Monday 14 October 2019

€750,000 for assault victim over 'delay' to CT scan for bleed on brain

Settled: Francis Cunningham leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
Settled: Francis Cunningham leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A man who sued a hospital over the care he received when he was brought there after he was assaulted has settled his High Court action for €750,000.

Francis Cunningham (45), who is now in a wheelchair, had a cut on the back of his head when admitted to St James's Hospital in Dubln after the incident, which happened nine years ago.

His counsel, Oisin Quinn SC, said it was their case that Mr Cunningham, who was found to have bleeding on the brain after having a CT scan, should have had the scan sooner.

That would have meant he had brain surgery earlier.

On the balance of probabilities, he would have been able to walk and live independently, had it happened, counsel said.

Mr Cunningham, of Casement Park, Finglas, Dublin, through his brother James, of the same address, sued St James's Hospital over the care he got on October 2, 2010, after an assault that had happened nearby.

It was claimed there was a failure to properly assess Mr Cunningham when he was brought to the hospital by ambulance.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to treat him with appropriate urgency, particularly in circumstances of head injury.

It was further claimed there was a failure to carry out any or any proper or suitable observation or monitoring of him.

It was recorded that when he attended at the hospital A&E at 3.26pm, his primary complaint was alcohol and his secondary complaint a cut.

When he was assessed two hours later, it was noted Mr Cunningham was intoxicated and not verbalising and had a cut to the back of the head.

It was claimed that a CT scan three hours later showed bleeding on the brain and he was transferred to another hospital for brain surgery.

It was claimed at this stage his clinical condition was much worse.

St James's Hospital admitted it was in breach of duty in that a review of Mr Cunningham at 5.20pm ought to have led to a request for a CT brain scan at that point.

All other claims were denied.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good one.

He said that hopefully the house in Finglas could now be adapted for Mr Cunningham's needs.

Irish Independent

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