A woman who sued over her care after she attended the A&E at Mercy University Hospital, Cork, complaining of severe knee pain has settled her High Court action for €375,000.
Mother of six Mary Gallagher was assessed and her vitals taken. Bloods were also taken but it is claimed she was given advice on how to manage her osteoarthritis and discharged the same day without her lab results being checked.
Six days later, Mrs Gallagher went to another hospital, was diagnosed with suspected septic arthritis and ended up in the ICU for 15 days and also had to have emergency heart surgery. In all, it is claimed she had to have 57 days of antibiotic treatment.
The Gallagher side claimed had her blood tests been reviewed when she first attended the Mercy University Hospital emergency department on September 3, 2017, she would have been admitted to the hospital for treatment.
If appropriate antibiotic treatment had been started, it is claimed it is most likely Mrs Gallagher would have had a much better outcome and avoided the need for the cardiac surgery.
Her counsel Oonah McCrann SC instructed by Cantillons Solicitors, told the court it was their case that Mrs Gallagher should have been admitted and treated with a four- to six-week course of antibiotics, which would have necessitated a hospital stay, but could have been continued at home.
Counsel said the hospital accepted there was a breach of duty in the case, but causation was still at issue.
Mary Gallagher, 65, of Hollyhill, Cork City, had through her son David Gallagher sued the Mercy University Hospital, Cork, over the management of her care after she presented at the hospital on September 3, 2017, complaining of severe left knee pain.
Mrs Gallagher was assessed by triage and blood tests taken. It is claimed the treating team were of the view the cause of Mrs Gallagher’s pain was to do with osteoarthritis and she was given advice on how to manage her condition with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication.
It is claimed she was discharged without lab results being checked and her condition continued to deteriorate at home. She went to the A&E of Cork University Hospital six days later on September 9, 2017.
At Cork University Hospital, Mrs Gallagher was diagnosed with suspected septic arthritis. It was further claimed she had to undergo an emergency aortic valve replacement. She was in hospital until the first week of November 2017.
It was claimed at Mercy University Hospital when Mrs Gallagher attended A&E on September 3, 2017, there was an alleged failure to read and act on the results of her blood tests and an alleged failure to admit her to receive fluids and antibiotics for a systemic infection that was giving rise to severe musculoskeletal pain requiring morphine.
Mercy University Hospital admitted there was a failure to act on the findings of blood tests and a delay occurred in the treatment of Mrs Gallagher until September 9, 2017.
However, causation still remained an issue.
Approving the settlement Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he was satisfied the settlement was fair and reasonable.