The family of a 49-year-old man who it was claimed was not offered a potentially life-saving liver transplant has settled its case against St James's Hospital for an undisclosed sum. The settlement was made without admission of liability.
Christine Kelly from Slievebloom Road, Drimnagh, Dublin had sued St James's Hospital, Dublin over the care her husband Alan received. He died ten days after his admission in January 2012. He had five children and four grandchildren.
Mr Kelly was diagnosed with liver disease in 1997. He later had a shunt procedure that connects two veins within the liver. Mr Kelly stopped drinking alcohol in 2008 but the next year he developed fluid on the abdomen which persisted and worsened in December 2011.
He was admitted to St James’s Hospital on 6 December 2011, where the fluid was drained and he was discharged. He later went back to the hospital and the fluid was drained again. Mr Kelly was due to attend the liver clinic on 19 January 2012
Three days before his appointment he went back to the hospital to have more fluid drained but on 19 January 2012 he presented again with shortness of breath and abdominal pain.
Following assessment, it was claimed he was noted to be in renal failure, he had jaundice and his white cell count was raised.
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis was suspected, and he was treated with antibiotics but his condition worsened. He underwent a further procedure but on 1 February 2011 he suffered a massive upper gastrointestinal bleed and died.
In the action for damages it was claimed there was a failure to consider or offer a liver transplant to Mr Kelly in particular when he had stopped drinking alcohol in 2008.
It was also claimed there was a failure to offer a liver transplant to him when his liver disease was progressing despite medical treatment.
All the claims were denied. The terms of the settlement were confidential and the case was before the court for approval of the division of the statutory payment for mental distress.