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Man's heartbreak at 'bride's brain damage after surgery'

Dick Doyle: his wife became ill during their honeymoon

A MUSIC industry executive has spoken of his devastation after his bride allegedly suffered life-changing brain damage following surgery. The couple had just returned from their honeymoon.

Dick Doyle, chief executive of Phonographic Performance Ireland and director-general of the Irish Music Rights Organisation, told the High Court yesterday he "was lost" after his bride, Avril Doyle (46), suffered debilitating brain damage.

He claimed that the newlywed went from being "the life and soul of the party" to a woman requiring constant care.

Mrs Doyle, of Wyattville Park, Loughlinstown, Dublin, had been "a bubbly and vivacious" woman before her injury, he said. But she now needed almost round-the-clock care and would spend the day in bed watching TV if left to her own devices.

The former receptionist and mother of one was also left unable to care for her son from a previous marriage. The boy had to go and live with his father as a result of her impairment, the court heard.

Mrs Doyle is suing through her husband, seeking damages for negligence and breach of duty against the Health Services Executive and consultant surgeon Joseph Duignan. He practises at St Michael's Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, where the operation was carried out.

The court heard that Mrs Doyle became ill while on honeymoon in the Dominican Republic in June 2005.

She was referred to St Michael's Hospital on June 18, where she underwent a laparotomy to treat multiple abdominal adhesions.

She was discharged 10 days later but her condition deteriorated and she was readmitted on August 2.

Mrs Doyle underwent further surgery, including having another laparotomy, in which part of her small bowel had to be removed.

She also required emergency intravenous (IV) feeding following the surgery. This is known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

Mr Doyle alleges that the hospital failed to administer the B-complex vitamin thiamine with the IV and that this omission left her with a condition known as 'Wenicke Korsakoff psychosis'.

The condition has left her with loss of intellectual ability and cognitive-linguistic function, as well as impairment of her executive function.

She also became confused, increasingly disoriented and developed memory problems as as result of the brain injury she suffered, her lawyer Richard T Keane told the court.

She continued to have problems with unsteadiness and dizziness and suffered from ongoing debilitating fatigues, fits and depression, he added.

Mrs Doyle was transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in November 2005, where a doctor noted short-term memory loss, he said.

She was unable to say how long she had been married and would fill in the gaps of her memory by fabricating stories.

She also suffered from ataxia -- loss of muscle co-ordination and movement -- confusion, amnesia and a fluctuating ability to carry out her activities of daily living, said Mr Keane.


In April 2006, Mrs Doyle returned home under the care of her husband. He later hired a carer who was tasked with motivating her to go for walks, he said. Without motivation, she'd stay in bed for most of the day and watch TV.

The defendants, it is alleged, failed in their duty to monitor, test and review Mrs Doyle's nutritional requirements as part of the TPN management.

Liability is not admitted, except in relation to the failure to provide a nutritionist at the hospital.

The case resumes next week.

Irish Independent