A woman who sued over her care after she attended an emergency department (ED) complaining of severe knee pain has settled her High Court action for €375,000.
Mary Gallagher (65) was assessed and her vitals taken at the ED at Mercy University Hospital in Cork.
Blood tests were also taken but, it is claimed, she was given advice on how to manage her osteoarthritis and discharged the same day without her lab results being checked.
Six days later Ms Gallagher went to another hospital and was diagnosed with suspected septic arthritis. She ended up in an intensive care unit for 15 days and had to have emergency heart surgery. She claimed she had to have 57 days of antibiotic treatment.
She claimed that if her blood tests had been reviewed when she first attended the Mercy University Hospital ED on September 3rd, 2017, she would have been admitted to the hospital for treatment.
If appropriate antibiotic treatment had been started, it is claimed, it is most likely Ms Gallagher would have had a much better outcome and avoided the need for cardiac surgery.
Her counsel, Oonah McCrann SC, instructed by Cantillons Solicitors, told the court it was their case that Ms Gallagher should have been admitted and treated with a four- to six-week course of antibiotics, which would have necessitated a hospital stay but could have been continued at home.
Counsel said the hospital accepted there was a breach of duty in the case but causation was still at issue.
Ms Gallagher, of Hollyhill, Cork city, had, through her son, David Gallagher, sued the hospital over the management of her care on September 3rd.
It was claimed her treating team was of the view that the cause of Ms Gallagher’s pain was to do with osteoarthritis and she was given advice on how to manage her condition with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication.
It was claimed she was discharged without lab results being checked and her condition continued to deteriorate at home.
Mercy University Hospital admitted there was a failure to act on the findings of blood tests and a delay occurred in the treatment of Ms Gallagher until September 9th, 2017.
However, causation still remained an issue.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he was satisfied it was fair and reasonable.