Augustus Cullen Law represented the parents of Tristan Neiland, a 6 year old boy with special needs who sadly passed away while on weekend respite care after being left unmonitored by nursing staff for a period of 88 minutes.
Tristan suffered from a severe form of epilepsy and developmental delay. He would occasionally suffer from epileptic seizures at night and as such required very close monitoring by his parents so that in the event of a seizure they could administer medication and oxygen to bring him around. On the night in question Tristan was staying at the respite home of St John of Gods Hospital under the care of its nursing staff. His mother had left very clear instructions regarding the level of monitoring Tristan required and what to do in the event of a seizure. In particular the staff were to utilise a SATS monitor (which had been provided to them by Tristan’s mother) which would sound an alarm if his blood oxygen level dropped.
Sadly the staff of the Respite Home did not follow his mother’s instructions and instead checked in on Tristan on an irregular ad hoc basis while he was sleeping. A subsequent hospital investigation would show that he had not been checked on for a period of 88 minutes when he was discovered on the floor of his room in an unresponsive state.
Following the death, staff of the respite home sought to justify their treatment by retrospectively creating a “Risk Management Plan.” This plan purported to assert that Tristan’s care did not require the use of a SATS monitor. In addition to being deliberately backdated, the Plan also falsely claimed that it was based upon specific instructions received from Angela that the SATS monitor was not needed.
Augustus Cullen Law were instructed by Tristan’s parents to bring a claim for damages arising from his wrongful death and also a claim for their own psychiatric injuries. A defence was filed by the Hospital which admitted to the deficiencies in treatment and to the subsequent creation of the false “Risk Management Plan” but did not admit that these failings in care actually led to Tristan’s untimely death.
Augustus Cullen Law obtained expert medical reports which confirmed that the death was wholly preventable had Tristan received adequate monitoring and treatment as per his parents’ instructions. A mediation in the matter was arranged between the parties and recently concluded successfully. The parents received an apology from the Respite Home and together with a financial settlement. A major factor motivating Andrew and Angela, Tristan’s parents, in bringing these proceedings was the hope that lessons have been learned from the tragic case so other families do not have to go through the same ordeal.
For media coverage of this matter please see the below links:-
21 July 2017