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Handyman who believes in ‘self-healing’ did not visit a doctor until 17 months after a traffic accident in which he injured his right shoulder


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A 55-year-old handyman and believer in self-healing therapy did not visit a doctor until 17 months after a traffic accident in which he injured his right shoulder.

Barrister Brian Sugrue told the Circuit Civil Court today that when his client Paul McCarthy, of Ramleh Park, Milltown, Dublin, found that personal medication had not worked, he had gone to his doctor who had arranged an MRI scan for him.

Judge James McCourt heard that Mr McCarthy was a strong believer in and successfully practised holistic therapy which unfortunately had not worked in the recovery of his shoulder injury over almost a year and a half.

Holism emphasises the connection between the mind and body, avoiding the overuse of drugs and borrows practices from Eastern traditions such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation, focusing on treating the whole person rather than concentrating on single symptoms.

Mr Sugrue, who appeared with Tiernan Solicitors, said Mr McCarthy had torn a ligament in his right shoulder when his work van had been rear ended in December 2014 on the Naas Road by a Co Wexford motorist, Des Stafford, of Davidstown, Enniscorthy.

Mr McCarthy sued Stafford for damages for personal injuries arising from the 2015 accident and, included in his proceedings a claim for €120,000 loss of earnings. Mr Sugrue told the court the claim was being confined to the €60,000 jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.

McCarthy said he had been a life-long believer in alternative medicine and had attempted to heal his injury by this method.

He first sought mainstream medical attention when he visited his GP in 2016.

The court heard that he had undergone an MRI scan which indicated a shoulder injury which doctors could not positively attribute wholly to the traffic accident more than 17 months earlier. The scan had also revealed underlying degenerative damage to Mr McCarthy’s shoulder.

Judge McCourt said he had been provided with financial loss figures which were of no assistance to the court but the case before him was an assessment of damages for personal injury in that liability had been conceded by the defendant.

“Mr McCarthy chose to act in his own case and diagnosed and treated himself for a significant period. Unfortunately he took a long time to seek confirmation of his diagnosis and had tried honestly to address the issues by massage and herbal medicines,” Judge McCourt said.

He told defence counsel Conor Kearney, who appeared with Sandra Drennan of Collins Crowley Solicitors, that he would make no award in relation to the €120,000 loss of earnings aspect of the case but there had been an accident in which Mr McCarthy had suffered an injury and he would award him damages of €20,000 for pain and suffering to date and into the future.

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