News Courts

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Delay in treatment led to death of woman, inquiry told

Kevin Keane

Published 06/12/2012 | 05:00

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A MEDICAL expert has stated that a woman who died following a minor procedure on her bladder had all the symptoms of septic shock but was not treated in time.

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Ms Mary Walsh died in Tallaght Hospital on December 8, 2008, after sustaining an intraperitoneal perforation, or cut, to her bladder which caused urine to leak internally into her abdomen.

The 56-year-old, from Firhouse, Dublin, had undergone a cystoscopy in Mount Carmel hospital three days earlier.

Ms Walsh's consultant urologist, Mr Thomas McDermott, faces allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional practice in relation to nine separate issues connected to her treatment.

These include that he failed to arrange for appropriate investigations before Ms Walsh's procedure to determine whether she was suffering from a urinary tract infection; and that he failed to give adequate consideration to the possibility that the patient was suffering from toxic shock. Mr McDermott is constesting the claims.

Following the cystoscopy, Ms Walsh returned home but was readmitted to Mount Carmel Hospital the same evening in severe pain.

After an initial improvement in her condition the following morning, she deteriorated and was transferred to the hospital's high- dependency unit.

Following a further deterioration she was brought by ambulance to Tallaght Hospital where she died two days later. Yesterday an expert witness, Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, of the former St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, said the "window of opportunity" to recognise Ms Walsh was in septic shock had been missed.

The inquiry heard that Dr McDermott saw Ms Walsh at 3am on the night of her admission and again at 8.30am.

"When I saw her the following morning she was sitting up and having a cup of tea. I was quite heartened and decided to leave her as she was. The option was there to transfer her to Tallaght but that was the period when we had patients on trollies," Dr McDermott said.

A verdict on the case is due to be delivered later today.

Irish Independent

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