Case Studies: Healthcare

Deep-Sea Diver Recovers £500,000 Damages For Poor Medical Care

A deep sea saturation diver who contended he was unable to follow his career by reason of negligent medical care has recovered £500,000 damages plus costs pursuant to litigation against the treating Hospital, Patrick Mullarkey, solicitor with conduct, reports.

O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors were instructed to act on behalf of this patient who attended Hospital in early January 2017 pursuant to an injury to his little finger which was sustained whilst undertaking DIY work.  Unfortunately, the treatment he received in relation to his injury was substandard, and in particular there was a failure to properly manage the fracture at the time of an attendance at a Fracture Clinic ten days after his emergency department attendance.  This resulted in a substandard outcome necessitating two further operations to the finger, an osteotomy to correct malrotation, and, more recently, a procedure to remove the metalwork from the finger as a consequence of infection.

Due to the substandard care, the Plaintiff has been left with a deficit in his finger and hand.  He suffered a reduction in movement in the left little finger and a reduction in grip strength.  The Plaintiff also reported cold sensitivity in the little finger which caused him to experience pain and stiffness whilst engaged in his occupation.  In addition to the physical injury sustained, the Plaintiff also reported upset and distress by reason of the impact upon him.

At the time of the injury, the Plaintiff worked as a saturation diver, was involved in commercial diving, principally in the maintenance of marine equipment associated with the oil industry.  Due to the symptoms he experienced, the Plaintiff contended that he was unable to follow that career as he was unable to undertake the work, and because the injury gave rise to a health and safety risk both for himself and for fellow divers.

The Plaintiff approached O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors in November 2018.   Pursuant to his instructions, we conducted an investigation of the claim, obtaining medical evidence relating to the quality of care provided to the Plaintiff and liability evidence from an expert in diving to address the issues which arose in respect of health and safety and job capability.  Proceedings were issued on behalf of the Plaintiff, with liability in relation to the negligent care being eventually conceded on the eve of the hearing.  Damages were agreed on the first day of the hearing as the Plaintiff’s legal team prepared to open the case.

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