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€2.5m for man who says late diagnosis left him disabled

A STUDENT has settled a court action after he was left severely disabled due to an alleged delay in diagnosing a brain tumour.

Seamus Walshe Jnr (27) is to receive an initial payment of €2.5m, subject to a review in three years.

Mr Walshe sued, through his father Seamus, for damages arising out of the alleged failure of University College Hospital Galway to diagnose at the earliest opportunity that he had a germ cell tumour in his brain and over the subsequent decision at Beaumont Hospital to carry out surgery on him rather than chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment.

Mr Walshe Jnr was a construction studies third-level student when he first complained of problems with his eyes, including his upward gaze, and nausea and vomiting six years ago.

It was claimed that as a result of the initial delay in diagnosis in Galway, Mr Walshe's tumour grew and spread into surrounding tissue and he continued to suffer pain and discomfort.

If scans has been done he would have been referred to Beaumont much sooner, it was claimed.

As a result of a decision for surgery at Beaumont, it was alleged Mr Walshe suffered substantial complications and ended up in intensive care.

Survival

It was claimed there was a failure to have regard to the fact that the type of tumour was one which responds well to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, even when it has spread, with long-term survival rates of up to 90pc.

The case by Mr Walshe Jnr, of Devon Gardens, Taylors Hall, Galway, was against the HSE and Beaumont Hospital. The settlement at the High Court yesterday was without admission of liability.

His father told the court the settlement would not undo the damage done, but the family would be able to get rehabilitation treatment for his son overseas.

"Our entire life has been turned upside down," he told Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

The settlement provides for payout care for the next three years and periodic payments afterwards if the appropriate legislation is introduced for such a system.

His future care needs will be assessed in three years' time and subject to annual payouts if the legislation is in place by then.

Ms Justice Irvine said there was no guarantee that periodic payments legislation will be introduced and there has been a "deathly silence" from the Government.

The court hear Mr Walshe was admitted to the National Rehabilitation Centre in September 2008. On admission, he was in a wheelchair, had severe spasticity and there was a severe disorder of eye movements.

hnews@herald.ie


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