Biker gets €145,000 after HSE failures


A man who sued the Health Service Executive after a Limerick hospital failed to diagnose fractured vertebrae in his spine when he was admitted after a motorbike crash has been awarded €145,000 damages.

At the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill said Kevin Greaney had complained at Limerick Regional Hospital’s AE department in 2005 of severe pain and gave details of the incident. X-rays were carried out and doctors advised him there was nothing wrong.

They said he did not require treatment other than rest and painkillers.

While Mr Greaney now has a stable spine, he will suffer significantly greater pain throughout his life than would have been the case had he been offered appropriate treatment after the incident, the judge ruled.

Mr Greaney had sued the HSE alleging negligent failure to diagnose compression-wedge fractures of two of his vertebrae and to give him appropriate advice and treatment when he was admitted to the hospital in 2005.

The court heard Mr Greaney was riding his motorbike outside the city on July 10th, 2005, when he hit an obstacle, lost control and was thrown off. He landed on his back in a ditch and was unable to move. A passing motorist brought him to a GP, who immediately referred him to Limerick Regional Hospital.

The HSE acknowledged that the failure to see the fractures, which were apparently readily visible, amounted to negligence on the part of doctors as did the failure to offer Mr Greaney appropriate advice and treatment, the judge noted. It disputed the development of Mr Greaney’s current spinal condition was due to negligence by it and argued that was rather due to natural progression of his underlying injury.

Mr Justice O’Neill found that Mr Greaney, as a young, healthy person, would have had a high probability of a good outcome had the fractures been appropriately treated.