HSE settles wrongful death claim at Mayo hospital for €50,000

Monday 15 July 2013 23.01
Mr Justice Michael Peart was told the matter was settled for €50,000, without admission
Mr Justice Michael Peart was told the matter was settled for €50,000, without admission

The family of a 69-year-old woman have settled a wrongful death action taken against the HSE for €50,000.

Eileen Maloney, who was a patient of Mayo General Hospital, died on 17 February 2009.

Her family sued the HSE claiming it was negligent in its care of Ms Maloney by failing to promptly diagnose and take steps to deal with a perforated bowel, which they say caused her death.

The claims were denied.

At the High Court Mr Justice Michael Peart was informed the matter had been settled for €50,000, without admission of liability.

Ms Maloney of Seanbhaile, Glengad Pulathhomas, Ballina, Co Mayo was admitted to hospital in severe pain on 1 February 2009.

At the time of her death she had been suffering from cancer.

It was claimed that in the days following her admission an x-ray taken of her abdomen suggested an obstruction in her small intestines.

A CT scan taken on 6 February showed a tumour was causing an obstruction in her bowel, although there was no evidence of a perforation.

It was claimed that no doctor was available to read the scan when it was taken and the results were not available until after the weekend.

She underwent emergency surgery on 12 February but died five days later.

In their action for mental distress due to their mother’s alleged wrongful death, the family claimed she was allowed to remain with an acute large bowel obstruction for several days.

Appropriate medical attention which was required to deal with the situation was not offered on time, it was alleged.

It was also claimed the HSE failed to take notice that the x-ray showed she had an obstruction in her bowel.

The HSE also failed to review the x-ray to ensure there was no perforation requiring urgent attention, it was claimed.

The family alleged the HSE failed to take steps to make sure the CT scan was reported on within a reasonable amount of time.

Ms Maloney’s death came as a shock to the family and was distressful for them.

They claimed that a member of staff told them that had she been treated properly she would have made it through surgery, and would have lived for another six months.

Mr Justice Peart in approving the settlement said that it was "a very, very tragic case".

The judge offered his sympathies to Ms Maloney's family on their loss.

Speaking afterwards the family's solicitor Mr David O'Malley said his clients were satisfied with the settlement.