Blood test ‘would have saved man’s life’

A Clare man who was taken to University Hospital Limerick after a fall would not have died had he been properly treated and kept in, a court heard.

The chief executive of the hospital, Colette Cowan, issued an apology at Limerick Circuit Court to he family of Thomas Cusack, aged 54, of Anam Cara, Seafield, Quilty.

Eliza Kelleher, counsel for the family, said Mr Cusack was taken to UHL on April 17, 2014, after sustaining a fall at his home.

He was assessed at the hospital and then discharged.

However, the next day, he collapsed at home and died from a heart attack.

His wife, Barbara, had a very strong feeling that her husband had been neglected by the hospital.

An expert was commissioned to carry out a report, and this found that UHL should have treated Mr Cusack as a very ill man.

No blood test was taken during his visit and, if this had been done, it would have shown up an abnormality and this would have resulted in him being admitted.

If this had happened, Mr Cusack would not have died from cardiac arrest.

Prof Cowan, in a letter read out in court, stated that regrettably an investigation showed that aspects of the care received by Mr Cusack did not reach the standards they came to expect.

The HSE and the hospital apologised unreservedly to Mrs Cusack and their family for the hurt, distress and upset caused, Ms Kelleher said. On July 16, the HSE filed a defence, but a settlement was subsequently agreed.

The hearing was to deal with loss of dependency and this would not be a great sum as Mr Cusack was suffering from a terminal illness at the time and had between three and six months to live.

The estimated loss to Mrs Cusack due to her husband’s death was estimated at €39,400.

Judge Gerald Keys approved a payment of €47,000, which was also to cover funeral costs and a small payment to a grandchild who lived with the couple.


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