‘Serial knitter’ awarded €37,000 over wrist injury suffered working at Tallaght University Hospital

Patricia Donnelly’s hand got an ‘awful slap’ when she tripped on unravelled hose in kitchen, judge told

A catering assistant at Tallaght University Hospital, who described herself as a serial knitter for charity, has been awarded €37,271 damages for a broken right wrist she suffered at work.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan heard that hospital authorities had accepted liability over Patricia Donnelly tripping on an unravelled hose on the floor of a kitchen where she had been washing and sorting cutlery more than three years ago.

Ms Donnelly told her barrister John Nolan she will have “reached the ripe old age of 70 next month” when she plans to retire.

Mr Nolan, who appeared with Kent Carty Solicitors, told the count in an outline of the case that his client’s hand hit the hard floor an awful slap and Ms Donnelly was immediately taken to the emergency department, where an X-ray revealed a minimally displaced fracture.


Ms Donnelly said a cast was applied to her hand and arm and she was discharged with a prescription for painkillers. She was out of work for seven weeks and underwent a series of physiotherapy treatments.

She told Judge O’Sullivan she was normally a very active person whose hobbies included cycling and the serial knitting of cardigans and jumpers for Barnardos and other charities. As a result of a resulting weakness in her hand and wrist since the fall, she said she has been restricted in her hobbies but continues with them as best she can.

Judge O’Sullivan said Ms Donnelly (69), of Cappaghmore Estate, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, suffered some permanent disability and was clearly an honest witness who in no way exaggerated her einjuries.

He noted from agreed medical reports that as well as a minimal displacement of her wrist, treating physicians discussed the possibility of a migrating splinter of bone at the end of Ms Donnelly’s thumb, but did not feel it necessary to carry out surgery on it at the time of the fall in October 2020.

The judge said Ms Donnelly fairly disclosed an earlier back injury she sustained in another incident and could easily have claimed that her fall exacerbated it.

Awarding €35,000 general damages together with special damages of €2,271, Judge O’Sullivan said Ms Donnelly still had problems gripping the handlebar of her bike, knitting and doing general housework some 3½ years after the incident.