Saturday 10 December 2016

Woman who claims she has difficulty walking following hysterectomy nearly 10 years ago loses her High Court action for damages

Tim Healy

Published 07/07/2015 | 15:53

Mary McNicholas, of Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, leaving the High Court after she lost her personal injuries action for damages. Photo: Courtpix
Mary McNicholas, of Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, leaving the High Court after she lost her personal injuries action for damages. Photo: Courtpix
Mary McNicholas, of Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, leaving the High Court after she lost her personal injuries action for damages. Photo: Courtpix

A WOMAN who claimed she has difficulty walking following surgery nearly 10 years ago has lost her High Court action for damages.

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Mother of two, Mary McNicholas, Cloonkedagh Road, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, claimed she is in constant pain and has missed out on key family events since she had a hysterectomy operation.

Ms McNicholas sued Andrea Hermann, who was at the time was a consultant gynaecologist practising at the Galway Clinic, Doughiska, Galway.

The court heard Ms Hermann now works in Germany.

Ms McNicholas had alleged that the pre-operative care given by Dr Hermann was deficient and she did not advise her to lose weight before the operation. It was also claimed the surgery itself caused damage to her femoral nerve and she suffered numbness in her left lower leg as well as severe pain.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr found Ms Hermann did not depart from an appropriate standard of care when she advised Ms McNicholas in August 2005 that she could undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy when it suited her later in that year.

Mr Justice Barr said Ms McNicholas  had attended Dr Hermann  for a second opinion in August 2005. Another doctor had recommended that the Ms McNicholas lose a very significant amount of weight to get her body mass index (BMI) down before the operation and advised her to see a dietitian.

The judge said when Ms McNicholas met Dr Hermann she was still experiencing prolonged bleeding and symptoms which were having  a serious adverse effect on her quality of life.

In these circumstances, the judge said it was reasonable for Dr Hermann to conclude that due to her ongoing symptoms Ms McNicholas was unlikely to be able to lose much  weight.

Mr Justice Barr said he was satisfied the approaches of both doctors were reasonable in the circumstances and there was an "honest difference of opinion" between them as to how best to treat Ms McNicholas.

He was satisfied that Ms McNicholas had failed to establish negligence on the part of Dr Hermann in carrying out the operation.

Costs will also be decided at a later stage.

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