€825,000 payout will see elderly couple reunited
A woman in her 90s will be reunited with her husband thanks to an €825,000-plus settlement of an action over her care in hospital for a hip operation, the High Court heard.
Bridget Hegarty (94), mother-in-law of former Independent Donegal TD Tom Gildea, has not been back home since she fell at her Glenties, Co Donegal, home two years ago.
She broke her hip, later had to have an operation, and has been cared for in a nursing home since.
However, the court was told her dream was to return to live with her husband John, who is 99 this year.
The Hegartys, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told, have been married for 73 years and have four children.
Mrs Hegarty, of Meenalargan, Glenties, through her daughter Eilish Gildea, sued the HSE over her care at Letterkenny General Hospital.
It was claimed Mrs Hegarty's right hip injury was incorrectly, inadequately and inappropriately investigated, assessed, evaluated, clinically managed and treated.
Her counsel said that she will never walk again. Since the hip surgery, she has been living in a nursing home as the family home is totally unsuitable.
"Mr Hegarty wants to be reunited with his spouse," counsel said.
The settlement against the HSE allows for care on an ongoing basis for Mrs Hegarty at a house provided by her son-in-law Tom Gildea, counsel said.
In her claim, it was alleged that bone cement used in the hip operation allegedly unexpectedly hardened when inserted.
It was claimed further attempts to remove the hardened cement allegedly caused a further extensive fracture, splitting the femur so that further surgical interventions were not possible.
The claims were denied.
Mr Gavigan said prior to the fall Mrs Hegarty was living independently at her home with her husband and used a zimmer frame to get about.
Mr Gavigan said Tom Gildea has provided a former holiday home which can be adapted to the needs of his in-laws.
The settlement also includes annual sums for the ongoing care of Mrs Hegarty.
There was no claim for past care but the total value of the settlement package, counsel said, would be in the region of €825,000 to €850,000.
Mr Justice Cross approved the settlement.