Eardrum perforation during attempt to dislodge bead from girl’s ear leads to €250,000 settlement

Hannah Jones was six years old when she inserted a bead in her ear while making a necklace in 2012

The resusitation room in the Emergency Dept,The Childrens Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin.
pic... Dara Mac Dónaill.   23/10/01.

A girl whose eardrum was perforated when an attempt to dislodge a bead from her ear was made at a hospital emergency department has settled a High Court action for more than €250,000.

Hannah Jones was six years old when she inserted a bead in her ear while making a necklace in 2012. She was referred to Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin, to have it removed.

She claimed that during the attempted removal she suffered a traumatic perforation of her left eardrum, resulting in hearing loss. It was further claimed she was crying hysterically, began to bleed and was in severe pain.

The hospital admitted negligence and a breach of duty in relation to the care and treatment given when the girl attended the emergency department on January 4th, 2012.


Her counsel, Bruce Antoniotti SC, instructed by Cranny solicitors, told the court Hannah’s mother was told, following the unsuccessful attempt, that she would be referred to the hospital’s ear, nose and throat department.

However, he said, she contacted the hospital when she received no referral five days later. She was told to return to the emergency department.

Counsel said Hannah’s mother was told the bead would have to be removed under general anaesthetic and on January 12th, 2012, the child had the operation. The bead, counsel said, was embedded deep in the canal and a perforation of the eardrum was noted.

A review later confirmed a 40-decibel conductive hearing loss in the left ear. Counsel said Hannah had a hearing aid fitted a few years later, which has been successful.

Hannah, of Hampton Wood Road, Meakstown, Dublin, who is now aged 16, had through her mother, Jillian Jones, sued the hospital over her care when she attended in January 2012.

She claimed there was a failure to appreciate the risk associated with Hannah’s condition on January 4th. An attempt to remove the bead when it was unsafe to do so gave rise to the injuries complained of, she alleged.

It was further claimed that there was a failure or neglect to provide expeditious medical intervention and, as a result, there was a delay giving rise to the development of ear infection.

The hospital admitted negligence and a breach of duty over the care and treatment of the girl on January 4th, 2012.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he had no hesitation in approving the €250,900 settlement, which, he said, was fair and reasonable.