Medical Negligence News

Compensation Claim for Perforated Bowel Settled in Court

Posted on: February 26th, 2012 by Medical Negligence

A compensation claim made by the family of a man who died from septic shock after a hospital failed to treat his punctured bowel has been settled in court.

When Barry Murphy, aged thirty-eight from Carrigaline in Co. Cork, was admitted to the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital in Cork on the 24th April 2008 with pains to his abdomen. Mr Murphy was suffering from Crohn’s disease, but he was managing the chronic condition and held a job as a financial controller.

After examination at the hospital, Mr Murphy was told that he had a perforated bowel. Yet, despite the diagnosis, an “unjustifiable delay” caused the surgery to be delayed until later that evening, by which time Mr Murphy’s condition had severely deteriorated because of septic shock. He was pronounced dead at a quarter past eleven that evening.

Mary Murphy, Mr Murphy’s surviving widow, suffered much distress from his death. After seeking legal counsel, she made a claim for compensation against the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital and the Health Service Executives (HSE). The case proceeded for three years without any admission of liability, as the hospital insisted that Mr Murphy received an adequate level of care.

Mrs Murphy was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after she suffered a nervous shock when her husband died. However, she pursued her claim and eventually, last year the HSE admitted that “the level of care provided fell short of an acceptable standard”.

The claim was settled for €500,000 through negotiations and Mr Justice John Quirke approved the settlement when the case was heard at Dublin’s High Court. Judge Quirke also expressed his sympathy for Mrs Murphy and her two daughters, commenting that her husband’s death was “unthinkable” and that he wished that he had greater power to help the family.