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HSE took 7 years to say sorry to Frances

THE HSE has apologised to the family of a nine-year-old girl who died within two days of being discharged from hospital -- seven years after the tragedy.

Frances Sheridan died before an ambulance reached Cavan General Hospital in 2004.

Less than 48 hours earlier, she had gone to the A&E unit with abdominal pains having had her appendix out some three weeks earlier.

Her parents Brian and Rosemary Sheridan, of New Line, Cootehill, Co Cavan, sued the the North Eastern Health Board (now the HSE), claiming negligence and a breach of their duty of care towards Frances.

The Sheridans were seeking damages for the wrongful death of Frances in February 2004 and for the nervous shock they claimed they suffered.

At the High Court yesterday, Justice John Quirke was informed that the family's actions had been settled. The full details of those settlement were not revealed.

In its apology, the HSE said it wished to apologise sincerely to the Sheridan family "for the various failings in the treatment and care" afforded to Frances by Cavan General Hospital which resulted in her untimely and tragic death.

The HSE and the hospital also offered their deepest condolences and regret to the Sheridans for the loss of Frances and for the grief and distress suffered by the family and community.

Counsel for the family Eoin McGonigal told the court that Frances' death was "very painful and tragic" for her family.

Counsel said that after the appendix operation on January 7, Frances returned to school. On January 30, she was brought by her mother to A&E with severe abdominal pain, and was very distressed. Counsel said that Frances was examined and X-rayed. She was discharged that evening although she was still ill.


Frances returned home, but her condition deteriorated during the early hours of February 1. An ambulance was called but she was pronounced dead on arrival. The family suffered further when the initial inquest said Frances's death was due to natural causes.

The Attorney General ordered a second inquest, which ruled she died of medical misadventure. State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said Frances died from complications of the appendix op. Further surgery could have remedied the situation.