At aged 11 months Eoghan became unwell and was brought to his GP who duly referred him to Portiuncula Hospital on 3rd August 2012. Eoghan was assessed in the Emergency Department waiting room by a Paediatric Doctor and was triaged. Later, the Paediatric Senior House Officer and Paediatric Registrar were contacted and asked to review Eoghan and he was noted to have a very high pulse and increased rate of respiration. An initial diagnosis of possible bronchiolitis or pneumonia was made and Eoghan was prescribed Ventolin and intravenous antibiotics. However, the intravenous antibiotics which were prescribed were not in fact administered. Eoghan’s condition deteriorated and in the early hours of 4th August 2012 he was transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
On arrival in Temple Street, Eoghan was extremely pale, was on full ventilation, his lower limbs were mottled, his heart rate was significantly raised and he was noted to be very ill. Eoghan suffered a cardiac arrest at 06.30 on the 4th August 2012 and underwent extensive resuscitative measures at Temple Street Hospital and was transferred to their Intensive Care Unit. He was significantly unwell and had a long and difficult period of admission in Temple Street Hospital.
Eoghan spent a number of weeks in Temple Street Hospital before being transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire for further rehabilitation. Eoghan suffered a severe neurological injury as a result of his illness and in particular as a result of his circulatory and cardiac collapse which he suffered on his arrival at Temple Street Hospital.
Augustus Cullen Law were contacted by Eoghan’s parents following a RTE Primetime investigates documentary in early 2014. They had been furnished with a copy of an internal hospital Clinical Review Report which they were unaware had ever been carried out and which they had no involvement in. We subsequently carried out a full investigation into the circumstances of the care provided to Eoghan and obtained expert Paediatric evidence which was critical of the standard of care afforded to Eoghan in Portiuncula Hospital. In particular, concern was raised regarding the failure to administer intravenous antibiotics when they were first prescribed for Eoghan. Expert neurology evidence indicated that had Eoghan had been provided with the intravenous antibiotics at the time which they were prescribed, he would have avoided his neurological injuries.
A full Defence was delivered by the Health Service Executive and the matter was listed for hearing in October 2016. However, a mediation was arranged to take place at the end of July 2016 which ultimately resulted in a settlement being agreed under which the HSE will pay the sum of €2.4m to cover Eoghan’s needs for the next 4 years following which the matter will come before the Courts to be reviewed again. An admission of liability was also made by the Defendant in the course of the mediation.
The settlement of Eoghan’s case was approved by Mr. Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court on 28th July 2016. An apology was also read out in Court on behalf of Portiuncula Hospital both in relation to the failures of care in Eoghan's treatment, and for the manner in which an internal review of that treatment was undertaken and communicated to the family.
If you have any further queries please contact Jamie Hart, Partner in our Medical Negligence Department.
Links to Media Coverage:
- Michael Boylan on Morning Ireland:
- Irish Times:
- Irish Independent:
- RTE News:
04 August 2016