Phyllis Byrne, now suffering from advanced dementia in a Co Wicklow nursing home, had, via daughter Maria Flanagan, sued Beaumont Hospital and CPL Resources and CPL Healthcare for €60,000 damages.
Barrister Michael Coen, who appeared with Thomas Loomes Solicitors for Ms Byrne, told the court she had been suffering from advanced dementia for up to 12 years and was 77 years old when the incident occurred in a private room at Beaumont in April 2011.
“If the assault had not been witnessed by a woman who was visiting another patient in a private room just across the corridor from Ms Byrne, and who reported it to a senior nurse in Beaumont, we would never have known about it,” said Mr Coen.
He said the carer, Valeria Bogdan, had been provided to the hospital by an agency, CPL Healthcare Limited, with a registered office at Percy Place, Dublin 4, a joint defendant with CPL Resources Ltd, Merrion Square, Dublin, and Beaumont Hospital.
He told Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that these three defendants were meeting the proposed settlement of €25,000 which he was recommending and asking the court to approve.
He said a legal claim had been initiated against Ms Bogdan but this was not being proceeded with. Ms Byrne’s daughter had been told that disciplinary action had been taken against Ms Bogdan but he did not know what this had entailed.
Mr Coen told the court the carer had been giving Ms Byrne breakfast. It was accepted that Ms Byrne was a challenging patient and had engaged “in verbals” with Ms Bogdan.
He said the incident had been witnessed by a visitor to the hospital, Margaret Rooney, who told a Beaumont Hospital investigation that she had seen the carer on several occasions forcefully push Ms Byrne back into her chair and kick her twice under the table.
He said Ms Byrne had been medically examined afterwards and no fresh bruising had been found, only existing old bruises.
“To be fair to Ms Bogdan, an experienced and fully trained carer, she had shortly afterwards asked the hospital to reassign her and she had no further contact with Ms Byrne,” Mr Coen said.
He said there had been apologies to Ms Byrne’s family by all of the defendants concerned.
Judge Groarke said it was a very sad story and should, absolutely without question, never have happened.
“We are all human and I am not saying that in any way to excuse the conduct of the nurse who was obviously having a bad day,” Judge Groarke said.
He said he would approve the settlement offer, with costs, and make an order that the money be paid into court to the benefit of Ms Byrne.