A HOSPITAL has apologised to the parents of an eight-year-old boy who died 18 hours after he was discharged from its A&E with a prescription.
Richard de Souza, who had chickenpox, died when toxins overwhelmed his body as an infection took hold.
The High Court heard if he had been given antibiotics intravenously after he was admitted to Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, it was a matter of high probability that it would have dealt with the infection he had on top of the chickenpox and saved his life.
The apology was read to court as part of a €160,000 settlement of the damages action by Richard's parents, Flavia Helena de Souza and Ralmon Rodriquez de Souza – originally from Brazil – as a result of the death of their son in the the hospital in February 2011.
Outside court yesterday, the family's solicitor Ann Nowlan said the de Souzas still have concerns about the treatment which their son received.
The settlement and the apology had "gone somewhere to acknowledge the lack of care which Richard received, and to bring them closure in this case".
"But they believe that had Richard received the proper care he would still be alive today, and that his tragic death could have been prevented," Ms Nowlan said.
In the apology read to court, the management and staff of Midland Regional expressed its "sincere sympathy and regret" to the de Souza family over the tragic death of Richard as a result of a streptococcal infection following his attendance, treatment and discharge from the emergency department on the evening prior to his death.
Senior Counsel, Dr John O'Mahony, for the family, said it was a very sad case.
Richard's parents are completely lost without their son, he said. His father, who heard of the death over the phone while at work, went almost " almost hysterical" and was so ill for the next four days he could not attend his son's funeral.
Mrs de Souza was eight months pregnant at the time and had to attend Richard's funeral on her own.
Both parents, counsel said, have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Richard's death. The experience of witnessing their son's deteriorating health and his death in circumstances in which it should not have happened overcame them both, it was claimed.
The de Souzas, with an address at Hollands Avenue, Athy, Co Kildare, sued the HSE for damages as a result of the wrongful death Richard on February 7, 2011, and for nervous shock suffered by them as a result.
The couple had brought their son to the A&E at about 4.27pm on February 6 and were seen by a triage nurse. It is claimed a doctor failed to admit Richard to the hospital for observation.