HSE and hospital apologise to family for death of Sligo student

It was the family’s case that had Lisa had a CT scan earlier at Sligo University Hospital and been transferred urgently for treatment, on the balance of probabilities, she would have survived.
HSE and hospital apologise to family for death of Sligo student

The Department of Health is being urged to expedite the recruitment process to replace the retiring cardiologist serving Sligo University Hospital.

The HSE and Sligo University Hospital have apologised to the family of a 19-year-old student who died of a bleed to the brain three days after collapsing and being rushed to the Sligo hospital.

Lisa Niland was taken to the Sligo hospital after collapsing in a fast-food restaurant with severe head pain and dizziness.

Counsel for Lisa’s family Eoin McCullough told the High Court today there were three cases before the court relating to the tragic death of Lisa Niland brought by her father, Gerry, mother, Angela and sister Amy. All cases were settled and the terms of the settlements are confidential.

It was the family’s case that had Lisa had a CT scan earlier at Sligo University Hospital and been transferred urgently for treatment in Dublin, on the balance of probabilities, she would have survived.

The CT scan of her brain was carried out over 10 hours after she was reviewed in the Sligo hospital following her collapse three years ago.

In a letter to the Niland family which was read to the High Court, Sligo University Hospital and the HSE said it would like to sincerely apologise that the care provided at the hospital “did not reach the standard expected.” The letter acknowledged that the experience was “devastating” for the Niland family and has had “ a profound and lasting effect” on them.

The events of January 17-20, 2017

Lisa Niland, from Drimbane, Curry, was taken to Sligo University Hospital on the evening of 17 January 2017.

After collapsing in the restaurant, Lisa was taken to the Sligo hospital at 9.20pm on January 17, 2017, and it was noted she had headache, dizziness and vomiting.

It was claimed she was only seen at 11.15pm and an ECG was done and diagnoses of pancreatitis and meningitis were recorded.

It is claimed that despite the sudden onset of headache, brain haemorrhage was not suggested as a diagnosis. In the early hours of January 18, the plan was to admit the young woman and she would have a CT scan later in the morning.

A diagnosis of meningitis was again mooted at around 9am and the need for a CT scan was repeated. It was further claimed that Ms Niland was belatedly taken for a CT scan at 9.51am on the morning of January 18 and it showed a large haemorrhage.

Treating doctors discussed the findings with Ms Niland’s family and trauma or family history of stroke was ruled out. Contact was made with the neurosurgery department at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin but shortly afterwards Ms Niland suffered a cardiac arrest and a second arrest at around 11.50am.

She was transferred to the Dublin hospital where emergency surgery took place and a haematoma was removed and Ms Niland was later put on a ventilator.

The Niland family were advised there was a poor diagnosis and later her situation was regarded as hopeless and she was declared dead at 3.25pm on January 20, 2017.

There was, it was claimed, a failure to have regard to the fact that on her admission to the Sligo hospital the key symptom was a sudden onset of headache followed by vomiting and a failure to make brain haemorrhage a diagnosis that had to be excluded by a scan.

There was also, it was claimed, a failure to arrange an urgent CT scan following her review by a doctor on January 17 or at any time up until 9.51am on January 18, over 10 hours later.

Lisa’s father Gerry Niland of Drimbane, Curry, Co Sligo, had sued the HSE over the death of his daughter on January 20, 2017. He and his wife Angela and Lisa’s sister, Amy, who had sued over nervous shock were in court for the ruling of the settlement.

Approving the settlements Mr Justice Kevin Cross extended his sympathy to the Niland family on the loss of their daughter and sister.

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