Hospital apologises over death of man it sent home three times

Evan Morrissey died of brain haemorrhage after presenting at South Tipperary General with headaches

South Tipperary General Hospital has apologised for shortcomings in the care it provided to a man who died of a brain haemorrhage after being sent home three times after complaining about headaches.

The hospital accepted responsibility for the tragic death in March 2014 of Evan Morrissey (28), a father of five, and said it has since drafted and implemented a headache protocol.

The apology was part of terms of a settlement of a High Court action brought by his partner and children over his death. The other terms are confidential.

Mr Morrissey presented at the hospital three times in three weeks complaining of severe headaches. Migraine was diagnosed and he was sent home but, on the fourth occasion he presented, March 19th 2014, a CT scan identified an acute right frontal lobe cerebral haemorrhage.


He was transferred to another hospital where another scan showed a brain aneurysm. He suffered cardiac arrest, was intubated and resuscitated, but was pronounced brain dead on March 22nd, 2014.

Mr Morrissey's partner Gwen Bradley, of Fr Matthew Crescent, New Inn, Cashel, on behalf of the family, sued the HSE over the care he received at the Tipperary hospital.

The apology, issued by the hospital's general manager Maria Barry, expressed sympathies and condolences on behalf of management and staff.

“The managers and staff of the hospital apologise sincerely for the shortcomings in the care which it provided to the late Evan Morrissey,” it says. “The hospital accepts responsibility for the tragic death and for the heartache and distress suffered by his family as a result of his death.”

Pat Treacy SC told the court a separate action by Ms Bradley for nervous shock had been settled.


In the family’s proceedings, Ms Bradley claimed there was an alleged failure to carry out a lumbar puncture which would have diagnosed a subarachnoid haemorrhage as a result of an aneurysm when he went to the hospital on the three occasions.

It was claimed Mr Morrissey would probably have been successfully treated for his aneurysm had a lumbar puncture been carried out in time.

The HSE admitted liability.

Mr Treacy said Mr Morrissey went to the hospital A&E on March 2nd, 2014 with sudden onset of severe headaches but there was failure to investigate and to carry out a CT scan and a lumbar puncture.

Mr Morrissey was discharged but went to the hospital again on March 6th, 2014 with a letter from his GP saying the headaches were at the top of the head.

He was admitted and had a CT scan which was reported as normal but that was a “false negative” for subarachnoid haemorrhage, counsel said.

Mr Morrissey was again discharged but went to the hospital a third time on March 10th, 2014 when his headaches had deteriorated and he was vomiting. A lumbar puncture was scheduled but not carried out and he was discharged three days later with a diagnosis of migraine.

On March 18th, 2014 Mr Morrissey returned to the hospital a fourth time and reported episodes of vomiting. A CT scan identified an acute frontal lobe cerebral haemorrhage.

Approving the settlements, Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with Ms Bradley and the family on their sad loss.