Psychiatric nurse settles case after assault by patient in Cork hospital

A psychiatric nurse who was punched in the jaw by a violent and psychotic patient in a Cork hospital and still suffers pain over five years later has settled his High Court action.

Psychiatric nurse settles case after assault by patient in Cork hospital

A psychiatric nurse who was punched in the jaw by a violent and psychotic patient in a Cork hospital almost seven years ago has settled his High Court action.

Father of two Damien O'Gorman, it was claimed, also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the violent punch incident. His counsel Liam Reidy SC told the court it was their case Mr O'Gorman is unfit to pursue his career as a psychiatric nurse.

Counsel said Mr O Gorman received a violent punch to the jaw as he tried to administer a sedative to a patient who had been brought to the unit at Mercy Hospital, Cork by gardai in September 2012.

The male patient, Counsel said had previously served a ten-year sentence for manslaughter and had been brought to the hospital unit in handcuffs after he was detained because he was walking around with a flower pot on his head and he was pushing glass through letterboxes.

The patient who suffers from schizophrenia, Counsel said had previously been assessed as a danger to himself and others. Counsel said the alleged absence of training such as restraint training was relevant in the case.

Mr O'Gorman went back to work eight months after the assault and later sought a transfer from that ward but in 2014 he was deemed unfit to work and has been that way since then.

Damien O'Gorman (43) Woodgrove, Forest Road, Carrigaline, Co Cork had sued the HSE over the assault on a psychiatric ward at the Mercy Hospital in Cork on September 23, 2012.

He had claimed there was an alleged failure to provide him with any or any adequate and proper instruction or training and an alleged failure to warn him of the history of violence and aggression associated with the patient.

The claims were denied and it was claimed there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr O'Gorman who it was alleged had failed to take any or any appropriate or adequate precautions for his own safety and allegedly failed to maintain a safe position vis a vis the patient.

Opening the case, Mr Reidy told the court the patient who had been brought in handcuffs to the unit by gardai had been non compliant with his medication for seven days. Counsel said the patient had previously been assessed as a danger to himself and others. Mr O’Gorman he said received a violent punch to his jaw area and was stunned. The pain persisted for over five years in the area where the punch landed.

Following talks between the sides after the opening of the case, Mr Justice David Keane was told the case had been settled and could be struck out. The details of the settlement are confidential.

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