Barrister brings action against Beacon Hospital over alleged treatment refusal

6 September 2022

A barrister has brought High Court proceedings over an alleged refusal by the Beacon Hospital to allow him to get any treatment at the private medical facility.

The action has been brought by Alan Toal BL, who has been a patient at the Beacon for more than a decade where he has been treated and undergone several significant surgeries for spinal and nerve complaints which have seriously impacted on his health.

He has commenced legal proceedings against the Beacon Medical Group, Sandyford Limited, Beacon Hospital Sandyford Limited and Mr Michael Cullen, the chief executive of the Beacon Hospital, aimed at overturning their decision not to allow him to undergo any further treatment at their facility.

Mr Toal claimed that last June when he was due to attend his treating physician at the Beacon, he was informed that the hospital had decided not to make an appointment with him.

He claimed that the decision was taken by Mr Cullen and was made without any prior warning to either him or his treating medical consultant doctor.

He said no proper explanation, nor right of appeal, has been given to him by the defendants.

Following correspondence between Mr Toal’s solicitor and the defendants’ solicitor, Mr Toal said he was informed that his treatment was not proceeding due to “various behaviours whilst a patient at the hospital”.

Mr Toal said he was also informed the defendants were “under no obligation whatsoever” to provide him with “an explanation as to the basis of the decision made”.

Mr Toal categorically denied that he engaged in any sort of behaviour that would warrant his barring from the hospital by the chief executive, adding that he does not know what the defendants mean by the term “various behaviours”.

His treating consultant Prof Turlough O Donnell has no problem providing ongoing treatment to Mr Toal, and has no issues with the plaintiff, the court also heard.

Mr Toal said he wants to continue to be provided with the excellent care given to him at the Beacon by Prof O’Donnell and his team.

Mr Toal, who is represented by Michael Francis Forde instructed by solicitor John Geary, is an experienced litigator in many fields of law.

He claimed the decision may be linked to the fact that Mr Toal represented a consultant doctor who had worked at the Beacon, who had taken legal proceedings against the hospital.

The court heard Mr Toal had recently been seriously assaulted by a dangerous known criminal, who is the subject of a garda manhunt and investigation, which he says resulted in him sustaining injuries and exacerbated his existing pain.

He said this incident requires further investigation by Prof O’Donnell and his team.

He said it was also suggested by the Beason that he could attend at Prof O’Donnell in Kilkenny, where he also sees patients.

However, this was not something Mr Toal could do for a variety of health and personal security reasons, the court heard.

In his proceedings against the defendants, Mr Toal seeks various orders including one restraining the defendants from taking any steps from barring Mr Toal from receiving treatment at the hospital and to cease interfering with his medical-patient relationship with Prof O’Donnell.

At the High Court on Tuesday, Ms Justice Siobhan Stack said she was not prepared to grant any temporary injunction against the defendants at this stage of the proceedings.

The judge directed that the application for any injunctions should be adjourned and made in the presence of defendants’ lawyers when the matter returns before the court in two weeks’ time.

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