Compensation for Late Diagnosis of Brain Tumour Approved in High Court

22 November 2012

A young student, who was left severely disabled after an alleged delay in diagnosing a tumour, has had a settlement of compensation for the late diagnosis of a brain tumour approved at the High Court.

Seamus Walshe Jnr (27) of Taylor´s Hill, Galway, was a third-level construction studies student when – in 2006 – he started experiencing problems with his eyes when gazing upwards. His symptoms deteriorated to include nausea and vomiting and, when Seamus attended the Galway University Hospital, he was told after a neurological examination that there was no problem.

Seamus´ symptoms continued and, as the tumour in his brain grew and spread into surrounding tissues, he experienced increasing levels of pain and discomfort. After a subsequent scan at Galway University Hospital revealed the tumour, Seamus was referred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where he underwent surgery in May 2007.

However, complications during surgery resulted in haemorrhaging around the brain tumour and Seamus was in intensive care for nine weeks after his operation. Eventually he was transferred back to Galway University Hospital in November 2007 and then to the National Rehabilitation Centre in September 2008 – by which time Seamus was confined to wheelchair, had severe spasticity of the limbs and severe disorder of eye movements.

Through his father – Seamus Walshe Snr – Seamus made a claim against the Health Service Executive and the Beaumont Hospital for compensation for the late diagnosis of a brain tumour, alleging that had scans been ordered when he first attended the Galway University Hospital, he would have been referred to the Beaumont Hospital much sooner.

It was also claimed that the Beaumont Hospital had elected to perform surgery rather than treat the tumour with radiotherapy and chemotherapy although the latter treatment had long-term survival rates of up to 90 percent.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court was told that a settlement of compensation for the late diagnosis of a brain tumour amounting to 2.5 million Euros had been agreed without admission of liability to cover Seamus´ care for the next three years. Thereafter periodic payments would provide for Seamus´ care should legislation be introduced in time.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement but stated there was no guarantee that periodic payments legislation will be introduced within three years as there has been a “deathly silence” from the Government on the matter.

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