THE FAMILY of a woman who died after surgery at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, has settled its High Court action over her death.
Dina Hayes (62) died on September 27th, 2005, days after surgical procedures carried out by consultant general surgeon Prof John Hyland, practising at St Vincent’s Private Clinic, Herbert Avenue.
Her widower, Con Hayes, Camolin, Co Wexford, and daughters, Helena Hayes-Tierney and Jacinta Hayes, brought proceedings against Prof Hyland and two others for mental distress, loss and damage arising from the death.
The action against Prof Hyland was settled yesterday on undisclosed terms. The court was told the proceedings could be struck out with costs against him.The proceedings against consultant anaesthetist Pat Benson and the hospital were struck out with no order as to costs in their cases. The defendants had denied the claims.
The family said the settlement meant they could “finally have closure and start our lives without our wonderful mother and devoted wife”.
In their proceedings, the family said Ms Hayes went to the hospital’s AE unit on September 17th, 2005. It was claimed that two days later, Prof Hyland performed a colonoscopy on her and three days after that, he carried out a hernicolectomy. It was alleged she died five days later from multi-organ failure.
The family claimed there was a failure to use reasonable skill, care and judgment in making diagnoses about Ms Hayes. It was also alleged the defendants failed to adhere to a standard of medical practice which would have been reasonable in the circumstances.
It was further alleged there was failure to caution Ms Hayes about the risks and complications associated with the hernicolectomy and failure to afford time to consider those risks. It was also claimed the defendants failed to examine, assess or monitor Ms Hayes’s post-operative condition adequately or had under-assessed the changes.
It was also alleged the defendants failed to consider that Ms Hayes was suffering from systemic sepsis and/or failed to appreciate the situation’s urgency and the need for immediate and urgent surgical review.
The defendants had, it was alleged, exposed her to a risk of injury which they were, or ought to have been, aware of.
Mr Hayes and his wife were married for 33 years and he suffered significant shock, upset and distress at the death of his wife, it was claimed. He was not present when she died, having been allegedly asked to leave by the hospital, and this added to his distress.
Approving the settlement yesterday, Mr Justice Seán Ryan expressed his sympathy with the family in “a very tragic case.”
10 February 2010