Thursday 14 December 2017

Widow awarded €295k as husband died in hospital after requiring treatment for eye infection

Cork University Hospital
Cork University Hospital

Tim Healy

A widow who sued over the care given to her husband at Cork University Hospital (CUH) has settled her High Court action for €295,000.

Father-of-two, Remmy Ajayi (33), originally from Nigeria, suffered total organ failure and died on November 21, 2008, the court heard.

The issue in the case related to the nature and extent of treatment of Mr Ajayi's serious eye infection including with steroids, counsel for the widow told the court.

Phumla Joana Ajayi, Tuairin Glas, Greenfields, Ballincollig, Co Cork, sued the HSE over the care given to her husband at CUH where he had gone on September 16, 2008, complaining of a one week history of redness or infection in his left eye.

His condition was diagnosed as a serious eye infection, toxoplasmosis uveitis. A treatment regime was put in place.

It was further claimed on November 18, 2008, when Mr Ajayi was extremely unwell, he was taken back to CUH by ambulance in circumstances where he was unresponsive.

He was admitted to the hospital but developed complications, including acute renal failure, and was in a diabetic coma.

He further developed pancreatitis which resulted in his death from total organ failure three days later.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to provide Mr Ajayi with a an appropriate treatment regime as of November 18 and a failure to take in to account the risk factors of him developing complications.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to limit the use of steroids  in the earlier treatment of Mr Ajayi.

His wife and two children, and other members of his extended family, have been grossly distressed as a result of his untimely death, it was claimed.

The claims were denied. The HSE contended that all necessary and adequate precautions for the safety of Mr Ajayi had been taken and that a proper treatment regime had been put in place.

It was further contended that Mr Ajayi was reviewed in an adequate manner and had ongoing review appointments at the ophthalmology clinic.

It was also argued, the defence, he was treated in  a responsible, reasonable and professional manner and that he was suffering from a serious infective condition which may result in blindness if untreated.

He had been treated appropriately and with all due diligence and his unfortunate death was not reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances, it was also claimed.

John O'Mahony SC, for the widow,  said it was a very sad case.

Mr Ajayi was at that time retraining and hoping to study a degree in science, he said.

His wife was pregnant with their second child at the time.

Counsel  said it was his side's contention the September steroid treatment regime should have been discontinued or tapered off sooner.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with the family.

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