Woman settles case over husband’s death in hospital from blood clot

Ellen Hackett (71) says ‘life has stood still for us’ since death of her spouse of 50 years

Ellen Hackett’s husband John (71), a father of five and a grandfather, died from a pulmonary thrombo-embolism five years ago. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Ellen Hackett’s husband John (71), a father of five and a grandfather, died from a pulmonary thrombo-embolism five years ago. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A woman whose husband died from a blood clot while he was in hospital recuperating from surgery has settled her High Court action on undisclosed terms.

Ellen Hackett’s husband John (71), a father of five and a grandfather, died from a pulmonary thrombo-embolism five years ago.

Des O’Neill SC, for Mrs Hackett, told the court it was their case that Mr Hackett developed a pulmonary embolism which was allegedly not diagnosed in time and, once diagnosed, was allegedly not treated adequately.

Mrs Hackett told an inquest into his death that her husband’s coat was hanging in the hall in the family home but “John is not where he should be”.

“You only have to put a foot in the door of our family home to see the shock and devastation of John’s death. The emptiness is palpable. Life has stood still for us as a family since the day John died,” she said.

“I have lost my husband, my best friend and life companion of nearly 50 years.”

The coroner returned a verdict of medical misadventure in the case.

In the High Court, Mrs Hackett (74), of Kildonan Avenue, Finglas, Dublin, had sued the Mater Hospital Dublin where the initial surgery was carried out and the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital of Ireland, of Castle Avenue, Clontarf, where Mr Hackett was transferred for rehabilitation in November 2014.

Opportunities

The case against the Mater Hospital was struck out at the High Court on Thursday. Mrs Hackett had claimed against the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital of Ireland, Clontarf that a large number of opportunities had been missed to diagnose pulmonary embolism from November 14th, 2014 onward.

She also alleged failure to have regard to the fact that in the absence of chest infection, the most likely explanation for reduced blood oxygen levels was pulmonary embolism. It was further claimed there was failure to refer Mr Hackett for a CT pulmonary angiogram and failure by December 1st, 2014 to conclude his pleuritic chest pain was likely to be due to pulmonary embolism.

While pulmonary embolism was considered on December 3rd, 2014 and Mr Hackett was given an injection of the anti-coagulant Herparin, it was claimed the dose was too small to have any effect on an established pulmonary embolism.

Mrs Hackett claimed she and her family suffered great distress over the death of Mr Hackett and she found it difficult to come to terms with the sudden loss of her husband. The claims were denied.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross offered his sympathies to Mrs Hackett and her family.