State urged to allow two cases relating to seriously ill woman to proceed together

Amanda Murphy (44) suffered significant brain injury and has been on ventilator since

The husband of a 44-year-old woman who is seriously ill has pleaded with the State to allow both her case of assessment of damages against the HSE and a case considering the future care needs of her children to proceed before the High Court.

Liability has been admitted in the case of mother-of-two Amanda Murphy who the High Court Thursday heard suffered a significant brain injury and has been on a ventilator and at times in a coma since last year.

Ms Murphy’s husband Fergal through his solicitor David O’Malley implored the State “to have a heart” and consent to the two strands of the case going through the courts side-by-side. It is claimed, because of an anomaly in the law, the strands cannot run together unless the State parties consent to such a move.

The case had come before Mr Justice Paul Coffey as the Murphy side sought directions on whether Ms Murphy's case for assessment of damages should go ahead as listed next week.


Counsel for the Murphys, Des O’Neill SC instructed by David O’Malley of Callan Tansey solicitors, said negligence was admitted in the case. He said Ms Murphy had been on a ventilator for the past year.

Counsel said a choice has to be made whether to continue with the personal injuries action brought by Ms Murphy or to bring a case revolving around the future care of her children after her death.

Counsel said the Murphys were not seeking to be doubly compensated but the State parties could consent to the two strands of the assessment for the injuries and the future care needs of the children cases running together. He said his side sought directions on whether Ms Murphy’s claim should go ahead next week or be adjourned.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said Ms Murphy would want to make a decision for the benefit of her children. The judge said an alternative was if the State was in a position to consent to both cases.

Counsel for the HSE told the court it acknowledged the difficult position but said it was up to the family to elect whether or not to proceed with the action next week.

Mr Justice Coffey adjourned Ms Murphy’s action generally, meaning that action will not go ahead next week, to facilitate the bringing of an action later by the Murphy children.

Amanda Davey Murphy (44), a school principal from Ballina, Co Mayo, had sued the HSE in relation to her care at Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar and Sligo University Hospital in 2016.

It was claimed there was a failure to identify for a protracted period Ms Murphy had sustained damage to her brain. The brain injury was allowed to remain undiagnosed and untreated, it was claimed.

She had gone to the Mayo hospital on January 9th, 2016 after she had a fall at home. A wound on her scalp was stapled and she was advised the fall was due to low blood pressure and she was sent home. It was claimed no CT scan or other investigation took place.

Two days later she was admitted to the Sligo hospital after she was sent by her GP and she had a CT scan and other investigations. No cause was found and medication was prescribed to keep her blood pressure elevated.

On January 16th Ms Murphy had a second fall which appeared to be as a result of a seizure and she was taken by ambulance to Sligo General Hospital. She was kept for observation overnight and the fall was again attributed to low blood pressure. On January 19th Ms Murphy was found unresponsive with the symptoms of a prolonged seizure. On examination, she had slurred speech and left-sided weakness.

It was submitted by the Murphy side that had the injury been identified and repaired at the time of the admissions to the hospitals she may, on the balance of probabilities, have made an uncomplicated recovery.