Hospital admits liability for death


The parents of a nine-year-old girl who died from meningitis the day after she was admitted to Cork University Hospital have said it was a disgrace that no doctor had come to the High Court yesterday to apologise.

The hospital admitted liability for the death of Amy Grandon of St Anne's, Dromin, Cloghroe, Co Cork, in September 1999.

Under the terms of a settlement announced to Mr Justice Johnson, the parents will receive €44,440.

Amy's father, Mr Dermot Grandon, said afterwards that the hospital's insurance meant there was a cushion for doctors who did not even have to apologise for what had happened.

"They just pay out a small figure and go back to work," he said.

Mrs Helen Grandon said no doctor was in court to answer for what had happened. Her daughter had not been treated properly. The system had let her down. "Nobody has answered why they didn't treat our daughter," she said.

In the statement of claim it was alleged that on September 15th, 1999, Amy was admitted to Cork University Hospital for medical treatment after complaining of severe headaches, neck stiffness, sore throat, drowsiness and vomiting. She also had a rash.

It was claimed that the hospital failed to have proper regard for the build-up of symptoms during the hours before Amy's admission and that such symptoms were typical for somebody developing a potential meningeal irritation or meningeal infection.

It was stated in the statement of claim that if the appropriate treatment had been taken immediately Amy had been admitted, in line with standard clinical practice, she would have survived.

It was alleged that the hospital failed to have proper regard for the medical history outlined by Amy's local doctor and of his suspicion that Amy had meningitis.

Mrs Grandon told the High Court she was concerned that the public at large should know about the dangers of meningitis and was also concerned that the doctors didn't act as quickly as they should have.

She said they were assured by the hospital that Amy was only suffering from a viral illness and the question of meningitis did not arise.

Amy died the following day from meningococcal septicaemia associated with cerebral oedema and meningitis and the death was due to the negligence and breach of duty of the hospital.

Told that the Grandons had also lost a child with spina bifida, Mr Justice Johnson paid tribute to Mrs Grandon for showing such remarkable bravery.

He pointed out that the damages that could be awarded were limited by law and nothing could be done about it.