Apology issued over cancer patient's death

Wednesday 12 February 2014 09.01
Statement on behalf of HSE and Cavan General Hospital read to High Court
Statement on behalf of HSE and Cavan General Hospital read to High Court

A cancer patient who was admitted to Cavan General Hospital with dehydration died the next day after a "catalogue of errors," the High Court was told.

In a statement read to the court, the Health Service Executive and Cavan General Hospital apologised to the family of Eileen Brady, 65, over failings in her care and treatment "which led to her untimely death".

"We apologise for the subsequent grief, hurt and stress suffered by her immediate family and her friends including her sons, daughter, brothers, sisters and grandchildren."

Declan Buckley SC, for the HSE, read the statement as part of the settlement of the family's action arising from the mother-of-five’s death.

In a statement read in court on behalf of the family, her son Aidan Brady said: "We realise our mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer and we acknowledge the severity of this condition.

“However, she should have received the proper care that any person is entitled to instead of the inhumane treatment she received in the hours prior to her death."

He hoped Cavan General Hospital and the HSE has learned from "the grave mistakes made in this case" and that no other family would "have to go through the trauma and distress that we have suffered."

Another son, Martin Brady, had on behalf of the family, sued the HSE for mental distress and damage arising from the death of his mother in January 2010.

Outlining the case, Bruce Antoniotti SC for the family, said Mrs Brady was suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatment at a Dublin hospital in 2009.

On 5 January 2010, she was referred to Cavan General Hospital by her GP.

She had mouth ulcers and poor fluid intake and was to be treated for dehydration.

The treatment was ineffective as her veins had collapsed, counsel said.

There were many things that could have been done but her chart was not read, senior doctors were not sought to address the matter and there was no liaison with the Dublin hospital where Mrs Brady was being treated for her cancer, counsel added.

There was a "catalogue of errors" and Mrs Brady suffered multiorgan failure and died on 6 January.

Had the case proceeded, his side would have called expert evidence that the dehydration was reversible, counsel said.

Liability had been admitted, he said.

In his statement on behalf of the family, Aidan Brady said they had decided to pursue the case due to "a lot of confusion and unanswered questions" after their mother's sudden and untimely death.

"Through our family bond and the support of our close relations, we have given each other the strength to follow this issue to this conclusion today," he said.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine extended her sympathy to the family.