Friday 23 August 2019

Hospital apologises for shortcomings in care it provided to father-of-five sent home on three occasions who later died

Evan Morrissey (inset) was sent home three times from South Tipperary General hospital after he complained of headaches
Evan Morrissey (inset) was sent home three times from South Tipperary General hospital after he complained of headaches

Tim Healy

A hospital has apologised in the High Court for shortcomings in the care it provided to a man sent home on three occasions after he had complained of headaches - but who died later of a brain hemorrhage.

South Tipperary General Hospital says it has now drafted and implemented a headache protocol following the tragic death of  28-year old Evan Morrissey, a father of five .

Mr Morrissey presented at the hospital three times in three weeks complaining of severe headaches, the court heard. Migraine was diagnosed and he was sent home.

On the fourth occasion, a CT scan identified  an acute right frontal lobe cerebral harmorrhage. Mr Morrissey was transferred to another hospital where another scan showed a brain aneurysm.

Mr Morrissey suffered cardiac arrest, had to be intubated and resuscitated but was pronounced brain dead on March 22, 2014.

The apology from South Tipperary General was read in court as part of the settlement of an action by Mr Morrissey's partner, Gwen Bradley and their five children, over his death

Evan Morrissey
Evan Morrissey

Ms Bradley was pregnant with the couple's fifth child at the time of her partner's death.

South Tipperary Hospital's general manager, Maria Barry, expressed heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family.

"The managers and staff of the hospital apologise sincerely for the shortcomings in the care which it provided to the late Evan Morrissey," she said in a statement read to court.

"The hospital accepts responsibility for the tragic death and for the heartache and distress suffered by his family as a result of his death".

The statement added that since the death, it has "drafted and implemented a headache protocol,which contains a checklist  dealing with a patient who re-attends the hospital complaining of headaches. "

Pat Treacy SC, instructed by Cian O'Carroll solicitor, for the family, told the court a separate action brought by Ms Bradley for nervous shock over the death of her partner has also been settled. The terms of both settlements are confidential.

Ms Bradley, Fr Matthew Crescent, New Inn, Cashel, Co Tipperary, had sued the HSE which admitted liability.

She had claimed Mr Morrissey was caused to be fatally injured as a result of the failure to carry out a lumbar puncture - which would have diagnosed a subarachnoid hemorrhage as a result of an aneurysm - on the occasions Mr Morrissey presented to the hospital.

South Tipperary General Hospital
South Tipperary General Hospital

On the balance of probabilities, it was claimed Mr Morrissey would have been successfully treated for his aneurysm had a lumbar puncture been carried out in time.

Ms Bradley's counsel said on the third occasion Mr Morrissey presented, March 10, his headaches had deteriorated and he was vomiting. A lumbar puncture was scheduled but not carried out. Mr Morrissey was discharged from hospital three days later with a diagnosis of migraine.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, approving the settlement, sympathised with Ms Bradley and her extended family on their loss.

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