Compensation Claim for a Botched Laparoscopy Settled at Court

A compensation claim for a botched laparoscopy has been settled at the High Court, with the plaintiff being awarded more than €855,000 compensation.

The plaintiff – a fifty-year-old woman from Grenville in County Laoise – attended the Midland General Hospital in Portlaoise in June 2002 to undergo a laparoscopy. The purpose of the procedure was to establish why she was unable to fall pregnant; but, as a trocar was being inserted into her abdomen, the surgical instrument punctured a vein and tore an artery, causing the woman to haemorrhage.

Due to the botched procedure, the woman lost eight pints of blood. She was transferred to the hospital´s intensive care unit, where she remained on life support for two days. The woman was discharged after six days of treatment, but still experiences significant pains in her abdomen region fifteen years after the error by her consultant obstetrician – Dr John Corristine.

The woman made a compensation claim for a botched laparoscopy against Dr Corristine and the HSE, alleging there had been a failure to ensure the equipment used during the procedure was in a good and proper working order. She also claimed there was a lack of adequate precautions for her safety and that the pain and suffering she currently experiences are a direct result of the botched laparoscopy.

Dr Corristine and the HSE acknowledged mistakes had been made during the procedure and accepted liability for the woman´s initial pain and suffering. However, both defendants denied there was a connection between the procedure and her ongoing pain and suffering. The compensation claim for a botched laparoscopy subsequently proceeded to the High Court to be settled.

At the High Court hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard medical evidence supporting a connection between the procedure and the woman´s current condition. He also her condition was likely to deteriorate over time. The judge said the woman´s quality of life had been seriously impaired as a result of Dr Corristine´s lack of care, and he awarded her €855,793 in settlement of her compensation claim for a botched laparoscopy.

Injury Claim by a Childcare Worker Resolved during Court Hearing

An injury claim by a childcare worker has been resolved for an undisclosed settlement during a court hearing to establish liability.

The twenty-six year old childcare worker made her injury claim following a trip and fall accident at the Precious Minds creche in Lucan, Dublin. She had been asked by a senior worker to help with changing nappies in the babies room. Already looking after a group of small children, she took those who were awake and went into the babies room as requested.

The senior worker left soon after, leaving the childcare worker in charge of none infants. It was while she was attending to their needs that she tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor and fell – sustaining soft tissue injuries to her lower back and upper legs. She quickly sought medical treatment from her GP, but continues to suffer from back pain.

The woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation, but the owners of the Precious Minds creche withheld their consent for the assessment to take place. The Injuries Board issued the woman with an authorization to pursue her injury claim by a childcare worker through the courts, and her case was heard last week at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Judge Brian O´Callaghan was told by the counsel for the defence that the woman had been the author of her own misfortune. It was alleged that her duties included ensuring that the floor was free from hazards to avoid the children being injured. As she had fallen over a plastic plate left on the floor, it was argued that she had failed in her duties and was therefore responsible for her accident.

The judge also heard a statement from a forensic engineer, who claimed that the plaintiff had been placed in a particularly stressful situation by being left in charge of nine children. He said that the adult/child ratio was too high, and it demonstrated a lack of care by the creche´s management. There then followed a brief adjournment while settlement negotiations took place.

On the resumption of the hearing, Judge O´Callaghan was told that the injury claim by a childcare worker had been resolved for an undisclosed settlement without an admission of liability. The judge struck the claim – awarding the woman her costs and complimenting the two parties on reaching an agreement.

Injury Compensation Claim for a Fractured Ankle Resolved at Court

A businesswoman´s injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with a compensation award of €56,250.

In August 2014, the businesswoman from Kinsale, County Cork, was staying at the Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge while visiting the Dublin Horse Show at the Royal Dublin Society. On the final day of the event, the businesswoman, her son and grandson decided to make an early departure to prepare for the journey home due to inclement weather.

After checking out of the hotel, the businesswoman tried to get out of the hotel car park, but the barrier would not raise. While she was returning to the hotel lobby to check that her parking ticket had been validated, she slipped on the wet floor surface and immediately felt a severe pain in her ankle.

She was attended to by hotel staff before an ambulance was summoned and she was taken to St Vincent´s Hospital. At the hospital, an x-ray revealed a triple fracture to her left ankle. The businesswoman underwent surgery to set the ankle and was discharged wearing a plaster cast. She is now unable to walk long distances and will likely develop arthritis in the future.

