Hospital apologises for shortcomings in care provided to man who suffered brain haemorrhage

South Tipperary General Hospital has apologised in the High Court for the shortcomings in the care it provided to a father of five, who was sent home from hospital on three occasions after he had complained of headaches, but died later of a brain haemorrhage.

The hospital says it has now drafted and implemented a headache protocol following the tragic death of 28-year old Evan Morrissey.

Evan Morrissey presented at the Tipperary hospital three times in three weeks complaining of severe headaches.

Migraine was diagnosed and he was sent home, but on the fourth occasion a CT scan identified an acute right frontal lobe cerebral haemorrhage.

Mr Morrissey was transferred to another hospital where another scan showed a brain aneurysm.

Mr Morrissey suffered cardiac arrest and had to be intubated and resuscitated but was pronounced brain dead on March 22, 2014.

The apology from South Tipperary General Hospital was read in court as part of the settlement of an action by the partner of Evan Morrissey, Gwen Bradley and their five children over his death three years ago.

Evan Morrissey and Gwen Bradley

Ms Bradley was pregnant with the couple's fifth child at the time of her partner's death.

The apology issued by the general manager of South Tipperary General Hospital, Maria Barry expressed heartfelt sympathies and condolences on behalf of the hospital management and staff.

"The managers and staff of the hospital apologise sincerely for the shortcomings in the care which it provided to the late Evan Morrissey.

The Hospital accepts responsibility for the tragic death and for the heartache and distress suffered by his family as a result of his death," the statement read.

It added: "Since this tragic death the Hospital has drafted and implemented a headache protocol, which contains a checklist dealing with a patient who re-attends the hospital complaining of headaches. "

Ms Bradley's Senior Counsel Pat Treacy , instructed by Cian O'Carroll solicitor told the court a separate action brought by Ms Bradley for nervous shock over the death of her partner has also been settled. The terms of both settlement are confidential.

Gwen Bradley, Fr Matthew Crescent, New Inn, Cashel Co Tipperary had sued the HSE over the care given to her partner Evan Morrissey at South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel in 2014.

She had claimed Mr Morrissey was caused to be fatally injured as a result of the failure to carry out a lumbar puncture - which would have diagnosed a subarachnoid haemorrhage as a result of an aneurysm - on the occasions Mr Morrissey presented to the hospital.

On the balance of probabilities, it was claimed Mr Morrissey would have been successfully treated for his aneurysm had a lumbar puncture been carried out in time.

The HSE admitted liability in the case.

Pat Treacy SC for Ms Bradley said Mr Morrissey presented to the hospital A&E on March 2, 2014 with the sudden onset of severe headaches.

Counsel said there was a failure to investigate and to carry out a CT scan and a lumbar puncture.

Mr Morrissey was discharged from hospital but went there again on March 6 with a letter from his GP saying the headaches were at the top of the head.

Mr Morrissey was admitted and had a CT scan which was reported as normal, but Counsel said this was a false negative for subarachnoid haemorrhage and Mr Morrissey was discharged.

On a third occasion on March 10, Mr Treacy said Mr Morrissey's headaches had deteriorated and he was vomiting.

A lumbar puncture was scheduled but not carried out. Mr Morrissey was discharged from hospital three days later with a diagnosis of migraine.

On March 18, Mr Morrissey returned to the hospital and reported episodes of vomiting. He had a CT scan which identified an acute frontal lobe cerebral haemorrhage.

He was immediately transferred to another hospital but he suffered a cardiac arrest on March 19 and had to be resuscitated and intubate.

He was pronounced brain dead on March 22, 2014.

Approving the settlements, Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with Ms Bradley and the extended Morrissey family on their sad loss.


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