Couple in 90s to be reunited after High Court €800k settlement

Couple in 90s to be reunited after High Court €800k settlement
Eilish Gilldea, daughter of Bridget and John Hegarty who sued the HSE on behalf of her mother.

A couple in their 90s will finally get their wish to be reunited and move back in together thanks to a settlement worth over €800,000 approved by the High Court today, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

Bridget Hegarty(94) has not been back home since she fell at her Glenties,Co Donegal house two years ago breaking her hip and later had to have an hip operation in hospital.

Bridget has been cared for in a nursing home since, but her dream was to return to live with her husband John who is 99 years of age this year. The Hegartys , Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told have been married for 73 years and have four children.

Bridget, who is the mother in law of former Independent Donegal TD Tom Gilldea, her counsel Gabriel Gavigan SC said will never walk again and since the surgery to her hip has been living in a nursing home as the family home is totally unsuitable.

He said when Mrs Hegarty was admitted to Letterkenny General Hospital after her fall in October 2015, experts on her side contended her hip could have been fixed and she had an 80% chance of returning to her former life but Counsel said she now has no hip joint.

"Mr Hegarty wants to be reunited with his spouse. They have been married 73 years," Counsel said as he explained the settlement against the HSE allows for care on an ongoing basis for Mrs Hegarty at a house provided by Mr Tom Gilldea.

Bridget Hegarty (94) of Meenalargan, Glenties, Co Donegal had through her daughter Eilish Gildea sued the HSE over her care at Letterkenny General Hospital when she was brought there after a fall at her home on October 24, 2015.

It was claimed Mrs Hegarty's right hip injury was incorrectly, inadequately and inappropriately investigated, assessed , evaluated , clinically managed and treated.

It was further alleged that bone cement used in the operation allegedly unexpectedly hardened when inserted and further attempts to remove the hardened cement allegedly caused a further extensive fracture, splitting the femur so that further surgical interventions were not possible and Mrs Hegarty has been left with no hip joint at all.

Tom Gilldea, son in law of Bridget and John Hegarty who is providing the house where the couple will live together.
Tom Gilldea, son in law of Bridget and John Hegarty who is providing the house where the couple will live together.

The claims were denied.

Mr Gavigan said prior to the fall Mrs Hegarty was living independently at her home with her husband and used a zimmer frame to get about.

Mr Gavigan said Mr Tom Gildea has provided a former holiday home which can be adapted to the needs of his in laws and the settlement also includes annual sums for the ongoing care of Mrs Hegarty. The Gildeas, Counsel said did not put in a claim for past care . The total value of the settlement package Counsel said would be in the regions of €825,000 to €850,000.

Approving the settlement package, Mr Justice Cross said it was a very good one and he wished the family all the best for the future.


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