CH v HSE

The Plaintiff in this case attended Naas General Hospital on 6 February 2009 following a fall down a stairs at home. On arrival at the hospital, this elderly lady was complaining of low back pain, a laceration on the back of her head and pain in the back of her neck. X-rays of the chest, cervical and lumbar spines were undertaken (only sub-optimal views were obtained) but no fracture was identified. Despite repeated complaints about the severe pain in her neck , it was recommended that Voltarol gel be applied to her neck area and no further investigation in respect of these on-going complaints took place. She was discharged from Naas General Hospital on 13 February 2009. Due to the continuing pain in her neck, she made an appointment with a consultant orthopaedic surgeon where a CT scan of her cervical spine was carried out. On 9 April 2009, she was advised by her consultant orthopaedic surgeon that the said scan had revealed a fracture of her neck through the odontoid peg with slight right-sided postero-lateral displacement by approximately 2mm. Following a review with a consultant neurosurgeon, she was advised to undergo a C1/C2 posterior cervical fusion which she underwent on 20 July 2009 and the operation took 7 hours under general anaesthetic. Following the procedure, she had continued on-going pain and restricted movement of her neck. She required extra care to assist her with all of her daily activities and she was no longer able to drive long distances.

Proceedings were issued on 26 April 2010 and a full Defence was delivered by the Defendant on 6 April 2011. In October 2011, the case was fixed for trial to commence in the High Court on 22 February 2012. The Defendant finally admitted liability on 13 January 2012. Attempts to settle the matter in advance of the trial date were unsuccessful. On the morning of the trial, after being assigned to a Judge, the case settled. The Plaintiff received a total amount of €155,000.00 to include both general damages (for pain and suffering) and Special Damages (for losses and expenses) which represented the full value of the case having regard to the Plaintiff’s age (78) and the fact that she suffered from several other unrelated but relevant underlying health problems.


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18 April 2012

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