Wednesday 23 August 2017

HSE apologises to family over father's death

Tim Healy and  Michael McHale

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has made yet another apology after it admitted to several failings in the treatment of a man who died of severe brain injuries after surgery on a broken wrist.

Michael Devane (44), died in early October 2007, days after being operated on in Kerry General Hospital, Tralee. The father of three, a psychiatric nurse, broke his wrist after his microlite aircraft crashed on September 27, 2007.

Following surgery that day, in which he received a general anaesthetic, his airways became blocked and he was unable to breathe, but this was picked up too late by hospital staff.

As a result, he suffered severe brain injuries and was transferred to another hospital, where he died nine days later.

His family, including his wife Deborah and their children Stephen, Grainne and Padraig, of Nunstown, Aghadoe, Killarney, Co Kerry, sued the HSE for medical negligence and nervous shock.

Yesterday at the High Court, Ms Justice Maureen Clark was informed that the action had been settled. No details were disclosed.

After yesterday's court proceedings, the Devane family said in a statement they were "satisfied that the HSE had finally apologised for the failings of the hospital in Mike's case".

They said that "they hoped the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against those directly responsible for the events that led to Michael's death".

The family also hoped the hospital had taken steps to ensure that such a tragedy would never happen again.


"Had the HSE issued the apology at an earlier stage it would have led to a more conclusive verdict of medical misadventure at Michael's inquest," they added, rather than the open verdict that was returned.

However, they said that "nothing could bring Mike back and that they just wanted to get on with their lives".

Last night Deborah's sister Sheila told the Irish Independent the conclusion of the legal action brought the family some relief, "but it still won't turn back the clock".

In their action, the family claimed the HSE had failed in their duty of care towards Michael as a result of carrying out the operation when it was known the hospital's recovery room was unavailable.

It was also claimed there was a failure to ensure he had properly recovered from surgery and the effects of the anaesthetic and that he was transferred to a ward without properly monitoring him.

Irish Independent

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