KK v IC

The Plaintiff’s claim in this case arose out of an alleged failure on the part of the Defendant Hospital to diagnose and treat a malignant fibrous histiocytoma, which is a soft tissue sarcoma, in and around her left knee, as a consequence of which she required a left above knee amputation in May 2009. The Plaintiff was just 31 years of age at the time.

In June 2008, the Plaintiff discovered a small swelling below her left knee and attended with her General Practitioner. He prescribed antibiotics and referred her to the Defendant Hospital to undergo an x-ray, which was ultimately reported as clear. The swelling continued to grow, becoming increasingly raised and inflamed, and as a result, she attended at the Accident and Emergency Department of the Defendant Hospital in November of that year. A clinical diagnosis of bursitis was made and the Plaintiff was referred to the Orthopaedic Department the following week for specialist treatment.  Despite being informed of a strong family history of cancer, of the fact that two courses of antibiotics had been prescribed with no improvement, and that the lump had been in existence for a number of months and had continued to increase in size, the Orthopaedic Department persisted with a diagnosis of bursitis/housemaid’s knee and treated the Plaintiff by means of medication including antibiotics as well as excision in and drainage of the Plaintiff’s left knee pre-patellar swelling. The Plaintiff had a number of attendances at the Hospital over the following months but it was not until a histology report dated the 19th of March 2009 that the Defendant Hospital discovered the Plaintiff had a malignant tumour. The Plaintiff subsequently underwent a left above knee amputation in May 2009.

The basis of the Plaintiff’s claim and evidence was that had appropriate treatment been instigated upon her referral to the Orthopaedic Department of the Defendant Hospital, and had appropriate investigations been carried out, the correct diagnosis would have been arrived at and further investigations leading to limb salvage would have been performed.  Proceedings were issued on the 10th of June 2010, and a full Defence was delivered by the Defendants on the 29th of September 2011 which denied any liability on the part of the Defendant Hospital. The case was fixed for trial to commence on the 2nd of May 2012, and in anticipation of same, extensive settlement negotiations took place.  On the 30th of April 2012, the case settled with the Plaintiff receiving a total amount of €925,000.00. In addition to the natural and foreseeable consequences the amputation of a leg would have upon a young woman of 31 years of age, the Plaintiff missed an entire year’s work following the operation and is no longer in a position to carry out a wide range of activities she previously could. Fortunately however, the Plaintiff has been able to return to employment. 


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29 June 2012

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