The family of a 26-year-old mother-of-two who had a brain tumour and died eight years ago has settled High Court proceedings against two GPs and two hospitals over the care she received before her death.
Laura McDonnell’s family settled a number of actions including for nervous shock against two GPs, St James’s Hospital, Dublin and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
The family’s counsel Gabriel Gavigan SC with Barbara McGrath BL told the court it was very sad and tragic and it was their case that if Laura’s brain tumour had been caught earlier, her life could have been saved. Brain stem tests on February 19th, 2014 at Beaumont Hospital showed no brainstem activity and Ms McDonnell was declared dead.
Counsel said it was their case that the GPs, one of whom she visited on four occasions complaining of headache allegedly misdiagnosed her condition as sinusitis and there was an alleged failure to consider any other diagnosis.
Mr Gavigan told Mr Justice Paul Coffey, Ms McDonnell should have been referred on to hospital but the situation “took a terrible turn for the worse.” She was referred to St James’s Hospital on January 30th, 2014, but he said was discharged from A&E without a proper clinical assessment.
Counsel said Ms McDonnell returned to the hospital A&E the next day, but it was their contention there had been an alleged delay of about 17 hours without proper assessment.
After she was transferred to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin Counsel said there was an alleged failure to arrange for an urgent MRI.
"She had a tumour on her brain. Our experts would say if it was caught earlier her life could have been saved," Counsel said.
Laura McDonnell’s partner, Graham Byrne of Liffey Valley Park, Lucan and Laura’s mother Bernadette McDonnell of Palmerstown, Dublin had sued GPs, Dr Orla Johnston of Grange Cross Medica, Grange Cross, Ballyfermot, Dublin and Dr Fiona McGrath of the same practice along with St James’s Hospital Dublin and Beaumont Hospital Dublin.
They had sued for nervous shock claiming alleged negligence and breach of duty over the provision of clinical services and in the clinical assessment and management and treatment of Laura Mc Donnell and her death on February 19th, 2014.
The claims were denied.
Approving the settlements which includes €100,000 for nervous shock for Mr Byrne and a separate confidential settlement for Mrs McDonnell, Mr Justice Paul Coffey offered his deepest sympathy to Laura’s partner and extended family.