Family of man who died of heart attack during routine procedure settle case
€100,000 and apology accepted by family in High Court settlement
Liam O’Sullivan, son of the late Brendan O’Sullivan, at the High Court. Photograph: Collins Courts
The family of a Co Kerry man who died of a heart attack during a routine angiogram have secured a €100,000 payment and an apology from a cardiologist under a settlement of their High Court action over his care.
The apology was read in court on Wednesday to the family of 68-year-old Brendan O’Sullivan, from Ballybunion, Co Kerry.
In the letter, consultant cardiologist John Clarke said he would like to convey his sincere apologies to the O’Sullivan family in relation to “the medical care provided to your late father”. He also offered sincere condolences to the family.
Dr John O’Mahony SC, for the family, said Mr O’Sullivan had attended for an angiogram as part of a routine check-up but he unfortunately died of a heart attack.
His son Liam O’Sullivan, New Road, Ballybunion, had sued Dr Clarke, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick over the care provided when the pensioner attended Galway Clinic under the care of Dr Clarke on January 5th 2009.
It was claimed that Dr Clarke deviated from the elective procedure and inserted two guide wires, one up through the groin and the other through the neck.
One of the wires, it was claimed, dissected an artery and Mr O’Sullivan died of a heart attack. It was claimed there was failure to warn Mr O Sullivan of the risks associated with proceeding to a diagnostic cardiac catheterisation and, in particular, the likelihood a dissection of the artery could take place.
It was further claimed there was a failure to exercise due or proper reasonable care for the safety of Mr O’Sullivan. As a result of the death of Mr O’Sullivan, who had three children and seven grandchildren, it was claimed his family suffered severe mental distress, loss and damage.
Liam O’Sullivan also claimed for nervous shock as a result of being present at his father’s death.
Dr O’Mahony told the court liability had been admitted in the case. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good one and offered his sympathy to the family on their loss.