By Ann O’Loughlin
A woman who had to have a kidney removed as a result of alleged negligence during surgery will have to pay some of the legal costs of her High Court action after she twice declined to avail of lodgements in court which turned out to be higher than the €260,000 she was awarded at the end of a trial.
Margaret Browne (47) of Corluddy, Carrigeon, Waterford, ran a clothing shop in Waterford, underwent a hysterectomy and oopherectomy operation at Aut Even Hospital in Kilkenny in April 2010.
It was claimed that during the operation sutures were inserted into the ureter leading from her bladder into her left kidney causing damage to that kidney which, as a result, had to be removed some years later.
She sued gynaecologist Peter Van Geene, who carried out the operation on April 6, 2010, and Mount Carmel Medical Group (Kilkenny) Ltd, trading as Aut Even Hospital.
Prior to the hearing of the action last October, the defendants conceded liability and the case went ahead as an assessment of damages matter only.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr awarded her €260,111 but he was then told that the defendants had lodged €450,000 in court last January which Ms Browne could have accepted. She declined and the trial went ahead.
When the issue of costs returned before Mr Justice Barr today he rejected submissions on behalf of Ms Browne that she was entitled to her costs.
He said she had two opportunities to accept the lodgement to court made by the defendants. In September 2016, a lodgement of €280,000 was made and this was increased to €450,000 in January 2017.
Both were in excess of what the court awarded her and she chose not to accept either sum, the judge said.
He said she was entitled to her costs up to September 27, 2016, when the first lodgement was made, but the defendants were entitled to their costs from the day after.
From the €450,000, €260,111 is to be retained by the court and the balance is to be returned to the defendants, he said.
Both sets of costs are to go to taxation if there is no agreement between the parties on them.
When they are ascertained, those costs are to be set off against each other and if there is still a balance of costs to be paid to the defendants, that balance can come from the €260,111,he said.
Whatever remains is to be paid to Ms Browne, the judge said.
In the event that Ms Browne’s costs exceed those of the defendants, the amount of that excess is to be paid to her by the defendants and the sum of money remaining lodged in court can then be paid out to her, he said.