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Widow wins €210k in cancer tests blunder

A RETIRED garda sergeant died two and a half weeks after a surgical procedure allegedly failed to detect a tumour in his bowel, the High Court heard.

The widow of Joseph McKeogh (74) yesterday secured €210,000 in settlement of her High Court action over her husband's death

Philomena McKeogh, of St Patrick's Terrace, Nenagh, Tipperary, sued the HSE and David McAvinchey, a consultant surgeon at Nenagh General Hospital, over the death of her husband, a father of six, in April 2006.


The defendants denied the claims and the settlement, made without admission of liability, was against the HSE only. No order was made against Mr McAvinchey.

The court heard Mr McKeogh had gastro-abdominal complaints and a colonoscopy was performed on March 31, 2006, to investigate them.

Counsel for Mrs McKeogh said Mr McKeogh received the "all clear" but, 18 days later, was very unwell and was brought back to Nenagh hospital where he very unfortunately died later that same day. The problem was the colonoscopy had missed a carcinoma of the large bowel, counsel said.

Mr McKeogh developed peritonitis, got progressively worse and died of overwhelming difficulties arising from perforation of the colon and peritonitis.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice John Quirke extended his sympathy to Ms McKeogh and her family and said it was a terrible tragedy.

In her claim, Mrs McKeogh alleged her husband's death was caused by negligence and breach of duty in relation to the care and treatment of him, particularly in relation to the manner in which the colonoscopy was carried out.

Mrs McKeogh said she and the other members of her family had lost a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and brother and had suffered great mental distress as a result of his death.