The family of a local man who was left blinded by a medical error while in the care of Beaumont hospital are to attempt to help him to move on with his life after being awarded €5.9million in the High Court last week.
Counsel for 49-year-old Brendan Doyle, who currently resides at Lawson House in Glenbrien, told the court that a shunt, which had been in Mr Doyle's brain since childhood, was removed when he was admitted to Beaumont Hospital in 2011, but had not been re-inserted. This had led to 'tragic consequences' resulting in him being left totally blind.
Denis McCullough SC said for his client, who has cerebral palsy and mild learning disabilities, it was the 'final straw' and he has lived in a nursing home ever since. Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said it was a sad incident and it had a catastrophic effect on Mr Doyle. He said the settlement will 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.
Brendan's brother John, who is from the Bunclody area, sued Beaumont Hospital on behalf of his brother over the circumstances of his care.
Mr Doyle had had the shunt inserted into his brain since childhood and on June 1, 2011, he was complaining of a headache and vomiting. He attended his local hospital before being referred to Beaumont. It was claimed that due to a suspicion Mr Doyle had sustained a shunt related infection, the brain shunt was removed a few days later and it was decided it was not necessary to re-establish the shunt.
Mr Doyle was discharged from Beaumont Hospital on June 10, 2011 with directions to continue antibiotic therapy and after a few days in his local hospital was discharged on June 16, 2011. It is claimed the next day he was back in the A&E of his local hospital complaining of increased weakness and he had a CT scan. He had another CT scan in July.
Mr Doyle who was complaining of headache was referred back to outpatients at Beaumont Hospital and in August, 2011 his case was reviewed and it is claimed the impression was formed that the man's condition was improving and another CT scan was recommended for December 2011.
In early September 2011, it is claimed Mr Doyle suffered loss of vision and was referred back to Beaumont Hospital where he underwent surgery. Notwithstanding the reinsertion of the brain shunt, Mr Doyle lost his eyesight.
In a statement read aloud by solicitor Michael Boylan outside the court, John Doyle said that the family felt aggrieved that liability was only admitted six and a half years later, in January of this year.
'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,' John's statement read.
He continued that Brendan had been very independent before the incident, using bus services independently, writing and enjoying lots of hobbies.
'Before this he required supervision only, rather than care,' John said. 'Brendan was an active and contributing member of his community.'
The family has said they now plan to provide Brendan with a purpose built home of his own and the 24-hour support he needs.
'We and Brendan would return every cent of this settlement were it to mean that he could see again,' John said. 'But we hope that with therapy and proper rehabilitation, Brendan will at least once again become an active member of his community and begin to enjoy life once more. We will leave Dublin now and return to Wexford to start putting arrangements in place so that Brendan will spend Christmas in a suitable home and can start the New Year with a care support package in place that will allow Brendan to surmount the challenges life has presented, as he has bravely done before.'