Monday 27 February 2017

Woman tells High Court how she watched her partner die weeks after operation: 'Nobody seemed to notice that he was dying'

Tim Healy

Geraldine Barry, of Skibereen, Co. Cork, leaving the High Court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix
Geraldine Barry, of Skibereen, Co. Cork, leaving the High Court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix

A WOMAN told the High Court how she watched her partner die weeks after an operation in a Cork hospital.

Geraldine Barry said the term septic shock was never used to her and she watched "an awful thing unfold" and there was nothing she could do.

It was claimed that if signs of sepsis had been treated, a second operation which Christopher Sayer (70) underwent would have been successful.

Ms Barry (44) was giving evidence in her action against the Mercy University Hospital which has admitted liability in the post operative care of Mr Sayer after a colon operation five years ago.

Ms Barry, Lakemarsh, Church Cross, Skibbereen, Co Cork, has sued the Mercy as a result of the death of Mr Sayer on April 19, 2010.   He was a retired antiques dealer and a well known jazz musician in Cork, the court heard.

Her claim was also for nervous shock.

Mr Sayer, who suffered from cancer, had a colon operation at the Mercy on March 11, 2010.

Initially, he appeared to make a good recovery, but became unwell on March 15 and developed septic shock due to a leak and had to have further surgery on March 17.

It was claimed staff at the hospital did not act with due expedition in  diagnosing and treating the leak.

Over the following weeks, his condition did not improve and he died on April 19, 2010.

The case is before Mr Justice Anthony Barr for assessment of damages only.

Opening the case, Liam Reidy SC, said palliative care was far from sufficient  in that Mr Sayer's mouth became ulcertated .

At one stage before her partner's death, Mr Reidy said a doctor at the bedside asked if a post mortem was required. There was, counsel said, a lack of communication as well as insensitivity.

If he had been properly treated, the operation would have been successful and there was a 77per cent chance of being alive after five years.

There were, he said, signs of developing sepsis and if this had been dealt with, the second operation would have been successful and Mr Sayer would not have suffered cerebral damage, counsel said.

Ms Barry said they first met in 2005, later moved in together and before he had gone in to hospital, he  signalled they they would be getting married.

The case continues.

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