High Court awards €855k to woman who lost eight pints of blood after routine procedure

High Court awards €855k to woman who lost eight pints of blood after routine procedure
Gina Van Amersfoorth.

A woman who went in to hospital for a routine day procedure but ended up losing eight pints of blood when an artery was torn has been awarded over €855,000 by the High Court, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he accepted the expert evidence that Gina Van Amersfoorth's pain and suffering is likely to persist for the rest of her life at its present level if not worsen.

Ms Van Amersfoorth, the judge said, had gone into hospital for a routine diagnostic procedure in June 2002 to establish why she was unable to get pregnant.

Unfortunately, Mr Justice Cross said, while she was under anaesthetic a surgical instrument called a trocar was inserted into her abdomen to allow telescopic examination but there was signficiant bleeding from a major blood vessel caused by the instrument.

The consultant obstetrician Dr John Corristine, the judge said, had torn a main artery in the woman's pelvis and also punctured a vein and the assistance of a vascular surgeon was required.

Gina Van Amersfoorth (aged 50), Grenville, Portlaoise, Co Laois had sued consultant obstetrician Dr John Corristine attached to Portlaoise General Hospital, now the Midland Regional Hospital and what was the Midland Health Board at the time as a result of the procedure carried out at the hospital on June 4, 2002.

It was claimed there was a failure to take any or any adequate or proper precautions for the safety of Ms Van Amersfoorth and a failure to adequately or at all check that all equipment used during the lapasoscopy was in good and proper working order.

It was further claimed the trocar was inserted away from the mid-line and too deeply in the pelvis hitting against the posterior pelvicide wall on at least two occasions and as result an artery and vein were damaged.

Ms Van Amersfoorth suffered a major haemorrhage with a loss of at least eight pints of blood and required ventilation and life support for two days afterwards and was in hospital for six days in total.

The defendants admitted responsibility for the operation, the scar and the initial pain and suffering, but disputed that other claimed consequences such as abdominal pain were related to the incident.

Mr Justice Cross found the woman's ongoing abdominal pain, which is serious and signficant, is as a result of the 2002 procedure.

Ms Van Amersfoorth's life, he said, has been significantly impaired as a result of what happened.

While there are many other plaintiffs who have been more damaged than Ms Amersfoorth, the judge said it would be entirely inappropriate in any way to minimise what she has suffered.

The judge said he must assess them as being very serious and significant but not catastrophic and he awarded a total of €855,793.


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