Family of 50-year-old who died after complaining of severe knee pain awarded €475,000

The HSE made the settlement without an admission of guilt.
Family of 50-year-old who died after complaining of severe knee pain awarded €475,000

The family of a 50-year-old woman who died two days after she first sought help from a hospital for severe pain in her knee has settled a High Court action for €475,000.

Mother-of-one Noreen O’Connor suffered a cardiac arrest in the theatre of Waterford Regional Hospital two days after she was originally discharged with painkillers.

The settlement against the HSE is without an admission of liability.

The judge was told it was the O’Connor side’s contention that the treatment of Mrs O’Connor at Waterford Regional Hospital two days before her death was allegedly inadequate and that there was an alleged failure to provide timely and appropriate medical intervention on her return to the hospital two days later on May 29th, 2012.

Mr Justice Simons was told that all the claims were denied and liability was at issue in the case.

Severe pain

Michael O’Connor, Ballinteskin, New Ross, Co Wexford had sued the HSE over the care and treatment given to his wife when she attended Waterford Regional Hospital with severe pain in her knee in May 2012.

In an affidavit to the court Mr O’Connor said his wife was referred by a doctor to the hospital on May 27th, 2012 with severe pain in her left knee. A diagnosis of a possible cyst in the back of the knee area was diagnosed and Mrs O’Connor was discharged with analgesia.

Mr O’Connor said no blood test was taken on that occasion. The next day on May 28th, 2012 Mr O’Connor said his wife had very severe pain again in her left knee and arrangements were made by a doctor to have her urgently transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital.

He said she arrived at the hospital in the early hours of May 29th, 2012 and had a high pulse rate and very low blood pressure. He said his wife’s left leg was swollen along its entire length and the working diagnosis was an extensive deep vein thrombosis with possible superimposed infection. Mrs O’Connor was given antibiotics intravenously.

Mr O’Connor said the final diagnosis was necrotising fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and is commonly known as flesh eating disease. The condition was raised as a possibility at lunchtime and further antibiotics were given to his wife.

Mrs O’Connor, he said, was taken to theatre for work on her left knee but suffered a cardiac arrest on arrival at the theatre. She died at 5.20pm on May 29th, 2012.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Garrett Simons said it was an excellent one.

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