HSE tells family of 'sincere regret' over boy's death
THE HSE has expressed its "sincere regret" for "any deficiencies or inattention" in the care of a 12-year-old boy leading up to his death as a result of a serious cardiac condition.
The family of David O'Leary yesterday said they had brought the case to the High Court to "vindicate" their child who had tried to tell doctors how ill he was.
In a letter to David O'Leary's parents, which was read out in the High Court yesterday, the HSE stated Cork University Hospital and all the staff involved in the boy's care said the family could "take comfort that lessons have been learned by all concerned in David's care".
David's parents believe that if he had been listened to when he told doctors he had difficulty breathing, his condition of acute myocarditis would have been diagnosed and treated earlier, Liam Reidy, counsel, for the parents, said. Doctors believed David had the winter vomiting bug but he had a serious cardiac condition, his mother Patricia O'Leary said in a statement.
"We brought this case, not for the money, but rather to vindicate David who tried to tell the doctors how ill he was," she added.
Mrs O'Leary, on behalf of the boy's family from Ballinascarthy, Co Cork, had sued the HSE alleging negligence in the treatment of David, her eldest child, who died at the CUH on February 13, 2007, within hours of being transferred there from another hospital. The HSE had denied the claims.
Yesterday, Mr Justice John Quirke was told the action had settled for an undisclosed sum, including the maximum €33,000 payment allowable for nervous shock and mental distress suffered as a result of the child's death. The judge added he had repeatedly voiced his views about the low payment allowable for mental distress in such cases.