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High Court Awards Compensation to Family of Man Left in a Coma

The High Court has awarded €550,000 in compensation to the family of a man who was left in a coma due to the failure of medical staff to correctly diagnose his organ failure.

In 2011, Robert Bolton-who was seventy-one at the time of the incident-underwent an operation on his oesophagus. The procedure was initially determined a success. However, the next day, he suffered from respiratory failure and had a heart attack.

He was immediately transferred to intensive care by medical staff. Robert’s condition continued to deteriorate. Because of his sepsis, Robert suffered from a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, leaving him in a coma. Since 2011, Robert has only been minimal consciousness on a small handful of occasions.

Robert’s wife, Angela, sought legal counsel to seek compensation for her husband’s injuries. She was concerned about the care her husband received during and after his operation, as well as during his stay in the intensive care unit at the hospital. She proceeded to make a claim against the hospital for their failure to diagnose her husband’s organ failure. She claimed that the medical staff who were responsible for her husband did not adequately diagnose Robert’s sepsis. Furthermore, they did not adhere to the criteria of systemic inflammatory response.

The defendants-the hospital at which Robert underwent the procedure-denied full liability for his injuries. However, they did admit partial liability regarding the substandard level of care Robert received at the facility.

The two legal teams began to negotiated the terms of the compensation settlement that would be offered to Robert.  An interim settlement of compensation amounting to €550,000 was determined to be adequate for the level of injuries sustained. This figure would pay for two years’ worth of the specialist care Robert now requires.

However, as the claim was being made on behalf of someone unable to represent themselves in court, the settlement had to be approved by the High Court. The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge heard of how the hospital’s alleged failings lead to the deterioration of Robert’s condition and how it has impacted his family.

Though Angela assured Judge Cross that no amount of money would compensate for what happened to her husband, although she added the it would act as a reassurance that he was getting adequate care. The judge approved the settlement before commenting that it was the result of hard bargaining. He finished by wishing Angela and her family the best for the future.

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