Sunday 21 January 2018

Family gets 'justice' for dad who died after heart surgery

Tim Healy and Shane Hickey

THE daughter of a man who died after his heart was accidentally pierced during a surgical procedure told yesterday how the family fought to get justice for him.

Avril Ridge was speaking after the family of Art Ridge (62) secured €385,000 in a High Court settlement of medical negligence over his death.

Mr Ridge died on December 18, 2005, a few days after he underwent successful cardiac surgery at the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin.

He required a post-operative chest drain but his heart was accidentally pierced and he suffered internal bleeding.

The father-of-two underwent emergency surgery but died after almost an hour in theatre.

An action by his wife Maura Ridge from Shannagh Grove, Mohill, Leitrim, against consultant Michael Tolan and the clinic was struck out yesterday with no liability admitted.

However the case against another doctor, surgical registrar Ramy Alnahhal, was settled.

In a statement afterwards, the family said that they were "pleased the case had finally been resolved".

The stress and emotion from the family was made worse by the length of time the case had taken, their solicitor John McNulty said.

"It has kept the tragic death of Art as an open wound," he said.

Mrs Ridge claimed in her action that there was negligence and a breach of their duty of care towards her husband.

The settlement was approved yesterday by Mr Justice John Quirke who expressed his sympathies to the Ridge family.


Mr Ridge passed away at what was in the court's view "a very young age" and "for no good reason".

Eoin McGonigle SC, for Mrs Ridge, told the court that the family were happy to accept the settlement.

The court heard that in December 2005 Mr Ridge underwent successful surgery in Blackrock Clinic to replace a valve in his heart.

A few days later, following the review of an X-ray as part of his post-operative care, it was decided to insert a chest drain.

That procedure was carried out by Dr Alnahhal who had accidentally pierced Mr Ridge's heart by, what was claimed to be, the excessive use of force in the insertion of a forceps. Despite emergency surgery, he never recovered.

After the case, Mrs Ridge said her husband was a very outgoing person, a very good speaker and someone who loved the English language.

"We couldn't believe that it had happened, so naturally we were very upset about it," she said.

She said the hospital was not "very nice" during the process and the battle had gone on for too long.

Blackrock Clinic did not respond to a query for comment on the matter yesterday.

Avril Ridge, the daughter of the deceased man, said the process had been very traumatic and they were appalled at what had happened.

"We were worried throughout that time whether we should continue and my mother was very adamant, as we all were, of getting justice for our father," she said.

"He was very good with the community and was a very intelligent man.

"We were very upset to lose him."

Irish Independent

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