Wednesday 16 October 2019

'We had eight years of torture trying to get answers' - family of jockey get HSE apology

Anguish: Mary Tyner, mother of jockey Jack Tyner who died following a fall, speaks outside the High Court after the settlement. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision
Anguish: Mary Tyner, mother of jockey Jack Tyner who died following a fall, speaks outside the High Court after the settlement. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision

Ralph Riegel

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has apologised to the family of a talented jockey who died following a fall in a point-to-point race after acknowledging that his care in hospital fell below expected standards.

The High Court and Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told the written apology had been given to the Tyner family as part of the settlement of an action taken against the HSE and Cork University Hospital (CUH) over the death of jockey Jack Tyner (19).

Mr Tyner died on February 7 2011, having suffered a serious head injury in a fall at a point-to-point meeting in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, six days earlier.

The young man was the only son of Robert and Mary Tyner from Innishannon, Co Cork, and is survived by his parents and five sisters.

His parents initiated the action after maintaining their son should have survived his head injury.

Speaking outside the court, Jack's mother said his family are convinced Jack should still be with them today.

Jack Tyner (19) died after a fall at a point-to-point race. Photo: Provision
Jack Tyner (19) died after a fall at a point-to-point race. Photo: Provision

A trauma expert consulted by the plaintiffs said the young man should only have been at a 9pc risk of death.

"Jack loved life and lived for the sport of horse racing. His ambition was to be a top jockey," Ms Tyner said.

"He had great ambitions and get on with his life and be at the top of his game.

"On February 1, 2011, Jack had a fall at a point-to-point meeting, sustaining head injuries. Following the fall, he was taken to CUH and we were led to believe he would be there for a few hours at most.

"Jack never came home and died on February 7, 2011.

"We subsequently learned that Jack received substandard care - had Jack received early intervention and the appropriate care at CUH, he would be with us today.

"We got suspicious over certain things that happened. But if they just stood up at the start and told us, 'We made a mistake - things went wrong', we would not have had almost eight years of torture trying to get answers.

"But it was frightening to learn what went wrong.

"We accept the HSE has apologised for their part and their failings. In our view, however, lessons cannot be learned unless the professionals accept their part at an early stage, as opposed to years of unnecessary litigation."

"This has been a very traumatic journey for us, but from the outset, we felt we had no option but to ensure Jack's story was told."

Sean Lynch SC, for the family, instructed by solicitor Carmel Best, said the HSE had admitted liability in elements of Mr Tyner's care, had issued a written apology to the family, but had denied causation or that the failings in care contributed to his actual death.

The Tyner family disputed this.

"This was a terrible tragedy," Mr Lynch said.

"They (the HSE) have admitted fault. But they did not admit causation.

"They admitted they were at fault (in elements of the care provided) and they have apologised to the family in writing," he added.

Mr Justice Hanna confirmed an undisclosed settlement.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News