Woman Receives Compensation for Cardiac Arrest due to Medical Negligence, Despite No Admission of Liability

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A woman has received compensation for cardiac arrest due to medical negligence after she received incorrect chemotherapy treatment, despite the HSE offering no admission of liability.

In November 2010, Pauline Carroll (65), of Mountmellick in County Laois, attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore for a consultation on the progress of her cancer treatment. She had undergone surgery on a tumour earlier in the year and started undergoing chemotherapy treatment in August 2010.

However, instead of consulting with a doctor first, Pauline was immediately started on another session of chemotherapy. When the doctor saw Pauline an hour later, he informed her that the treatment should not have been started because her white cell count was 1.07, even though it should have reached at least 1.5 before she was subjected to a further course of chemotherapy.

Two days later following this incident, Pauline suffered a cardiac arrest at her home. She was taken to hospital where she suffered a second cardiac arrest, causing her to suffer brain damage. Pauline is now in a permanent vegetative state and is cared for around the clock in a specialist nursing home.

On his wife´s behalf, Kevin Carroll claimed compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence – alleging that the treatment should not have been administered before Pauline had seen the doctor, particularly when it was known that she had suffered cardiac pain three months earlier and the chemotherapy drugs she had been treated with were cardiotoxic.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) denied liability for Pauline´s injury – arguing that there was no connection between the administration of the chemotherapy and Pauline´s cardiac arrest and brain damage. However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that the HSE had agreed to a settlement of compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence without an admission of liability.

According to details of the settlement, Pauline will receive €975,000 compensation for a cardiac arrest due to medical negligence and the state will pay for her care for as long as she lives. Judge Cross approved the settlement, commenting it was a “very good legal outcome for what has been an unfortunate and tragic outcome”.

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