SP v. HSE
The Plaintiff was 29 years old when she was pregnant with her third child. She was suffering from a long term underlying condition called Crohn’s Disease, was under the care of a Specialist Consultant Gastroenterologist and attended the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic of a large general hospital on a regular basis.
From the time that she was approximately 21 weeks gestation the Plaintiff experienced severe exacerbation of her Crohn’s Disease and was placed on steroidal medication for a number of weeks. Unfortunately her condition did not improve and she was admitted as an emergency patient to the maternity hospital under whose care she was for her pregnancy, complaining of lower abdominal and back pain. Over the following days she developed a high temperature and rigors and it was recommended that an MRI be conducted. This request was declined by the Consultant Radiologist who instead advised that an ultrasound of the abdomen be taken and advised that dependent on those results a CT scan could then be carried out and only then should an MRI scan be considered. An ultrasound was duly carried out which did not demonstrate any abnormality and the Plaintiff was discharged without any further investigations. In the days following her discharge she continued to experience severe pain and felt generally unwell.
The Plaintiff suffered a spontaneous rupture of her membranes when she was at 24 weeks gestation and her son was born by way of assisted breech delivery. Tragically he was born in an extremely compromised state due to his prematurity and sadly passed away after 29 hours of life.
The Plaintiff brought proceedings against the Hospital claiming damages for the wrongful death of her son and her own psychiatric injuries arising out of the circumstances surrounding his death. It was alleged that the Defendant failed to adequately or appropriately treat the exacerbation her Crohn’s Disease in the circumstances where it is recognised that a flare up in a pregnant woman can cause the onset of premature labour. It was further alleged that the failure to carry out an MRI scan led to a delay in the diagnosis a large intra-abdominal abscess which precipitated the onset of early labour in the Plaintiff and the untimely and tragic death of her son.
The case was specially fixed for trial and, although the Defendant claimed that liability was in issue, it was not possible based on the Court documents to identify how the Defendant proposed to defend the case. The matter was ultimately settled a number of weeks before the hearing for the sum of €110,000.00 together with the Plaintiff’s legal costs which represented the full value of the case.
23 July 2010