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Family Receive Compensation for Wrongful Death of Family Member Due to Dehydration

The family of a woman who wrongfully died in the care of the HSE due to  her dehydration not being properly treated has been awarded compensation in the High Court.

In 2010, Eileen Brady (65) had been admitted to the Cavan General Hospital. Easier that day, she had visited her GP after complaining of mouth ulcers. Her GP had diagnosed that her mouth ulcers were attributable to a poor fluid intake, and referred her to seek emergency medical attention at the hospital. 

At the time of admittance to Cavan General Hospital, Eileen was already undergoing chemotherapy in Dublin for stomach cancer. Due to her veins collapsing as a result of chemotherapy, the dehydration treatment she received at Cavan General Hospital was ineffective. She died the day after being admitted to hospital.

An investigation was launched into Eileen’s death. A report concluded that medical experts determined that Eileen´s death due to organ failure. Furthermore, the experts said that the death could have been prevented had medical staff at the hospital paid closer attention to Eileen´s medical chart. They also noted that had medical staff consulted senior doctors when Eileen´s condition continued to deteriorate, or spoken with specialists in Dublin who were treating Eileen for cancer, Eileen would have received better care.

Following the investigation, Eileen´s son – Martin Brady from Crosskeys in County Cavan – sought legal counsel and made a medical negligence dehydration claim for compensation against the Cavan General Hospital and HSE. He alleged that he and other members of the Brady family had suffered mental distress due to their mother´s tragic and avoidable death.

The HSE admitted liability, and the medical negligence dehydration claim was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. However, as part of the settlement, the family wanted a public apology read to them in court. Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine instructed barristers representing the HSE to read the apology.

The statement said that the hospital and HSE apologised for the failings in their duty of care which resulted in Eileen´s death, and the grief and stress that had been suffered by her family and friends as a result. Responding on behalf of the family, Aidan Brady said he hoped both Cavan General Hospital and the HSE had learned from “the grave mistakes” made in the care of his mother. After the statements were read, Ms Justice Mary Irvine extended her personal sympathy to Eileen´s family and wished them well for the future.

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