Hospital and HSE apologise over young woman’s death from brain bleed

Court told medics in Sligo initially thought Lisa Niland (19) had meningitis and pancreatitis

Portraits of Lisa Niland being held by her sister Amy and parents Angela and Gerry Niland from Sligo  outside the High Court following a settlement related to her death. Photograph: Collins Courts

Portraits of Lisa Niland being held by her sister Amy and parents Angela and Gerry Niland from Sligo outside the High Court following a settlement related to her death. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

The HSE and Sligo University Hospital have apologised at the High Court to the family of a 19-year-old woman who died of a bleed to the brain three days after collapsing and being rushed to the hospital.

The apology was read as part of a confidential settlement of cases by the family of Lisa Niland against the hospital.

Ms Niland was taken to the Sligo hospital after collapsing in a fast food restaurant with severe head pain and dizziness..

Counsel for her family, Eoin McCullough SC, told the High Court there were three cases before the court relating to her tragic death, brought by her parents, Gerry and Angela and sister, Amy. All cases were settled on confidential terms.

The family contended that had Lisa undergone a CT scan earlier at the hospital and been transferred urgently for treatment in Dublin, she would, on the balance of probabilities, have survived. The brain scan was carried out more than 10 hours after she was reviewed in the Sligo hospital following her collapse.

In a letter to the Niland family read to the High Court, the hospital and the HSE said it would like to sincerely apologise for the fact the care provided at the hospital “did not reach the standard expected”.

The letter acknowledged the experience was “devastating” for the Niland family and has had “ a profound and lasting effect” on them.

Collapse

Ms Niland, from Drimbane in Curry, was taken to the hospital at about 9.20pm on January 17th, 2017 after collapsing in the restaurant. It was noted that she had a headache, dizziness and was vomiting.

It was claimed that she was only seen at 11.15pm and an ECG was done and diagnoses of pancreatitis and meningitis were recorded. It is claimed that despite the sudden onset of headache, brain haemorrhage was not suggested as a diagnosis. In the early hours of January 18th, the plan was to admit the young woman and she would have a CT scan later.

A diagnosis of meningitis was again mooted at around 9am and the need for a CT scan was repeated. It was further claimed that Ms Niland was belatedly taken for a CT scan at 9.51am on January 18th, which showed a large haemorrhage.

Treating doctors discussed the findings with Ms Niland’s family and contact was made with the neurosurgery department at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

Shortly afterwards Ms Niland suffered a cardiac arrest and a second arrest at around 11.50am. She was transferred Beaumont, where emergency surgery took place and a haematoma was removed.

Ms Niland was later put on a ventilator and her family was advised there was a poor prognosis. Her situation deteriorated further later and she was pronounced dead at 3.25pm on January 20th, 2017.

Mr Niland sued the HSE over the death of his daughter on January 20th, 2017. Amy Niland sued over nervous shock.

Approving the settlements, Mr Justice Kevin Cross extended his sympathy to the family on their loss.