Man awarded €738,000 over tear to his ureter

Thomas Hill (58) sued health board over injury sustained during operation

A man who suffered a tear to his ureter during an operation has been awarded €738,000 damages by the High Court. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A man who suffered a tear to his ureter during an operation has been awarded €738,000 damages by the High Court. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

A man who suffered a tear to his ureter during an operation has been awarded €738,000 damages by the High Court.

Thomas Hill (58), of Mountrath, Co Laois, sued the Midland Health Board, now the HSE, over his care during a stone removal procedure at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, on October 5th, 1998.

He claimed his ureter was pierced or ruptured in the course of the removal of a stone.

He also alleged failures to notice the ureter had been pierced and, when he returned to the hospital emergency department in pain three days later, to anticipate that his symptoms were consistent with a ruptured ureter.

Had the tear been discovered either during the original procedure or during checking on the day of the operation, or even when he presented at the hospital in pain, the problem could have been dealt with through the simple application of a stent to allow the ureter heal naturally, it was claimed.

As a result of his injuries, Mr Hill claimed he was unable to work, except for a short period when he did sick cover for a school caretaker.

The claims were denied.

The Midland Health Board contended that even if the tear had been diagnosed on Mr Hill’s re-presentation at the hospital, it would have been too late to make any difference, as more than 24 hours had elapsed since the initial tear.

‘Substantial damages’

In his judgment, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Mr Hill had suffered a substantial injury, for which he was entitled to substantial damages.

The tearing of the ureter was a known but “highly unusual” complication of the stone removal procedure, he said.

The judge said he accepted that, as a result of the incident, Mr Hill was in a significantly worse position than he would have been had it not occurred.

He said Mr Hill is suffering from chronic pain, psychological problems and that his enjoyment of life had been severely impaired.