Wednesday 22 November 2017

Wife of musician left in coma after heart attack suffered in hospital settles €500k High Court action

Robert Bolton
Robert Bolton

Ann O'Loughlin

A talented musician who had surgery for cancer at St James' Hospital, Dublin but later had a heart attack and slipped into a coma has settled his High Court action for €550,000.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that Robert Bolton almost five years later is still in a coma, cannot speak or communicate and has no reaction to the presence of family members.

His wife Angela Bolton, who blogs about their life since her husband went in to a coma, welcomed the settlement but said nothing would compensate for the condition of her husband.

"Thirty years being with the same man and I go home on my own. Nothing really compensates for that but we’ve done our best,"she said.

She added: "All we wanted to find out was what happened and I think we found that out as much as we could. Robert was an incredible gentleman. A musician for life, a bass player, He got his degree from Trinity as a mature student. He was an incredibly fit, well person and the apple of my eye and he’s been an inspiration to me all  years. The one who kept me going. He’s an incredible man."

Robert Bolton now aged 71  had thought his wife Anglea Bolton of Aungier Street,Dublin sued St James' Hospital for alleged negligence arising from his treatment in October 2011 when he underwent surgery to the oesophagus and was transferred to ICU where it was claimed over 24 hours he deteriorated.

His counsel, Desmond O'Neill SC, told the court Mr Bolton developed respiratory failure and early sepsis and had a heart attack on October 4, 2011, suffered a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury  and has been in a coma ever since.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to have regard to the fact that from the morning of October 4, Mr Bolton's condition met the generally accepted criteria for a systemic inflammatory response and sepsis and there was an alleged failure to have regard to the fact that Mr Bolton was developing early sepsis related organ failures.

The claims were denied by the defendant but the court heard there was a partial admission on liability in relation to a certain aspect of the case.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good settlement. He said Mrs Bolton could be happy in the knowledge that the best possible arrangement had been made on behalf of Mr Bolton.

Outside court, solicitor David O'Malley  said no ruling could ever address the emotionally repugnant state Mr Bolton had been left in. 

He had lost the one thing he cherished most - his power of expression.   But he said the hard work and courage of his wife and family had given Mr Bolton a voice to determine what happened to him. 

Mr O’Malley said the family also had the small comfort of knowing his care had been provided for. 

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