Sunday 19 August 2018

Woman awarded €438,000 over negligent hysterectomy operation

Tim Healy

A WOMAN has been awarded €438,000 against an obstetrician over negligence in the carrying out of a hysterectomy operation.

Cynthia Kinsella (52), a former secretary of Fortfield Avenue, Terenure, Dublin, sued consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Gerry Rafferty over the operation he carried out at Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin, on April 7, 2008.

She required the hysterectomy because she suffered from the heavy menstrual bleeding condition, menorrhagia.

Three weeks after the surgery, her bladder began leaking, or what is known medically as a fistula, causing her great distress. In July, she underwent another operation to repair the problem which was carried out by another doctor assisted by Dr Rafferty.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill found today the probable cause of the fistula was a misplaced suture into the bladder by Dr Rafferty.

Dr Rafferty had "flatly denied" this, the judge noted. The doctor believed she had suffered a rare complication of a hysterectomy, but the judge said he rejected his evidence.

The judge was satisfied Ms Kinsella suffered anxiety and distress when the fistula became apparent.

Her distress did not improve even with the successful repair operation and she developed a severe anxiety disorder with a depressive element, he said.

Ms Kinsella, who is married with no children, had worked all her life as a secretary and was in a senior secretarial position with an engineering firm until November 2008 when she was made redundant due to the downturn in construction, just a few months after the operation.

The judge was satisfied her severe anxiety disorder was caused by negligence in the operation and that she will continue to be afflicted by this disorder for the foreseeable future.

She had been a diligent, competent and valued employee and her capacity for work had been greatly degraded by the disorder. With this condition, she would have "absolutely no chance" of holding down a new job, the judge said.

Had she not suffered as a result of this operation, the judge believed she would in all probability have sought alternative employment after redundancy.

He awarded her €200,000 for past and future pain and suffering, €225,000 for future loss of earnings and €13,184 in special damages.

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