Woman who had to have kidney removed three years after hysterectomy operation awarded €260k

By Ann O'Loughlin

A 47-year-old woman who had pain after a hysterectomy operation and later had to have a kidney removed has been awarded €260,000 by the High Court.

Margaret Browne, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said, underwent a hysterectomy operation seven years ago and sutures were placed in the ureter leading to the left kidney which caused a total obstuction of the ureter.

The judge said the blockage was not identified until a month later and in the years that followed Ms Browne experienced severe pain and discomfort and in 2013 her left kidney was removed.

Ms Browne, of Co Waterford had sued gynaecologist Peter Van Geene who carried out the hysterectomy operation on April 6, 2010, and Mount Carmel Medical Group (Kilkenny) Ltd, trading as Aut Even Hosptial, Kilkenny.

Mr Justice Barr said liability was not in issue in the case.

The judge said Ms Browne's case was she continued to experience significant sequelea as a result of the negligent hysterectomy operation and subsequent investigations and procedures carried out in the years after, culminating in the removal of her left kidney in 2013.

Ms Browne's main complaint, the judge said, is of an unstable bladder and she claimed whe was disabled in the work aspects of her life.

Margaret Browne leaving the Four Courts today. Pic: Collins Courts

The defendants, the judge said, accepted Ms Browne suffered a significant injury as a result of the negligence of Mr Van Geene when carrying out the hysterectomy operation in 2010, and that she was subjected to a number of invasive treatments and tests in the three-year period until the kidney removal operation.

The main point of dispute in the case, the judge said, was whether Ms Browne had significant ongoing complaints after the kidney removal operation.

The other side, the judge said, contended Ms Browne had gone on to make a good physical recovery and said she set up an online clothing business which continued until November 2016 and had a clothes shop on the quay in Waterford from January 2014 to July 2015.

Ms Browne, it was claimed, had also entered a dancing competition in 2015 and was engaged in organising a fashion show in 2015, but had pulled out because of an ongoing knee injury.

Mr Justice Barr said the court was satisfied Ms Browne was incapable of working from April 2010 to December 2013.

Referring to Facebook posts in relation to her clothing business, Sparkle Closet, the judge said it was a reasonably sophiisticated online business and it was clear Browne was actively engaged in the business particulary in 2015 and 2016.

The material on the Facebook page, Mr Justice Barr said, did not indicate it was a low-key operation which was more of a hobby than a business.

The judge said he was satisfied that, while Ms Browne had considerable ongoing problems during 2014, by the following year things seemed to have changed substantially and he was not satisfied the closure of the online business at the end of last year was due to any disability on the part of Ms Browne.

However, the judge accepted Ms Browne is somewhat disabled in work aspects at present and will remain so until further treatment is carried out.

After the judgment was handed down in the High Court today, Mr Justice Barr was told that €450,000 had been lodged in court in advance of the case. This matter and costs will be decided next week.

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