HSE apologises to family of Cork farmer who died in hospital

Michael Feeney died three days after being admitted when he injured himself cutting down tree


The HSE has apologised unreservedly to the family of a part-time farmer who died in hospital three days after being admitted when he injured himself cutting down a tree.

The entire preventative measures that should have happened in the emergency department at Cork University Hospital did not occur in the case of Michael Feeney, Coolagown, Fermoy, Co Cork , the HSE said.

“The HSE accepts that the care provided to the deceased in this case was negligent and sub-standard. The HSE apologises unreservedly to the family of the late Mr Feeney,” the apology read to the court by the Feeney family counsel, Dr John O’Mahony SC said.

“Subsequent to the death, a system analysis review was performed and recommendations were made in that regard which have been implemented,” it added.

Dr John O’Mahony SC told the court Mr Feeney, who worked in Teagasc and was a part-time farmer in his 50s, had injured himself while cutting down a tree.

He was admitted to the hospital on April 9th, 2014 after 10pm with a hip fracture.

Counsel said Mr Feeney remained in a wheelchair throughout that night and on the morning of April 10th, was put on a trolley.

When he was reviewed, Mr Feeney was told he required surgery but he was later told due to time constraints and unavailability, he would not be operated on until the following Monday.

Counsel said Mr Feeney was allocated a bed at about 7pm on April 11th and was kept under review by the orthopaedic team. He said Mr Feeney developed a deep vein thrombosis and later cardiac arrest and died before 5pm on April 12th.

Dr O’Mahony, who said the case had been settled for €95,000, said Mr Feeney required surgery and this did not take place in the first 24 hours after his admission to hospital.

When Mr Feeney died he had been in hospital for three days. His brother, John Feeney, also of Coolagown, Fermoy, Co Cork, sued the HSE as a result of his brother’s death.

It was claimed there was a failure to exercise reasonable diligence, care, skill and competence in the examination, investigation, diagnosis, treatment advice and management of Michael Feeney.

The HSE admitted liability in the case.

Approving the settlement and striking out the case Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with the Feeney family and said the apology must be some comfort to them.

Outside court, John Feeney welcomed the apology. “We miss our brother Michael as he was in the best of health and we had looked forward to him being with us for many years to come,” he said, flanked by his sister Ann and brother Thomas.

“ The family is deeply saddened by what happened to Michael in hospital and we are so glad to have an apology. We hope that such a tragedy will never happen again.”

Mr Feeney said the family was also glad of the review which took place after the death.