Medical Negligence News

Woman Compensated for Husband’s Adverse Reaction to Medication

Posted on: October 20th, 2013 by Medical Negligence

A widow, whose husband died after his kidneys failed following treatment for a toe infection, is set to be compensated €45,000 for her husband’s fatal reaction to the medication he was prescribed.

John Devereux died in March 2008 at the Cork University Hospital from acute renal failure. Just two months before, Mr Devereux attended the South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, seeking treatment for an infection that had developed on his right foot. The doctors attending him diagnosed the infection as stemming from septic arthritis and prescribed Mr Devereux sodium fusidate, which is often used to treat bacterial skin infections.

However, the infection to Mr Devereux’s foot failed to improve, and he developed severe pains in his arms and legs. When he returned to the hospital that in February, he was admitted and proceeded to have five further treatments of sodium fusidate. Yet his condition deteriorated, and Mr Devereux was transferred to Cork University Hospital. There, he was diagnosed with rhabdmoloysis, which causes muscular breakdown. He died on March 2nd.

His surviving widow, Margaret, later discovered that her husband’s death could have been prevented had doctors noticed that there was a conflict between the diabetes medication that her husband was on and the sodium fusidate that he was prescribed. She subsequently sought legal counsel, and made a compensation claim against the South Tipperary Hospital and the HSE. Though both parties initially denied liability for Mr Devereux’s death, eventually a settlement of compensation of €45,000 was agreed upon.

The case was heard at the High Court in Dublin, where Judge Mary Irvine approved the settlement. She also commented that, considering the circumstances of the case, Mrs Devereaux received a good settlement as there would have been “huge hill to climb to establish liability” if the claim had to be settled in court.