admitted and the case was for assessment of damages only.

The case continues.