Man’s voice box ‘unnecessarily removed’

Kevin McMahon at the High Court yesterday. Picture: Courtpix

A 63-year-old truck driver who had his voice box unnecessarily removed in a 14-hour operation at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, has sued the HSE for damages.

Father of four and grandfather Kevin McMahon the High Court heard now has no natural voice and can only speak through an artificial voice box. His counsel Liam Reidy said when he was first at the hospital in 2010, Mr McMahon had a throat lesion which was at the first level of cancer and targeted radiotherapy would have cured him.

The operation to remove Mr McMahon’s voice box in January 2011, counsel said, was completely over the top and too radical. Experts on the McMahon side would say the cancer which by January 2011 had reached the third level could have been treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The operation, the McMahon experts would say, was totally inappropriate and caused significant damage and distress.

Mr McMahon, of Glasgow Park, Roxboro, Limerick, has sued the HSE over his diagnosis, treatment, management and care in particular an operation where his larynx was removed at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in January 2011.

He has also sued over a three-month delay in a second biopsy of his vocal chord ordered by a surgeon. The second biopsy was supposed to be carried out in October 2010 but was cancelled and rescheduled for January 2011.

He claims here was a three-month delay in carrying out a second biopsy on his vocal chords and a failure to discuss the treatment options available before carrying out radical head and neck surgery when it was unreasonable to do so.

It was further claimed it was unreasonable and inappropriate to treat Mr McMahon with radical surgery.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told liability had been admitted this week and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Opening the case, Liam Reidy, instructed by Holmes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors, said the HSE in a letter on Tuesday said liability was no longer an issue, but counsel said no apology had been offered to Mr McMahon.

Mr McMahon, he said was before these events the head of a house full of joy and laughter where he presided as head of the table where his children and grandchildren gathered at morning and evening meal times.

He said he had gone to his GP in 2010 when he noticed his voice had become hoarse. The doctor referred him to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick where he was found to have a lesion on the left side of his vocal chord which was considered to be suspicious of an early cell carcinoma.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues today.


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