Widow of hospital consultant alleges negligence in his care and treatment

Among various claims, Meraid Hyland-McGuire alleges failure to act appropriately in response to an electrocardiogram (ECG) carried out on her 58-year-old husband Patrick.

Widow of hospital consultant alleges negligence in his care and treatment

The widow of a deceased hospital consultant has sued two Dublin hospitals and a consultant alleging negligence in his care and treatment.

Among various claims, Meraid Hyland-McGuire alleges failure to act appropriately in response to an electrocardiogram (ECG) carried out on her 58-year-old husband Patrick indicating he had had a heart attack. Had there been an appropriate response, he would probably have survived, it is claimed.

She was married for some 30 years to Dr Hyland-McGuire who, at the time of his death in 2016 was earning some €500,000 a year as a consultant in emergency medicine at locations, including the Beacon Clinic, which has since named its A&E department after him.

The couple, who have no children, were very close and Ms Hyland-McGuire has been “devastated” by her husband’s death, her counsel Denis McCullough SC said on Tuesday.

Ms Hyland-McGuire, of Stonebridge Road, Rathmicahel, Co Dublin, was entirely financially dependent on her husband and the case includes a claim for €2.8m relating to loss of earnings and opportunities, counsel outlined.

She is also claiming damages for nervous shock arising from his death.

The case is against Professor Des Winter, a general/laparoscopic and gastrointestinal surgeon attached to St Vincent's Private Hospital (SVPH), Merrion Road, Dublin 4 and St Vincent's University Hospital and is also against both of those hospitals.

Opening the case, Mr McCullough said Dr Hyland McGuire was working at the Beacon Clinic hours before he admitted himself to SVPH about 10.30pm on the night of July 28th 2016.

Earlier that day, he had phone contact with Prof Winter in which he described various symptoms including abdominal distention and fever, diagnosed himself as having diverticulitis [a digestive tract disease] and he opted to be admitted to SVPH as an in-patient under the care of Prof Winter, counsel said.

When his wife left him at SVPH about midnight, he had some discomfort but otherwise appeared clear and coherent, counsel said. It seemed the deceased was not seen at all by Prof Winter during his time in the hospital, counsel said.

About 5am, Dr Hyland-McGuire experienced a dizzy spell as a result of which an ECG was carried out at 5.23am.

The ECG unequivocally showed evidence of an acute inferior miocardial infarction or heart attack, counsel said.

Failed to take appropriate action

Their case was the defendants failed to take any appropriate action arising from the results of the ECG.

Nursing staff contacted Prof Winters about 6.27am requesting that Dr Hyland-McGuire be transferred to SVUG for urgent cardiac care but Prof Winters refused to sanction that at that stage and suggested a cardiac consultation later that morning, he said.

A third ECG at 6.48am confirmed the findings of two earlier ECGs and the consultant cardiologist on call was contacted, leading to drugs being administered and Dr Hyland-McGuire being transferred to SVUH about 8am.

Dr Hyland-McGuire spoke to his wife by phone before being brought to the Cath Lab by 8.15am for an angiogram and attempted coronary intervention, counsel said.

Their case was he should have been transferred to the nearest hospital for dealing with Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI), St James or the Mater, as SVUH had permanently ceased about April 2015 to have on-site PCI facilities.

Dr Hyland-McGuire developed cardiogenic shock about 8.40am and lost consciousness, he said. Despite further attempts at resuscitation and coronary medical interventions, he was pronounced dead at 10.59am.

In separate defences, the defendants deny his death was caused or contributed to by any wrongdoing, negligence, breach of duty or breach of agreement on their part.

In his defence, Professor Winter says he had advised Dr Hyland McGuire, during their phone conversation on the afternoon of July 28th 2016, to attend the emergency department of the Beacon Hospital for an evaluation and a CT scan and to attend either Blackrock Clinic or SVUH but the deceased declined those suggestions and advice.

He says the agreed plan was for Dr Hyland-McGuire to come and see him immediately in his clinic and have a CT scan performed but Dr Hyland-McGuire did not come and texted at 8.15pm stating he was still at work at the Beacon Clinic.

Prof Winter says he then left SVUH as he understood the deceased was declining a CT scan and clinic visit and deferring his admission.

The case continues on Wednesday before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

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