FOURTH DEGREE TEAR CASE SETTLES ON THE STEPS OF THE COURT
Posted in News on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022
Karen Kearney, Ernest Cantillon and assisted by Tricia Sisk and April Wiseman of the Medical Negligence Team at Cantillons Solicitors were delighted to settle this case recently on the day the case was due to commence hearing in the High Court in Dublin for some two weeks. The case had been fully defended right to the end and the Defendant’s expert’s report commissioned by the Defendant’s Solicitors denied negligence. On the eve of the trial, an offer was made which we rejected on behalf of our client. Ultimately the case settled, just as we had been assigned a Judge and were about to open the case to the Court, for double the amount that had been offered the previous day. Our client’s trust in us paid off.
Unfortunately, however, the way this case was fully defended added hugely to our client’s stress throughout her case which took just under 6 years to be finalised (this is the average length of time, in my experience, that a medical negligence case takes to process from start to finish, where a case is fully defended. However, some can be expedited in certain circumstances such as where the Plaintiff is elderly or ill) .
In this particular case, our client sustained horrific injuries during her delivery of her first child, by way of forceps. She was aged 33 at the time and had an uneventful, normal pregnancy. Due to the negligence of the delivering doctor, our client sustained a fourth degree perineal tear and three distinct types of pelvic floor injuries.
Whilst the perineal tear was immediately identified and repaired, the pelvic floor injuries were not and were in fact only identified very recently by a urogynaecology expert instructed by this firm. Unfortunately, the injuries that our client has sustained are permanent and will in fact worsen with age.
Perineal tear cases are notoriously difficult to successful prosecute. We were delighted to have been able to do so and to help our client secure a very significant and much deserved six figure sum. We were ably assisted by world renowned experts from whom we commissioned reports and expert Counsel (Oonah McCrann SC, Elaine Morgan SC and Will Reidy BL).
I think it speak volumes of our client, that after all that she had been through, she asked me after she had settled her case what would happen to the doctor who performed the forceps delivery and that she really hoped that he would not lose his job. I reassured her that he would not and that one would hope that he would never make the same mistake that he had made, in performing her forceps delivery. There is no doubt that no doctor sets out to make a mistake and that this litigation must have been difficult for this doctor too (though of course he, and the hospital (under the umbrella of the HSE) in which he performed the delivery are indemnified by the State Claims Agency (SCA). It is my view that the doctor’s distress, and certainly our client’s distress, could have been alleviated if the SCA had taken a different approach to defending this case rather than the defend and deny approach they took. Our client would regularly ask me throughout this litigation process how much she would owe if she lost her case. I could tell this fear consumed her and lost her many a night’s sleep. Our client’s obstetric expert recognised the negligence immediately. The Defendant’s obstetric expert stated that there was no negligence and thus, there was a direct conflict between them. We discussed the Defendant’s expert report with our client’s obstetric expert and he was of the view that the Defendant’s expert was being “difficult with the truth”. Unfortunately, we see this time and time again, where the negligence is (or should be) blatantly obvious, but yet some members of the medical profession here in Ireland are prepared to write reports defending the indefensible. This mindset serves no-one well – not our client, the doctor who made the mistake, or the taxpayer who is left to foot the bill.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 4275673 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. Many Personal Injury Solicitors portray themselves as “no win no fee Solicitors Cork”. This term can be misleading and it is essential that you discuss fees with the Personal Injury Solicitor you ultimately choose. At Cantillons Solicitors, we are entirely transparent.