Wednesday 22 November 2017

Woman who lost eight pints of blood during routine hospital procedure awarded €855k

The patient was in hospital to establish why she was unable to get pregnant

Gina Van Amersfoorth pictured leaving the Four Courts
Gina Van Amersfoorth pictured leaving the Four Courts

Tim Healy

A woman has been awarded €855,000 after losing eight pints of blood when an artery was torn in what was a routine hospital day procedure.

The High Court accepted expert evidence that Gina Van Amersfoorth's pain and suffering is likely to persist for the rest of her life at its present level if not worsen.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said she had gone to the regional hospital in Portlaoise for a routine diagnostic procedure in 2002 to establish why she was unable to get pregnant.

While under anaesthetic, a surgical instrument called a trocar, was inserted in to her abdomen to allow telescopic examination but there was significant bleeding from a major blood vessel caused by the instrument.

Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise
Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

The judge said the consultant obstetrician, Dr John Corristine, had torn a main artery in the woman's pelvis and also punctured a vein and the assistance of a vascular surgeon was required.

Ms Van Amersfoorth (50), Grenville, Portlaoise, Co Laois, had sued the HSE (formerly the Midland Health Board) and Dr Corristine, attached to Portlaoise General, now the Midland Regional, as a result of the procedure carried out at the hospital on June 4, 2002.

It was claimed there was a failure to take any or any adequate or proper precautions for the safety of Ms Van Amersfoorth.

There was also an alleged failure to adequately, or at all, check that all equipment used during the laparoscopy was in good and proper working order.

Operating theatre
Stock photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Operating theatre Stock photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Ms Van Amersfoorth suffered a major haemorrhage with a loss of at least eight pints of blood and required ventilation and life support for two days afterwards and was in hospital for six days in total.

The defendants  admitted responsibility for the operation, the scar, and the initial pain and suffering.

However, they disputed that other claimed consequences such as abdominal pain were related to the incident.

Mr Justice Cross found the woman's ongoing abdominal pain which is serious and significant is as a result of the procedure.

Ms Van Amersfoorth's  life he said has been significantly impaired as a result of what happened, he said.

The judge said he must assess the damage as being very serious and significant, though not catastrophic.  He awarded a total of €855,793.

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