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Thursday 28 August 2014

Runner's Special Olympics dreams dashed after 'hospital missed fracture'

Published 30/04/2014 | 17:12

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Amy Rose McGowan
Amy Rose McGowan

A YOUNG woman's hopes of competing as a runner in the Special Olympics were dashed when a fracture to her knee was missed by a hospital, the High Court heard.

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Amy Rose McGowan settled her action against the HSE for alleged negligence for €142,000.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said it was a tragedy that Ms McGowan did not get to the Special Olympics and a pity her running career had been cut short.

Ms McGowan, the court heard, had been training and hoping to compete in the next Special Olympics in Athens when she fell and hurt her knee during a 50 metre sprint race in May 2009.

Her counsel Dr John  O'Mahony said she had won 34 medals and 10 trophies in the area of athletics and swimming before the accident.

Ms McGowan (31) of Manorlands, Trim, Co Meath, through her mother Colette McGowan, sued the HSE as a result of her care, diagnosis and treatment in the emergency department of Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, Co Meath, on May 8, 2009.

It was claimed there was a failure to interpret the x-rays of her knee which demonstrated a depressed fracture, or to diagnose she had suffered such a fracture. It was further claimed the hospital interpreted and reported the x rays as not revealing any abnormality.

The case had been before the court for assessment of damages only as liability was conceded. 

Dr O'Mahony said Amy was half way through a sprint race in Navan when the accident occurred and she fell on her left knee. She was brought to Our Lady's Hospital, Navan  where the knee was strapped and a diagnosis of a soft tissue injury was made.

Counsel  said the depressed fracture was missed. A few months later, she went to her GP because she had pain and the fracture was discovered, but at that stage " the bird had flown" and it had gone past the time for operative or corrective intervention.

Counsel said she will have to have two and maybe three knee replacement operations throughout her life. He said before the accident her prospects of qualifying for the Special Olympics were good.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Peart invited Ms McGowan to show her medals to the court and said he was "very impressed and full of admiration" for her.

He said he hoped she could now put the accident behind her and have a happy life with her family.

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