Augustus Cullen Law act for Walsh family in settlement of action regarding the death of Patrick Joseph Walsh at Monaghan General Hospital.
Augustus Cullen Law, recently successfully concluded High Court proceedings acting on behalf of the Walsh family. The Defendants in a landmark legal action brought by Patrick Walsh following the death of his father at Monaghan General Hospital have paid a substantial sum in damages in a settlement of the proceedings.
The late Patrick Joseph Walsh bled to death at Monaghan General Hospital from a duodenal ulcer as a result of the failure to secure a critical care bed for him at either Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda or Cavan General Hospital and despite the fact that there were such critical care beds available at the time. An Independent Inquiry was commissioned to report on the circumstances of the tragedy under Mr Declan Carey and Professor John Monson whose report was highly critical of management and procedures in the North East Region.
The failure to transfer the late Patrick Joseph Walsh was described in the report as “quite unacceptable” and as “a consequence of dysfunctional processes, relationships and management structures.” Patrick Walsh brought proceedings against the HSE, The Minister for Health & Children, Ireland and the Attorney General alleging negligence in the management of his father’s treatment and also alleging breaches of certain provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by the State in its duty to one of its citizens. In particular it was claimed that the Defendants had breached their obligations under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the Convention namely the Rights to Life, to Protection from Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and to Private and Family Life. The State has clear binding obligations to the terms of the Convention under the European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003 which brought the Convention into force. This was the first time that breaches of the State’s international obligations were alleged in a medical negligence action.
Liability was admitted by the Defendants in relation to the allegations of negligence although any liability under the terms of the Convention was denied and remained in issue.
After the successful conclusion of the matter Mr Patrick Walsh released the following statement:
"It has been almost 4 years since my father Patrick Joseph Walsh bled to death lying on a trolley in Monaghan Hospital having been refused access to a critical care bed at both Cavan General Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, despite beds being available at both institutions. The Independent Report commissioned by the HSE and prepared by Mr Declan Carey and Professor John Monson described the failure to transfer my father as “quite unacceptable” and as “a consequence of dysfunctional processes, relationships and management structures”.
"I can only hope that lessons have been learned from this tragedy and, in particular, given the current conditions prevailing in Irish hospitals that another such tragedy does not occur. I have to say that I am not confident that this will be the case."
"I am relieved that my legal action has now been successfully resolved and I can start to put this whole tragic saga behind me to some extent and rebuild my life. However I will never be able to forget the horrific death my father suffered on the 14th October 2005. I would like to thank my wife Catherine and all my friends and family who have supported me through this ordeal and my legal team for securing its resolution. I would ask that my family’s privacy be respected after today as it has been subjected to an intense media spotlight which we do not wish to live through again."
Issued on behalf of Mr Patrick Walsh by Augustus Cullen Law, Solicitors, 7 Wentworth Place, Wicklow.
06 July 2009