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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C

Widow settles 'substantial' action against HSE over husband's death

Liam Duggan died from septicaemia at the University Hospital Kerry in early 2017.

A TRALEE WOMAN spoke today of her battle to find answers regarding her husband’s death as she settled her action against the HSE for a “substantial” sum.

Liam Duggan, the late husband of Catherine Duggan and young father of two died from septicaemia at the University Hospital Kerry in early 2017.

On 18 March 2017, Liam presented to University Hospital Kerry complaining of abdominal pain with vomiting and diarrhoea. He was discharged on 3 April. Catherine Duggan’s lawyers said today that the HSE admitted that there was a breach of care in a failure to perform a repeat abdominal CT scan to investigate Liam Duggan’s condition before his discharge from hospital.

Fearghal Grimes, the general manager of University Hospital Kerry issued an apology to Catherine Duggan and her children on behalf of the HSE. “University Hospital Kerry would like to acknowledge the deficits of care which resulted in the untimely death of your husband and father, Liam”. 

“We recognise that this loss has had a profound and devastating effect on you and your family,” he added.

The court ruling today ends a four-year legal battle following the sudden death of Liam Duggan.

Catherine Duggan criticised the management of Liam’s care and said that the family had experienced a prolonged search for answers following his death.  “I hope by bringing awareness today that it might save someone else’s life,” she said outside the Four Courts this morning. 

She described the inquest as an “ordeal” and raised questions about the detail given at the inquest, saying that the experience “has been utterly devastating for me and my children”. 

“We have had to fight tooth and nail to bring justice for Liam who should have been in the prime of his life,” she added.

In August 2017, Catherine Duggan told Cork Coroner’s Court that her late husband Liam had been in good health until his sudden death earlier that year and had been teaching numerous children golf daily.

In the aftermath of the tragedy €32,000 was raised to help support the Duggan family.

Following Liam Duggan’s sudden death, Assistant State pathologist Margaret Bolster gave the cause of death as multiple organ failure due to septic shock due to colitis.

She said cases such as Liam Duggan’s normally involve clostridium difficile and that it was “extremely rare” that this was not present.

The HSE has been contacted for comment.

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