The businesswoman made an injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle against the hotel and its management company for negligence. Consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of her claim was denied, and the businesswoman was issued with an authorisation to pursue her injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle through the courts.

The hearing to establish liability took place at the Circuit Civil Court earlier this week. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the floor of the hotel lobby was impeccably maintained, but it was prone to become slippery when moisture was carried onto it under people´s shoes. According to the expert witness, there should have been a mat by the entrance used by the businesswoman on her return to the lobby to absorb any moisture.

The defendants argued that the businesswoman had used an emergency entrance to re-enter the hotel, rather than the main entrance – which was protected against moisture. The hotel and its management company said that the plaintiff had only used the emergency entrance because she was in a hurry and there was a crowd of people blocking the main entrance at the time. Furthermore, it was argued, she had contributed to her accident by her own lack of care.

Judge Groarke found in the businesswoman´s favour – stating that it was an accident waiting to happen and that the plaintiff had suffered “a very nasty and extremely serious injury” as a result. However, he did also agree that the businesswoman could have been distracted as she re-entered the hotel and not paying full attention to her surroundings. He initially awarded her €75,000 in settlement of her injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle, but then reduced the award by 25% to €56,250 to account for her contributory negligence.

Claim for a Workplace Back Injury against Ryanair Upheld

A woman´s claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair has been upheld on appeal to the High Court, after previously being dismissed last year.

The former Ryanair check-in clerk – a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin – made a claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair and her employer MK Human Resources after straining her back while lifting luggage onto a conveyor belt on the morning of 28th July 2011 at Dublin Airport.

The plaintiff made her claim on the grounds that there was no safe system of work for tagging the last piece of luggage – an action she performed to advise baggage handlers that check-in had closed. She also alleged that the check-in desk was not a safe location from which to lift bags onto the conveyor belt.

Her claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair was dismissed in November last year by the Circuit Civil Court after Judge Jacqueline Linnane found discrepancies between what the plaintiff had told her doctor and the Injuries Board when she had applied for an assessment of her claim.

There were also doubts about whether the plaintiff was standing or sitting – contrary to the manual handling training provided for her by Ryanair – at the time the injury occurred. Costs were awarded to Ryanair and MK Human Resources, but the plaintiff was given leave to appeal the verdict.

The appeal hearing took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who was told how the plaintiff´s injuries had occurred, and about the training she had received to prevent injuries while handling luggage. Judge Cross found in the plaintiff´s favour, ruling that the training the plaintiff had been provided with was not “site specific” and therefore insufficient for different scenarios.

However, the judge found that by twisting to tag the final piece of luggage, rather than turning, the plaintiff had contributed to her injury. He awarded her €20,800 in settlement of her claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair – reducing the award by 20% to €16,650 to account for the woman´s contributory negligence.

Woman Awarded Compensation for Being Trapped in an Elevator

A woman has been awarded compensation for being trapped in an elevator after a judge said he was satisfied that the incident had caused an emotional trauma.

In August 2012, Marie Dicker – a fifty-four year old department store supervisor from Walkinstown in Dublin – was visiting the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght with her youngest son. While in the shopping centre, the two shoppers took the elevator in order to travel down to the ground floor. However, soon after getting into the elevator, it stopped – trapping Marie and her son inside.

Marie attempted to summon help by using the elevator alarm button and, when nobody responded on the intercom, started banging the doors and calling for help. Eventually a security guard was alerted to the noise and was able to release Marie and her son from their ordeal. Although Marie later described the incident as lasting twenty minutes, CCTV taken inside the elevator showed that she had been trapped for just four minutes and thirty-five seconds.

Nonetheless the upsetting incident caused Marie to suffering a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia. Due to not feeling safe in rooms when the door was closed, she sought professional medical help and was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and an adjustment disorder. She then sought legal advice and claimed compensation for being trapped in an elevator against the shopping centre´s management company and the maintenance company responsible for the upkeep of the elevator.

Although both defendants acknowledged that there had been a breach in their duty of care, they disputed how much compensation for being trapped in an elevator Marie was claiming. They argued that a psychiatric evaluation conducted on their behalf showed no evidence of Marie suffering from anxiety and the case went to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told that, since the incident, Marie has been under the care of a psychologist and has responded well to cognitive behaviour therapy. After hearing that her treatment is likely to continue for another twelve to eighteen months, the judge commented he was satisfied that Marie had suffered a direct psychiatric injury as a result of the incident and awarded her €25,060 compensation for being trapped in an elevator.