The family of a 49-year-old man who, it was claimed, was not offered the option of a liver transplant by St James’s Hospital, Dublin, has settled a High Court action over the care he received before his death.
Father of five Alan Kelly, who had stopped drinking alcohol in 2008, died four years later over 10 days after he was admitted to the Dublin hospital and noted to be in renal failure.
Bruce Antoniotti SC, instructed by Kent Carty Solicitors, told the court the terms of settlement which is without an admission of liability are confidential. The case was before the court for the division of the statutory mental distress payment.
Christine Kelly, Slievebloom Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, had sued St James’s Hospital, Dublin, over the care her husband received at the hospital. Mr Kelly’s family, it was alleged, suffered severe mental distress as a result of his death. Mr Kelly was also a grandfather of four.
It was claimed there was an alleged failure to consider or offer liver transplantation to Mr Kelly, in particular when he had stopped drinking alcohol.
It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to offer a liver transplant to him when his liver disease was progressing more rapidly despite medical treatment
It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to pursue the option of a liver transplant prior to December 2011, when they knew or ought to have known that the success rate was reasonable.
All the claims were denied.
Mr Kelly had undergone a liver biopsy in 1997 and a finding was made of cirrhosis as well as mild fatty changes and varices.
He later had a shunt procedure which connects two veins within the liver. Mr Kelly stopped drinking alcohol in 2008 but the next year he developed ascites, which is fluid on the abdomen. It persisted and in December 2011 worsened.
On December 6, 2011, he was admitted to St James’s Hospital, where the fluid was drained and he was discharged. He later went back to the hospital and the fluid was with drained again.
Mr Kelly was also requested to re attend the liver clinic on January 19, 2012.
Three days before his appointment, he went back to the hospital to have more fluid drained but on January 19, 2012, he presented again with shortness of breath and abdominal pain. Following assessment, it was claimed he was noted to be in renal failure, and he had jaundice and his white cell count was raised.
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis was suspected, and he was commenced on antibiotic therapy, but his condition deteriorated. It was claimed he suffered an upper gastrointestinal bleed, and an emergency endoscopy was performed which showed a large amount of clots.
Mr Kelly had another procedure and tubes were inserted but on February 1, 2012, it was claimed he suffered a massive upper gastrointestinal bleed and died.