A 94-year-old Sligo woman who was given seven times more than the prescribed dose of radiation at a Dublin hospital has settled her High Court case for €850,000.
Bridget Henry, from Ardminane, Killavil, Ballymote, Co Sligo, was attending St Luke's Hospital in Rathgar for treatment for a lump on her lip when she was given the excessive dose of radiation.
The court heard Ms Henry was living independently and was a generally fit woman before she went for the radiotherapy treatment.RTÉ
reports that her counsel, Des O'Neil, said she later had a stroke, is now cognitively impaired and cannot live independently.
Through her son Charles Henry, she sued the Health Service Executive over the provision of an excessive dose of radiation therapy at St Luke's Hospital on 16 January 2017.
The court heard that Ms Henry had been generally fit and healthy woman for her 93 years and was independent with no cognitive dysfunction.
She enjoyed cooking and gardening, did all her housework and shopping, and would regularly make meals for her children and grandchildren.
In the summer of 2016 she was referred by her GP to hospital after she got a lump on her right lower lip.
After tests, it was decided that she have radiotherapy treatment at St Luke's Hospital Rathgar.Five sessions
The plan was that Ms Henry would receive a dose of radiotherapy in five sessions and she attended on 16 January 2017 to get the first dose.However, instead of receiving the correct dose she received a dose seven times greater.
Ms Henry's lip and mouth became extremely ulcerated and painful as a result of the excessive radiation and she required morphine for pain control.
She was also unable to eat solid foods and became dehydrated.Stroke
In February 2017, it was noted Ms Henry had become confused and agitated and a CT scan established she had suffered a stroke.
It was claimed on the balance of probabilities the stroke arose as a result of her weakened condition following the radiation overdose.
It was also claimed there was a failure to have the radiotherapy set up overseen and supervised by staff of significant skill and experience and that the wrong size applicator had been used.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told liability was admitted in the case.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross wished the family well in the future caring for their mother.
In a statement, the Henrys’ solicitor Sinead Travers said Ms Henry is now completely dependent and requires around the clock care.
"She suffered life changing injuries. Shortly after the event she suffered a stroke and consequently the independence she cherished with such vigour, enthusiasm and energy is no more," Ms Travers said.
"To say that Ms Henry and her immediate family have been shattered by these events is an understatement."
She said the family are pleased that Ms Henry's future care needs are provided for in the settlement.