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Sunday 22 January 2017

Doctor who misdiagnosed haemorrhage in mum of three as migraine is still working in Cork hospital

Published 29/09/2011 | 05:00

Niamh Long
Niamh Long

A DOCTOR is still working at a hospital where he misdiagnosed a mother of three who later died from complications following emergency brain surgery.

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The revelation came as the Irish Independent also learned that Cork University Hospital (CUH) has not changed its emergency department protocols despite the misdiagnosis of Dr Niamh Long (40).

Dr Long -- who formerly worked at CUH -- died just six days after emergency department registrar Dr Gergely Halasz wrongly told her she was only suffering from a migraine or 'cluster' headache.

Just 24 hours later, she was correctly diagnosed as having suffered a brain haemorrhage due to an aneurysm on a major artery.

Despite the tragedy, CUH has not changed its emergency department protocols -- and no further action is understood to be contemplated by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Last night, an HSE spokesperson said they were unable to comment on the matter at this time.

Appalled

It has emerged that Dr Halasz did not take contemporaneous notes on his various assessments of Dr Long on January 6 -- and his version of the medical history taken from her contradicts the version offered by her husband, Mr Eoin Clifford.

Mr Clifford, who is a barrister, declined to comment further on the tragedy yesterday to the Irish Independent.

However, the family admitted they were "appalled" by the manner in which they were told of the disastrous complications following Dr Long's brain surgery on January 8 -- with the news being passed to them in a busy hospital corridor.

Dr Halasz insisted that Dr Long did not have neck stiffness and was not sensitive to light -- yet both of these were indicated in nursing notes on January 6.

He also insisted that he was not told Dr Long had lost consciousness -- though Mr Clifford is adamant that this fact was brought to the attention of staff.

A coroner's inquest returned a verdict of "medical misadventure".

Ms Long died on January 12, with all her organs being donated for transplant.

Her husband said her death had devastated her family and her three young children, Laoise, Orla and Emer.

Irish Independent

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