Eye surgeon loses bid to access hospital theatre in lockdown dispute

Eye Surgeon Loses Bid To Access Hospital Theatre In Lockdown Dispute
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Ray Managh

A specialist eye surgeon has failed in a High Court bid to restrain the Beacon Hospital from suspending his access to theatre facilities following a row that broke out between the parties during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Mr Justice Robert Eager said there were so many disputes within the evidence of both the hospital and the consultant that the court would fall short of saying there was a degree of assurance the consultant would succeed at a full trial.

Mark Cahill, consultant ophthalmologist and surgeon, had claimed the suspension of his theatre facilities had prevented him from providing his patients with essential cataract surgery and time-dependent eye injections which needed to be administered under sedation or general anaesthetic.


Michael Cullen, the Beacon’s CEO, claimed Dr Cahill could have carried out essential surgical treatments at the Blackrock clinic and at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital where he also practises. He alleged Dr Cahill had refused to engage with management regarding patient complaints.


Judge Eager said it would appear that Dr Cahill failed or omitted to engage at every effort of the CEO to discuss his conduct which was now the subject matter of an inquiry. Dr Cahill’s conduct and lack of candour was a factor considered with particular regard to his having cancelled his appointments from April 1st and his lack of meaningful engagement with the hospital.

It appeared to the court that the hospital’s chief executive officer had strong powers over the medical staff and the question of whether Mr Cullen had acted outside his powers by restricting Dr Cahill’s privileges was an issue to be addressed by the judge at a full trial.

In weighing up the evidence presented to the court it was of the view that Dr Cahill had not succeeded in persuading the court he had a strong, clear case that was likely to succeed at trial.


Judge Eager said Dr Cahill was in effect seeking an order restraining the hospital from continuing a summary suspension of his theatre facilities at the hospital which had been imposed with immediate effect from June 23rd last.

“Clearly if this matter comes to trial it will be a substantial case and the issues of conflict which appear to exist will have to be the subject matter of cross-examination,” Judge Eager said.

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