‘Nobody seemed to notice he was dying’

Geraldine Barry, of Skibbereen, Co Cork, leaving the High Court yesterday, where she is suing Mercy University Hospital, Cork, over the death of her partner, Chris Sayer,in 2010. Picture: Courtpix

Geraldine Barry watched the love of her life die in Mercy University Hospital Cork after he developed septic shock following surgery.

The 44-year-old Skibbereen woman told a High Court judge that, in her dreams, she shouts at people to do something.

“I sat all night with him,” said Ms Barry. “Nobody told me he was going to die. I watched an awful thing unfold and there was nothing I could do.

“Nobody seemed to notice; nobody seemed to be doing anything. In my dreams about the hospital, I am shouting to people to do something,” she said tearfully.

Five years on since the death of her partner, Chris Sayer — a well-known jazz musician in Cork — Ms Barry still suffers flashbacks and profound loneliness, the judge was told.

Ms Barry, of Lakemarsh, Church Cross, Skibbereen, Co Cork, has sued Mercy University Hospital, Cork City, as a result of the death of her partner Mr Sayer, 70, who died on April 19, 2010.

Ms Barry’s claim is also for nervous shock.

Mr Sayer, who was diagnosed with cancer, had a colon operation at the Mercy Hospital on March 11, 2010.

Initially he appeared to make a good recovery, but became unwell on the evening of March 15, 2010, developed septic shock due to a leak, and had to have further surgery on March 17, 2010.

It was claimed that the staff at Mercy University Hospital did not act with due expedition in diagnosing and treating the leak.

Over the following weeks, his condition did not improve and he died on April 19, 2010.

The court heard the hospital admitted liability in relation to Mr Sayer’s post-operative care on March 16 and March 17, 2010, and the case is before Mr Justice Anthony Barr for assessment of damages only.

Opening the case, Liam Reidy SC said that palliative care was far from sufficient in that Mr Sayer’s mouth became ulcerated.

At one stage before her partner’s death, Mr Reidy said a doctor at the bedside asked if an autopsy was required. There was, counsel said, a lack of communication and insensitivity.

The story of Chris Sayer and Geraldine Barry was a love story, the court was told. They met in 2005 and, despite the age gap, “you know that something is for you,” she said.

“I had the best life could offer me. One of the great pleasures in my life was to come home to him. I am devastated that I can’t do that any more.”

More on this topic

Call for HSE to manage defibrillators as too few people know where they are or how to use themCall for HSE to manage defibrillators as too few people know where they are or how to use them

Emergency meeting mooted as Our Lady's Hospital, Navan told to stop treating stroke patientsEmergency meeting mooted as Our Lady's Hospital, Navan told to stop treating stroke patients

Special needs school to lose nurse due to HSE funding cutbackSpecial needs school to lose nurse due to HSE funding cutback

Patient advocate Mark Molloy resigns from HSE board after only six monthsPatient advocate Mark Molloy resigns from HSE board after only six months


Lifestyle

The show saw models walking beneath neon phrases saying ‘Consent’, and ‘Patriarchy = Climate Emergency’.Consent was top of Dior’s agenda at Paris Fashion Week

There may be a team of professionals taking care of the main event, but how can we help ourselves when waiting for surgery? Abi Jackson</b finds out.How to look after your body and mind before an operation

If your wellness is on the wane, you’ll find the stunning vistas of France’s Haute-Savoie a breath of fresh (mountain) air, says Tess de la Mare.Ski yourself free of stress in the French Prealps

Could happier, healthy older age be all about mindset? Lauren Taylor speaks to the author of a new book aiming to transform our approach to ageing.Worried about getting older? How to embrace ageing positively

More From The Irish Examiner