Medical Negligence News

Widower Awarded Compensation after Wife Dies due to Delayed Surgery

Posted on: July 29th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

Dublin’s High Court have awarded a man a €165,000 settlement of compensation after his wife died wrongfully due to a delayed surgery.

Helen Marlow was admitted to St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny, on the 20th December 2005 as she was suffering from intense cramps and pains in her abdomen. Ms Marlow was diagnosed with an inflammation of her bowel, and she was put on a course of antibiotics to treat the condition.

However, a few days into the treatment, Ms Marlow was still not improving. An ultrasound scan was carried out to investigate the condition, and it was uncovered that her condition was more serious than previously thought and that surgery was required. However, the first scheduled surgery was cancelled as there was no intensive care facility available to Ms Marlow after it was carried out, and Ms Marlow had to wait until the 8th of January to eventually have the procedure.

Four days after the operation, Ms Marlow died. Her cause of death was attributed to multiple failures of her organs because of sepsis, and an investigation into the circumstances of the death was launched. It was discovered that, had the operation been carried out sooner, it was unlikely that such a tragic outcome would have occurred.

Patrick Malone – Ms Marlow’s widower – consulted a solicitor and made a claim for compensation following a wrongful death due to delayed surgery. He lodged the claim against George Nessim, the consultant doctor at the hospital, and the Health Service Executive (HSE). He alleged that the death of his wife was easily avoided, and that it had caused great mental trauma to Ms Marlow’s six surviving children.

The Irish Medical Council found Dr Nessim guilt of four separate charges of misconduct, hough the HSE initially rejected any liability for Ms Marlow’s death. The case progressed to the courts, but before the hearing the HSE admitted liability and acknowledged that the hospital had failed in its duty of care to Ms Marlow.

The case then went to Dublin’s High Court for an assessment of damages. Mr Justice Ryan, the judge overseeing the case, commended the parties for reaching an agreement in a “difficult” case and awarded Mr Malone €165,000 in compensation for his wife’s wrongful death.