Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has apologised in the High Court to the family of a 68-year-old woman for "deficiencies in care" that led to her untimely death. The apology was part of a confidential settlement of the family's case brought over Kathleen Conroy's death in March 2014.
Ms Conroy, who had recently flown into Dublin from the UK to visit her daughter, was referred to the hospital by a GP as she was complaining of a pain in her leg.
Ms Conroy, who had a family history of deep vein thrombosis, was discharged from the hospital on a number of occasions between March 19th 2014 and March 28th 2014.
She died of a heart attack in the hospital on March 28th while awaiting transfer to intensive care.
In an apology signed by chief executive Ian Carter and read to the court on Friday, the hospital said it wished to "apologise sincerely for the deficiencies in care that led to the untimely death" of Mrs Conroy.
It added: “ I wish to further apologise for the distress experienced by the family as a result of the loss of your mother and the miscommunication that occurred at this difficult time for your family”.
The hospital extended deepest condolences on behalf of its staff to Ms Conroy’s family.
Ms Conroy's daughter, Maria Kleanthous, Newbrook Avenue, Donaghmede, Dublin, and her two sons Andrew and George Kleanthous, with addresses in the UK, had sued for nervous shock over the untimely death of their mother at Beaumont Hospital on March 28th, 2014.
Outside court, Ms Conroy’s son George said it had been a six-year battle for his family “to get justice” for his mother. “The hardest thing for all of us was we felt her death was avoidable and that has been pretty difficult to live with. We are pleased today to have received the apology and brought the matter to a conclusion. Hopefully, we can now move on from this experience.”
Ms Conroy had come to Dublin for a visit in advance of moving permanently here. She attended the Beaumont Hospital emergency department complaining of pain in her leg calf.
She was examined and advised to take aspirin and stop smoking and she returned the next day for an ultrasound of her leg, it was claimed.
The following day, no evidence was found of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis and she was discharged.
It was claimed that, on March 22nd and 23rd 2014, she continued to feel unwell and had severe pain and could not walk.
She returned to the hospital and was treated with anti coagulants and antibiotics and asked to return the next day.
On March 24th, no evidence of venous thrombosis was uncovered and it is claimed she was discharged despite being unable to walk. She returned to the hospital on March 28th in extreme pain and was treated with morphine.
Her right foot was discoloured and she was noted to be suffering from a rapid heart rate.
A blockage of the arteries in her right leg was diagnosed and an echocardiogram was carried out.
It was claimed the result of that was not communicated to the vascular surgical team.
A surgical procedure was carried out but, it was claimed, it was agreed Ms Conroy would be transferred to theatre to stitch the artery site. No theatre was available and Ms Conroy was to be transferred to intensive care.
While awaiting transfer, she suffered a heart attack and died.
It was alleged there was failure to ensure a proper management structure in operation in the hospital to ensure the timely provision of a high observation bed in a vascular ward and to ensure, at all material times, that appropriate expert assistance was immediately available. Liability was admitted in the case.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he hoped the apology from the hospital was some consolation to the family.