Family settles case against Waterford hospital for €475,000

Mother of one suffered cardiac arrest two days after being discharged with painkillers

Approving the settlement, the judge said it was an excellent one. File photograph: The Irish Times

Approving the settlement, the judge said it was an excellent one. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

The family of a woman who died two days after she first sought help from a hospital for severe pain in her knee has settled a High Court action for €475,000. The settlement is without admission of liability.

Noreen O’Connor (50), a mother of one, suffered a cardiac arrest in the theatre of Waterford Regional Hospital on May 29th 2012, two days after being discharged with painkillers.

In their case against the Health Service Executive, her family claimed her treatment at the hospital on May 27th 2012 was inadequate and also alleged failure to provide timely and appropriate medical intervention on her return to the hospital on May 29th, 2012.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons was told all the claims were denied and liability was at issue in the case.

Michael O’Connor, Ballinteskin, New Ross, Co Wexford, sued the HSE over the care and treatment given to his wife at the hospital.

In an affidavit, Mr O’Connor said his wife was referred by a doctor to the hospital on May 27th, 2012, with severe pain in her left knee. A diagnosis of a possible cyst in the back of the knee area was diagnosed and she was discharged with analgesia.

Mr O’Connor said no blood test was taken on that occasion. The next day, his wife again had very severe pain again in her left knee and arrangements were made by a doctor to have her urgently transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital.

High pulse rate

He said she arrived at the hospital in the early hours of May 29th, 2012, and had a high pulse rate and very low blood pressure, Her left leg was swollen along its entire length, the working diagnosis was an extensive deep-vein thrombosis with possible superimposed infection and she was given antibiotics intravenously.

Mr O’Connor said the final diagnosis was necrotising fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection commonly known as flesh eating disease that spreads quickly in the body.

That condition was raised as a possibility at lunchtime and further antibiotics were given to his wife. She was taken to theatre but suffered a cardiac arrest on arrival there and died at 17.20pm on May 29th, 2012.

Approving the settlement, the judge said it was an excellent one.