A 15-year-old Junior Cert student from Cork, who had to have both legs amputated below the knee after contracting meningitis when she was three, has sued a Kerry based out-of-hours family doctor service in relation to her care.
Senior Counsel Dr John O’Mahony told the High Court today the case was enormously tragic and distressing concerning Gemma Hayes when she was over three years of age.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the case related to the alleged misdiagnosis of septicaemia and it was the contention on the Hayes’ side that, had appropriate treatment been given to the child at the relevant time, she may not have suffered the devastating injuries she did.
Gemma Hayes, Pic Du Jer Park, Ballinlough, Cork city has through her mother Rachel Hayes sued South West Doctors on Call Ltd with offices at Call Centre, St Finians Hospital, Killarney, Co Kerry, the provider of a family doctor service at South Doc, Kinsale Road, Cork.
Mr Justice Barr was told that liability is not an issue in the case but causation is an issue between the sides.
It is claimed there was an alleged failure to have the necessary skill to provide an appropriate and competent after-hours medical service and an alleged failure to provide a service of the standard which it held itself out as providing.
It is also claimed there was a misdiagnosis of Gemma’s condtion and an alleged failure to properly assess the child’s rash in a proper manner, including by using a glass.
When the case came before Mr Justice Barr today Counsel for the defendant Charles Meenan SC asked that the matter be deferred for a day so that the exact special damages being sought in the case could be furnished to his side.
Dr O’Mahony said Gemma is due to sit her Junior Cert in a few weeks time and it had been envisaged that she will give evidence in the case after her mother. Counsel said it is a signficant ordeal for the girl .
The case, Counsel said, was a very substantial one which included claims for loss of earnings and assisted technology.
After talks between the parties it was decided that to defer the case until tomorrow when Rachel Hayes is expected to give evidence to the court.