Sunday 19 November 2017

Lawyer who suffered acquired brain injury after 'routine' back surgery awarded €7.1m

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Court reporter

A lawyer who suffered an acquired brain injury when he failed to regain consciousness after he got an anaesthetic for a routine back procedure has settled his High Court action for €7.1million

Former barrister and father of two Frank Cowan was 46-years-old the High Court heard when he failed to initially regain consciousness and suffered an acquired brain injury.

His counsel Oonagh Mc Crann said Mr Cowan suffered a catastrophic hypoxic brain injury which arose as a result of negligence in anaesthetic management 

Frank Cowan, Clonee, Co Meath had through his wife Janette sued anaesthetist Deirdre Lohan in relation to his anaesthetic management when he underwent a routine back procedure. The court heard that liability was admitted in the case in October.

Counsel told Mr Justice Kevin Cross Mr Cowan had been a practising barrister in the Law Library until 2008 and later worked in the regulatory industry. He had in 2014 been experiencing back pain and went to the Sports Surgery Clinic, Santry, Dublin for elective routine cervical spine surgery.

Counsel said Mr Cowan suffered an acquired brain injury  which has affected all aspects of his life. She said he reacts to his family and smiles at his children but cannot communicate his needs or pain and needs 24 hour care.

She said Mr Cowan is currently being cared for in a care facility but it was his family's hope to care for him at home. Counsel said the €7.1million was a final settlement in the case as Mrs Cowan found the whole litigation process so distressing and she and her family wanted to be "done and dusted" with the matter.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with the Cowan family on the "terrible tragedy"

He said he was happy to approve the settlement.

After Mr Cowan sustained the injury friends set up a trust and carried out fundraising to help Mr Cowan and his family and help fund his long term medical care.

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