Tuesday 24 October 2017

Man sues HSE after voice box unnecessarily removed in 14-hour operation

Kevin McMahon (63) of Glasgow Park, Roxboro, Limerick
Kevin McMahon (63) of Glasgow Park, Roxboro, Limerick

Tim Healy

A 63-YEAR-old man who had his voice box unnecessarily removed in a 14-hour operation has sued the HSE for damages.

Kevin McMahon, a truck driver and father of four, now has no natural voice and can only speak through an artificial voice box, the High Court heard.

His counsel Liam Reidy said in 2010, Mr McMahon had a throat lesion which was in the first level of cancer and targeted radiotherapy would have cured him.

However, counsel said, the operation Midland Regional Hospital in Limerick to remove his voice box in January 2011 was completely over the top and too radical.

Experts on the McMahon side would say the cancer, which by January 2011, had reached the third level, could have been treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The operation was totally inappropriate and caused significant damage and distress, it was claimed.

Mr McMahon, of Glasgow Park, Roxboro, Limerick, sued the HSE over his diagnosis, treatment, management and care and in particular an operation where his larynx was removed at the Mid-Western Regional.

He has also sued in relation to a three month delay in a second biopsy of his vocal cord ordered by a surgeon. The second biopsy was supposed to be carried out in October 2010 but was cancelled and rescheduled for January 2011.

He has claimed there was a failure to discuss the treatment options available before carrying out radical head and neck surgery when it was unreasonable to do so.

It was further claimed it was unreasonable and inappropriate to treat Mr McMahon with radical surgery.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told liability had been admitted this week and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

The court heard the HSE in a letter, on Tuesday this week, said liability was no longer an issue in the case.

However, Mr Reidy said, no apology had been offered to Mr McMahon.

He had gone to his GP in 2010 when he noticed his voice had become hoarse.

The doctor referred him to the Mid-Western Regional where he was found to have a lesion on the left side of his vocal cord which was considered to be suspicious of an early cell carcinoma.

He was urgently admitted to the hospital on July 12, 2010, for a biopsy and the reporting histopathologist advised an urgent second biopsy should take place.

Counsel said the second biopsy was scheduled for October 2010 and experts on the McMahon side would say the delay of three months was “utterly unacceptable and indefensible.”

Counsel said worse was to happen.

On October 20, 2010 Mr McMahon received a letter saying the second biopsy had been cancelled and had been rescheduled for January 2011.

The case continues before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

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