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Man (49) who lost sight after hospital brain op error awarded €5.9m

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Brendan Doyle, who has cerebral palsy, has been awarded a settlement that will look after him for life, the High Court said. Photo: Collins

Brendan Doyle, who has cerebral palsy, has been awarded a settlement that will look after him for life, the High Court said. Photo: Collins

Brendan Doyle, who has cerebral palsy, has been awarded a settlement that will look after him for life, the High Court said. Photo: Collins

A 49-year-old man who sued over his care at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has settled his High Court action for €5.9m.

A shunt that had been in Brendan Doyle's brain since childhood was removed when he was admitted to Beaumont in 2011 but not reinserted, the court heard.

It had "tragic consequences" and Mr Doyle is blind, his counsel Denis McCullough said.

It was the "final straw", counsel said, and Mr Doyle, who has cerebral palsy and mild learning disabilities, has lived in a nursing home ever since.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a sad incident and it had a catastrophic effect on Mr Doyle.

He said the settlement would look after Mr Doyle for the rest of his life.

He noted the hospital had admitted liability and had taken a reasonable approach in relation to the future accommodation needs of Mr Doyle, who will now be able to move out of the nursing home.

Mr Doyle, of Lawson House, Glenbrien, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, sued Beaumont Hospital through his brother, John, over the circumstances of his care.

It was claimed that on June 1, 2011, he complained of a headache and vomiting. He went to his local hospital in Wexford, where he had a CT scan, and was referred to Beaumont.

It was claimed that, because of a suspicion that Mr Doyle had sustained a shunt-related infection, the brain shunt was removed a few days later.

It was decided it was not necessary to re-establish the shunt.

Aggrieved

Mr Doyle was discharged from Beaumont on June 10, 2011, with directions to continue antibiotic therapy. After a few days in his local hospital, he was discharged on June 16, 2011.

The next day, he went back to his local hospital complaining of increased weakness. He had a CT scan, followed by another in July.

Mr Doyle was referred back to outpatients at Beaumont and, in August 2011, his case was reviewed.

It was claimed that the impression was formed that Mr Doyle's condition was improving and another CT scan was recommended for December 2011.

In early September 2011, he suffered loss of vision, it was claimed, and was referred back to Beaumont where he underwent surgery.

Notwithstanding the reinsertion of the brain shunt, Mr Doyle lost his eyesight.

In a statement read outside the court by solicitor Michael Boylan, John Doyle said the family felt aggrieved that liability had only been admitted in January this year, six-and-a-half years after the incident.

"Brendan has wasted almost seven years of his life in a nursing home with no effective rehabilitation programme, surrounded by elderly patients and having to wait for a call bell to be answered just so he can use the bathroom," the statement read.

"Before this he required supervision only, rather than care. Brendan was an active and contributing member of his community."


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