Family settles case over alleged substandard care given to man before his death at Limerick hospital

Family alleged active management of Colm O’Mahony’s condition was withdrawn in an inappropriate way that deprived him of his chance of survival

In the High Court it was alleged Colm O'Mahony was caused to die as a result of failures in his treatment and care while an inpatient at University Hospital Limerick.

The family of a 50-year-old man who died after allegedly being subjected to a substandard level of care while a patient at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has settled their High Court action.

The action was taken against the HSE by Ethel O’Mahony, of Killerk, Darragh, Co Clare, who was married to the late Colm O’Mahony, on behalf of her family.

The case alleged the father-of-three had been caused to die as a result of a multiplicity of failures in his treatment and care while an inpatient at UHL, and that he had been managed on a standard ward despite his severe acute, necrotising pancreatitis and deteriorating condition.

Active management of Mr O’Mahony’s condition was withdrawn in a wholly inappropriate way that deprived him of his chance of survival, it was alleged. There was also an alleged failure to follow advanced life support guidelines for cardiac arrest and an alleged failure to attempt to reverse a treatable cause of cardiac arrest.


The family’s senior counsel, Liam Reidy, with Esther Earley BL, told the court Mr O’Mahony had been in UHL from March 16th, 2020, until his death on April 8th, 2020.

Counsel said Mr O’Mahony got a lung clot that should have been detected during the course of this treatment two days before he died. Mr Reidy, instructed by O’Brien and Co solicitors, said the case had been settled after mediation, with liability admitted by the HSE.

Mr O’Mahony, who worked with Clare County Council, had been brought to the UHL emergency department on March 16th, 2020, complaining of severe abdominal pain. He was admitted and a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis was made before he was put on antibiotics.

During the course of his admission, it was claimed, he had persistently raised inflammatory markers and high early warning scores at multiple points. It is claimed there was a complete failure on the part of the HSE to respond adequately to his deteriorating condition.

In the proceedings it was also claimed there was a failure to consider a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism from March 25th, 2020, when Mr O’ Mahony began to complain of shortness of breath. Mr O’Mahony was not transferred to intensive care for emergency treatment, including cardiorespiratory support, when they knew or ought to have known the decision not to do so deprived him of his chance of survival, it was claimed.

Noting the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey extended his deepest sympathy to Ms O’Mahony and her family.