A top amateur footballer suffered unnecessary severe pain for 10 days because of Beaumont Hospital’s negligence in assessing, and failure to promptly treat, a sports injury, a judge ruled today.
Judge Alan Mahon dismissed a claim of negligence against Mr Aidan Gleeson, the hospital’s consultant in emergency medicine, but awarded damages against Beaumont.
He said 50-year-old psychiatric nurse Michael Guilfoyle 12 years ago fell awkwardly on his left leg following a tackle in a soccer match and had been taken to the hospital’s accident and emergency department.
The judge said Mr Guilfoyle, of Castle Grove, Swords, Co Dublin, had been x-rayed and examined on September 16, 2001 before being sent home with instructions to return five days later.
He returned in two days complaining of great pain and had again been sent home until a scheduled assessment by Mr Gleeson on September 21. Mr Gleeson had referred him to see the Orthopaedic team in Beaumont five days later on September 26th when, 10 days after the incident, he had been admitted for treatment.
Judge Mahon told counsel for Guilfoyle, Mr Declan Wade, that he accepted expert evidence of a failure to detect a significant head of femur fracture and to admit him on September 16, again on September 18 and again on September 21.
“This is not a case where anything like gross negligence is alleged and fortunately no long term injury or exacerbation of earlier injury was caused,” the judge said.
He said Mr Guilfoyle had established, as a matter of probability, a case of negligence against the hospital and that the case against Mr Gleeson should be dismissed.
Judge Mahon said Mr Guilfoyle was obliged to endure approximately 10 days of severe pain and discomfort while hobbling around at home prior to receiving the appropriate medical treatment in the hospital.
He had been anxious and worried about his medical condition but in the overall context his additional pain, discomfort and anxiety, which might have been avoided had he been appropriately treated on day one, could not be said to have been of enormous consequence.
He awarded Guilfoyle €17,500 damages and costs and granted Ronan Dolan, SC, counsel for the hospital and Mr Gleeson, a stay to facilitate consideration of an appeal.