High Court approves €5.9m settlement against Beaumont Hospital for man who is now blind

A 49-year-old man who sued over his care at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has settled his High Court action for €5.9m.

High Court approves €5.9m settlement against Beaumont Hospital for man who is now blind

By Ann O'Loughlin

A 49-year-old man who sued over his care at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has settled his High Court action for €5.9m.

Brendan Doyle's counsel told the High Court a shunt which had been in Mr Doyle's brain since childhood was removed when he was admitted to Beaumont Hospital in 2011 but was not re-inserted and this had "tragic consequences" and he is now totally blind.

Denis McCullough SC said for Mr Doyle, who has cerebral palsy and mild learning disabilities, it was the "final straw" and he has lived in a nursing home ever since.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said it was a sad incident and it had a catastrophic effect on Mr Doyle. He said the settlement will look after Mr Doyle for the rest of his life and he noted the hospital had admitted liability and had taken a reasonable approach in relation to the future accommodation needs of Mr Doyle, who will now be able to move out of the nursing home.

Brendan Doyle who currently resides at Lawson House, Glenbrien, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, had through his brother John Doyle sued the Beaumont Hospital over the circumstances of his care.

Mr Doyle who has cerebral palsy and problems relating to this central nervous system had a shunt inserted in his brain in childhood.

On June 1, 2011, he was complaining of a headache and vomiting and went to his local hospital in Wexford where he had a CT scan and was referred to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

It was claimed that due to a suspicion Mr Doyle had sustained a shunt-related infection, the brain shunt was removed a few days later and it was decided it was not necessary to re-establish the shunt.

Mr Doyle was discharged from Beaumont Hospital on June 10, 2011, with directions to continue antibiotic therapy and after a few days in his local hospital was discharged on June 16, 2011.

It is claimed the next day he was back in the A&E of his local hospital complaining of increased weakness and he had a CT scan. He had another CT scan in July. Mr Doyle, who was complaining of headaches, was referred back to outpatients at Beaumont Hospital and in August 2011 his case was reviewed.

It is claimed the impression was formed that the man's condition was improving and another CT scan was recommended for December 2011.

In early September 2011, it is claimed Mr Doyle suffered loss of vision and was referred back to Beaumont Hospital where he underwent surgery. Notwithstanding the reinsertion of the brain shunt, Mr Doyle lost his eyesight.

Brendan Doyle’s brother John, in a statement read outside the court by his solicitor Michael Boylan, said the family felt aggrieved liability was only admitted in January of this year, six-and-a-half years later.

"Brendan has wasted almost seven years of his life in a nursing home with no effective rehabilitation programme, surrounded by elderly patients and having to wait for a call bell to be answered just so he can use the bathroom," the statement read.

It said before this incident Brendan was very independent, he used bus services independently, wrote for his local newspaper and enjoyed lots of hobbies.

"Before this he required supervision only, rather than care. Brendan was an active and contributing member of his community."

The Doyles said the settlement will provide Brendan with a purpose-built home of his own and the 24-hour support he now needs.

"We and Brendan would return every cent of this settlement were it to mean that he could see again but we hope that with therapy and proper rehabilitation, Brendan will, at least, once again become an active member of his community and begin to enjoy life once more.

"We will leave Dublin now and return to Wexford to start putting arrangements in place so that Brendan will spend Christmas in a suitable home and can start the New Year with a care support package in place that will allow Brendan to surmount the challenges life has presented, as he has bravely done before."

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