Medical Negligence Case Dismissed by High Court
In a judgement delivered by Ms. Justice Mary Irvine on the 25th of November 2011 in a case involving Paul Hegarty v. The Mercy University Hospital Cork, Judge Irvine dismissed the Plaintiff’s case. Mr. Hegarty who is a 34 year old who lives in Glanmire in Cork issued proceedings against the Mercy University Hospital in Cork relating to care that was given to him between the 6th of February and the 5th April 2007. The Plaintiff was treated for a very serious health condition, Ulcerative Colitis which is an inflammatory bowel disease.
The background to the case is that Mr. Hegarty developed ulcerative colitis in 2001. Between 2011 and 2007, he was treated for ulceration of his large bowel by his GP and a consultant gastroenterologist. The Plaintiff was hospitalised on a number of occasions and he was required emergency admission to the Mercy Hospital. The Plaintiff had to have extensive surgery which involved the repair of his rectal stump and the repositioning of the ileostomy.
The Court was told that the main liability issues were as follows:
- Whether or not the Defendant, its servants and/ or agents were negligent in failing to properly appraise the Plaintiff of the findings made in the course of the second surgical procedure, namely a leakage of the rectal stump which caused a pelvic abscess and wound infection; and/or
- Whether the Defendant, its servants and/or agents were negligent in failing to adequately advise the Plaintiff of the significance of the MRSA positive finding from the pelvic swab reported on the 1st of March 2007.
The Plaintiff maintained that the Negligence on the part of the Defendant in failing to fully outline to the Plaintiff the complications of his initial surgery caused the Plaintiff to attribute all of his medical problems to MRSA infection following a positive report on the 1st of March 2007 rather than to the real cause namely a leak of the rectal stump.
The Judge held that there was no failure on the part of the hospital to keep the Plaintiff fully informed regarding his medical conditions. The Judge also held that there was no duty on the Defendant to ensure that it was a member of the medical staff that first advised the Plaintiff of the MRSA infection.