Misdiagnosis led to unnecessary surgery for boy, 14

A 14-year-old boy underwent an unnecessary surgical procedure to remove veins from his abdomen because of a misdiagnosis in Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Dublin, it has been claimed in the High Court.
Misdiagnosis led to unnecessary surgery for boy, 14

Jake Callaghan, now aged 18, of Greenfort Gardens, Clondalkin, Dublin, claims that the misdiagnosis of distended abdominal veins as varicocoele was a serious and unacceptable error which was not realised until he was under anaesthesia and during surgical exploration.

The hospital accepts liability but disputes the claim his situation is materially worse as a result of the surgery carried out on May 5, 2010.

John Healy, opening Mr Callaghan’s case, said he was born with a congenital heart defect which was successfully treated when he was newly born.

In his first year, however, he had to undergo cardiac catheterisation which it was believed resulted in a small lump on his abdomen.

At around 10 years of age, he was referred to Crumlin under Professor Martin Corbally’s paediatric team, and it was decided to remove the lump on the basis it was a non-essential venous bundle of material, counsel said.

However, counsel said, it was, in fact, a bundle of collateral varicose veins that run across the central leg vein which acts as a pathway for the drainage of blood from the right foot up to the heart. “That surgery should never have happened”, Mr Healy said.

It is claimed as a result, Mr Callaghan developed larger and more distended veins than he had prior to the surgery from his right groin area spreading up over the right side of his abdomen and to his back.

The veins are often tender and painful particularly when he tries to do any physical activity, it is claimed.

His right leg is swollen all the time and gets worse if he does physical activity, it is alleged. It has impacted on his quality of life particularly curbing his sporting activities and affecting body image, it is claimed.

His counsel also said he is also at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and would have to be put on a blood thinning drug like Warfarin for the rest of his life if this happens.

It was Mr Callaghan’s case that no surgery should ever be performed on that area again which means he must put up with it both physically and cosmetically.

He had wanted to do outdoor work, like carpentry or metal fabrication, but it appears those options will not now be available to him as a result of his condition, counsel said.

The case continues before Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

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