Cork University Hospital has apologised to the family of a 57-year-old man who died after what was described as "shortcomings" and "deficits of care".
Don Fennelly from Bishopstown, Cork died on 2 March, 2018. The business development manager was waiting for his third kidney transplant when he was admitted on New Year's Eve in 2017 with gastro intestinal bleeding.
Today, his wife Colette Fennelly settled a High Court action against the HSE over the death of her husband. The HSE admitted liability in the case two weeks ago.
The details of the settlement were not disclosed.
In the High Court action, it was claimed there was negligence in the investigation and treatment of his condition and after a section of his colon was perforated during a procedure carried out the day after his admission.
It was also claimed there was a delay in treating abdominal sepsis which developed and he was deprived of an opportunity to recover.
In a letter to Mr Fennelly's wife Colette and daughter Megan, Cork University Hospital (CUH) extended the deepest sympathy of the hospital staff on Mr Fennelly’s "tragic and untimely loss".
Interim CEO, Dr Gerard O’Callaghan on behalf of the hospital, offered "heartfelt apologies for the shortcomings in the care provided and the distress suffered" by Mrs Fennelly and her family.
It continued: "CUH would like to acknowledge the deficits of care which resulted in the untimely death of your husband and father Don. We recognise that this loss has had a profound and devastating effect on you and your family."
Senior Counsel for the family Robert Fitzpatrick told the court that according to their medical experts Mr Fennelly would have survived if there had not been a delay in diagnosis and treatment. At issue in the case was the decision for conservative management and treatment of the colon perforation.
Counsel said Mrs Fennelly and her daughter were by her husband's hospital bedside all the time and advocated for him in hospital and after his death. "Their experience in hospital was particularly traumatic" he said. The Fennellys he said, are trying to come to terms with their loss.
Colette Fennelly of Bishopstown, Cork had sued the HSE over the care provided and the death of her husband at the hospital.
Mr Fennelly was admitted to CUH on 31 December, 2017 with a history of lower gastrointestinal bleeding. The next day he had a surgical procedure, when it is claimed his colon was perforated and he suffered a deterioration.
Mr Fennelly’s condition continued to deteriorate and by 4 January, 2018 signs of generalised peritonitis were present.
CT scans later showed an intra-abdominal abscess but it was claimed no adequate steps were taken to treat it or to establish the source of infection.
It was decided after a contrast study on 12 February, 2018, which confirmed a defect in the colon with a huge abscess in the abdomen, that Mr Fennelly would have surgery.
At this stage he had complex abdominal sepsis for at least a month. During the surgery he suffered an injury to the small intestine and he deteriorated even further afterwards with multiple organ failure. He was transferred to the hospital ICU where on 2 March, 2018 he was pronounced dead.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey extended his deepest sympathy to the Fennellys and said it was a sad and tragic case.