De Souza –v- HSE [2013]

On the 8th May 2013 Burns Nowlan Solicitors , in the High Court Dublin, succeeded in settling a wrongful death action on behalf of the parents of an eight year old boy, Richard de Souza,  who died as a result of a Sepsis infection on the 7th February 2011.

On the 6th February 2011 Mr and Mrs de Souza, originally from Brazil but living in Ireland since 2002,  attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise Co. Laois with their son Richard.  Richard had contracted chicken pox the previous Tuesday. On arrival at the hospital the his parents, the Plaintiffs in the High Court proceedings, were concerned about a large swelling under Richard’s left arm which was hot to touch.  Although Richard was examined by a doctor on duty the doctor failed to admit Richard and sent the family home with a prescription for antibiotics.

That night Richard displayed signs of  thirst while he was in bed and kept requesting drinks of water.  At approximately 3 a.m. on the 7th. February Richard became delirious and very cold. At 10.30 a.m. Richard lost consciousness. Richard’s mother rang an ambulance and on its arrival the medical staff found that Richard was in cardiac arrest. Richard was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital, where although certain medical procedures were carried out, he was declared dead at 1.54 p.m. on the 7th February 2011.

It was the parents case, as Plaintiffs, that had Richard been admitted on the 6th February 2011 to the Midland Regional Hospital and placed on a ward for observation the fact that he was deteriorating would have been apparent from an early stage and appropriate interventions could have resulted. In addtition it was submitted on their behalf that had Richaer been admitted and placed under observation it was likely that he would have received the intensive therapy he needed and this coupled with correct antibiotic administration could have saved his life.

The Plaintiffs received an apology from the Midland Regional Hospital and the sum of €160,000.00 in compensation,  of which the sum of  €25,400  [the maximum permitted by law] related to the loss of Richard’s life. The remainder of the settlement is for the nervous shock suffered by the parents and their family. Judge Mary Irvine, in approving the settlement, acknowledged that the statutory award of €25,400 for loss of life was very small but stated that it is the only amount set by the Government for such circumstances. Judge Irvine expressed her sincerest sympathies to the family on their very sad and tragic loss.






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