Saturday 21 October 2017

Mother (23) died from meningitis after failed hospital diagnosis - family awarded €550k

Donal Copse, from Newcastle West, Limerick, pictured leaving the Four Courts after he settled a High Court action against the HSE. Photo: Collins Courts
Donal Copse, from Newcastle West, Limerick, pictured leaving the Four Courts after he settled a High Court action against the HSE. Photo: Collins Courts
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Aodhan O'Faolain

A 23-year-old mother died of acute bacterial meningitis just days after she had presented at a hospital A&E with an earache, the High Court heard.

Today the family of Ann Marie Copse settled their action against the HSE for €550,000.

Ms Copse passed away on St Valentines Day, 2012, due to a bacterial meningitis infection which, the court heard, was rampant.

Her father, Donal, was in court as the family settled their action against the HSE over the treatment of when she initially presented to the Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, with a significant pain in her ear.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who was told that Ms Copse's daughter, Lauren was only five years old at the time of her mother's death, sympathised with the family.

The court was told was told Donal Copse and his wife Mary have taken care of their granddaughter since their daughter's death.

Mr Copse, Newcastle West, Co Limerick, had sued over the care his daughter received when she was referred by her GP to the Mid Western on February 9, 2012.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to manage her treatment, examination and diagnosis properly or at all.

There was also an alleged failure to admit her and instigate intravenous antibiotic treatment on February 9.

It was also claimed an alleged incorrect diagnosis of her condition was made on February 9 but when she returned to the hospital on February 11, a diagnosis of meningitis was made. 

The court was told there was an admission of liability in relation to breach of duty in relation to the care of Ms Copse on February 9, but the dispute in the case would have been in relation to what caused Ms Copse's death.

Seamus Counihan SC, for the family, said experts on his side would have said if she was treated on February 9 and bombarded with intravenous antibiotics, Ms Copse may have survived but might have been impaired.

This would have been in dispute by the other side if the case had gone on.

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