The family of a 47-year-old man who collapsed and later died while on a hospital waiting list for surgery has settled a High Court action over his care.
Farmer Patrick Doyle had been on a waiting list for several months to have his gallbladder removed when he collapsed six years ago.
In the High Court on Tuesday, St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny gave an unreserved apology to the Doyle family for the “hospital’s failings in respect of the care of the late Patrick Doyle.”
The apology from the general manager Anne Slattery added: “We deeply regret these failings and acknowledge the sadness, distress and loss these failings have caused you and your family.”
The hospital also offered sincere condolences to the Doyle family.
Mr Doyle from Killeshin, Co Carlow, who had a history of gallstones was in September 2016 given a primary diagnosis of gallstone pancreatitis which was resolving and had his case marked as urgent.
He was booked in November 2016 for a gallbladder removal and a laparoscopy, but while still on the waiting list in March 2017, he collapsed and was readmitted to St Luke’s Hospital with severe upper abdominal pain.
The Doyle family counsel Oonah McCrann SC, instructed by Marian Fogarty of Cantillons Solicitors, said Mr Doyle was a “a much loved brother and uncle”. Counsel said his condition in the Kilkenny hospital deteriorated and he was transferred to a Dublin hospital. He spent in all 90 days in ICU, but died on June 20th, 2017.
Liability was admitted in the case, and the settlement, the terms of which are confidential, was reached after mediation.
In a statement outside court, Mr Doyle’s sister Lillie Collins, who had brought the case against the Health Service Executive (HSE) on behalf of the Doyle family, said it was the family’s hope that lessons “will be learnt by the hospital regarding delays in treatment of gallstone pancreatitis in patients particularly given the fatal consequences that can occur”.
She added: “We hope our story will spread awareness on this issue as we do not wish another family to go through the harrowing ordeal that we have suffered following the needless loss of our much loved brother.”
She said her family had been reassured by the Kilkenny hospital that Mr Doyle’s condition was not serious. She said at later stage noticing his further deterioration they requested he be transferred to a Dublin hospital.
Mr Doyle’s sister Lillie Collins of Dalystown, Loughrea, Co Galway had sued the HSE over the care her brother received at St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny after he went there in September 2016.
Mr Doyle while on the waiting list for the gallbladder removal collapsed and was admitted back to the Kilkenny hospital on March 7th, 2017 with severe abdominal pain.
On the same day he was diagnosed with pancreatitis due to gallstones. Necrotising pancreatitis was diagnosed after a scan later that day.
Later his condition deteriorated, and he was admitted to ICU on March 20th, 2017. He was noted to have blurred vision and difficulty sleeping.
Two days later he was transferred to a Dublin hospital ICU where he was noted to have necrotising pancreatitis, septic shock and an acute kidney injury.
He remained in that hospital ICU and was ventilated, intubated and sedated.
On April 22nd, 2017, Mr Doyle’s haemoglobin was noted to be grossly abnormal and he died two months later on June 20th, 2017.
In the proceedings it was claimed there was a there was a failure to follow guidelines for the management of gallstone pancreatitis during Mr Doyle’s Kilkenny hospital admission in September 2016.
It was also claimed there was a failure to carry out the gallbladder removal in September 2016 and another failure to ensure an urgent booking was made in November 2016 for the operation and a failure to ensure it took place within a month of that date.