Woman who required above-knee amputation settles High Court personal injuries case

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    Frances O’Brien alleged she was seen by multiple doctors who failed to carry out a vascular examination of her

    Original article published on theirishtimes.com.

    A woman has settled her High Court case alleging she required an amputation above her knee due to medical negligence.

    Frances O’Brien (63) alleged she was seen by multiple doctors who failed to carry out a vascular examination in breach of their duty to her.

    She sued the Health Service Executive (HSE), as controller of Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and three GPs.

    As part of the settlement, which is confidential, she received an apology in court from Dr John Curtin, a general practitioner at Centric Health Finglas on Main Street, Finglas, for what he said was his “failure to take adequate action, including undertaking a vascular examination” during his medical examination of her on February 5th, 2021.

    Dr Curtin also apologised for his conduct towards Ms O’Brien’s daughter, Ann-Marie, during two interactions in July and September 2022.

    Ms O’Brien, of Cappagh Road, Finglas West, Dublin 11, had alleged he told Ann-Marie the practice was at risk of closing with associated job losses if the personal injuries case proceeded.

    She claimed he said she and her daughter would be barred from the practice if the action went ahead and he asked her daughter to “do the right thing” and not think about the money.

    Ms O’Brien’s senior counsel, Barney Quirke, instructed by Mark Tiernan of Tiernan & Co Solicitors, told the court on Thursday that the action has been compromised and could be struck out.

    Mr Quirke, with barrister David Lennon, said there was consent for an order that his client’s legal costs should be paid by the HSE, Dr Curtin and Dr Rostam Samad, also of Centric Health Finglas.

    Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds noted there was no liability whatsoever against Dr Clodagh McKenna, also of Centric Health Finglas. It is understood the Mater made no admissions.

    Eileen Barrington SC, with Donal McGuinness BL, instructed by Mason Hayes & Curran, for the defendants, confirmed there should be no order for costs against the Mater or Dr McKenna.

    The judge congratulated the parties for resolving the case, which would have been “long, difficult and costly” at trial.

    Ms O’Brien said she had a long history of reduced mobility and joint stiffness before she went on to develop pain in her left hip and pelvis in 2020.

    She claimed she attended a neurology clinic at the Mater in September 2020 due to her symptoms where an extensive history and physical exam was undertaken before she was discharged home with a plan to attend for routine review.

    On November 23rd of that year, she claimed, she attended Dr Rostam Samad at Centric Health Finglas as a wound to her left foot, sustained in October, was not healing properly. She alleged she was given a prescription for antibiotics but was not examined for vascular issues.

    She alleged she attended Connolly Hospital’s emergency department four days later regarding the wound and was diagnosed with mild cellulitis before being sent home with a prescription for antibiotics. She alleged no vascular exam was carried out.

    She reattended the same emergency department a month later with ongoing problems with the wound and, she alleged, she was told to take Solpadeine at home. She said she returned in late January 2021 over issues with her wound but was sent home. She alleged no vascular exam occurred on either occasion.

    On February 5th, she said, she went back to Centric Health Finglas, where she was seen by Dr Curtain and prescribed antibiotics but was not given a vascular exam.

    Four days later, she said, she saw Dr McKenna, also at Centric Health Finglas, who referred her to a vascular surgeon. She was reviewed nine days later in the Mater’s vascular laboratory where investigations confirmed the presence of severe bilateral peripheral artery disease, she said.

    The hospital admitted her as a patient and doctors there amputated her left leg above the knee on March 3rd, 2021.

    The claims were denied.

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