Tuesday, 21 February, 2012
A widow, whose husband died due to the delay in treatment for a perforated bowel, has been awarded a compensation for wrongful death settlement of 500,000 Euros following the hospital´s acknowledgement that they were responsible for his loss of life.
Mr Justice John Quirke, sitting at Dublin´s High Court, heard how Barry Murphy (38) from Carrigaline in County Cork had been admitted to the South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital in Cork on the morning of April 24th 2008 complaining of pains in his abdomen.
Barry, who was known to suffer from Crohn´s Disease, was diagnosed with a perforated bowel – a particular dangerous condition for somebody with his illness – however surgery was not scheduled until much later in the day.
Because of the delay, Barry suffered a septic shock – a condition where clots form in the small arteries, stopping the blood flow and preventing oxygen reaching the vital organs – and he was pronounced dead at 11.15pm on the same day.
Barry´s widow, Mary, made a hospital negligence claim for wrongful death, alleging that the hospital had failed to provide her husband with an adequate standard of care, failed to operate on him in a reasonable time frame and were ultimately responsible for his death.
Although the hospital initially refused to accept liability for Barry´s death, an investigation into the incident revealed that the delay in treating Barry´s perforated bowel could not be justified and that the South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital was indeed responsible for his wrongful death.
However, due to the time that it had taken for the hospital to acknowledge their liability, Mary had suffered severe psychological damage. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mary´s life changed completely following her husband´s death.
At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice John Quirke heard that settlement of 500,000 Euros in compensation for wrongful death had been agreed between the two parties and, after an apology from the South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital was read to the court, the judge formally approved the settlement.