Sligo hospital apologises over ‘shortcomings in clinical judgment’

Couple claimed if woman had been properly treated she would have been spared sepsis and bowel resection

 

Sligo University Hospital has apologised in the High Court for “shortcomings in clinical judgment” when a woman presented at its A&E department in severe pain.

Jennifer McTague was in so much pain she was given morphine, but was discharged home in the early hours, it was claimed.

When she came back to the hospital hours later, she was in severe distress and had to have extensive surgery for a bowel obstruction.

Her husband Michael, who was later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after the hospital events, thought his wife was going to die, it was alleged.

The couple sued the HSE claiming, if Mrs McTague had been properly and appropriately treated when she presented at the hospital A&E, she would have been spared a sepsis and a major bowel resection.

The HSE admitted a breach of duty over failing to admit Mrs McTague to the Sligo hospital when she first presented to the A&E.

On Wednesday, the couple settled their actions, on confidential terms, over her treatment at the hospital.

When the cases were called, Sheila Reidy BL, said they could be struck out.

A letter read to the court from the hospital manager said it wished to apologise to the couple for “shortcomings in clinical judgment” rendered to Mrs McTague during her hospitalisation and treatment in Sligo University Hospital.

It added: “On behalf of Sligo University Hospital I acknowledge the upset and distress that this has caused to both of you and also to your extended family.”

Mrs McTague (41) and her husband Michael (46), of Ballinamore, Co Leitrim had sued the HSE over the care she received at the hospital when she was brought to the A&E by ambulance on June 17th, 2016.

She was in severe pain and stress, was given morphine and discharged home in the early hours but later returned to the hospital.

Mrs McTague, despite showing significant clinical signs and evidence of an intestinal obstruction was not referred for appropriate surgical or consultant review or a CT scan, it was claimed.

Her condition continued to significantly deteriorate throughout the day. The couple were later informed Mrs McTague had a blocked bowel and would require extensive surgery,

At this stage, it was claimed her condition had deteriorated to such an extent she was at risk of death due to sepsis.

After the surgery Mr McTague was brought into an office and told his wife had suffered a life endangering event and was critically ill and it was hoped she would pull through.

Mr McTague, it was claimed, thought his wife was going to die and he suffered a devastating shock upon hearing the news of her condition and when he visited his wife in ICU on a ventilator. She later had further surgery in a Dublin hospital.

It was claimed a significant delay occurred in the diagnosis and treatment of Mrs McTague’s condition and her life was put at risk due to the onset of sepsis as a result of that delay.

Mrs McTague claimed all elements of her life had been substantially affected by the events.

Outside court, solicitor Daniel Hughes read a statement on behalf of the couple in which they said they were grateful after four years “ most protracted litigation” the case had come to an end through a recent mediation.

“We are fully determined to move on with our lives with our family. We remain strongly of the view that what occurred when we arrived at the hospital in June 2016 should never have happened.”

“We sincerely hope that lessons have been learned and steps have been taken to ensure that no other family ever has to go through what we had to endure.”