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High Court

Family of child who underwent 'botched' spinal surgery at Temple Street seek full medical records

Earlier this week, the family was provided with some, but not all of the material they sought from Children’s Health Ireland.

THE FAMILY OF a young girl who underwent allegedly “botched” spinal surgery at Temple Street Children’s Hospital have launched High Court proceedings in order to secure what they claim are all the child’s medical records.

The child’s family have sued Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), the body that governs paediatric services at Crumlin, Tallaght, Connolly and Temple Street hospitals, seeking an injunction requiring the defendant to provide the plaintiffs with all outstanding medical records, documentation and information sought.

The girl is one of 19 children who were the subject matter of a report on patients with Spina Bifida who underwent spiral surgery at Temple Street.

The court heard that the family of child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is seeking the discovery of documents and material surrounding her care following an operation she underwent last year at the hospital so it can be assessed by an independent expert.

They also seek the records as they consider what action to take over what they say they have been told was the inappropriate surgery performed on the child, and over the alleged delay in disclosing the errors to the family.

Earlier this week, the family was provided with some, but not all of the material they sought from the CHI.

They claim that important material was not furnished to them.

They have asked the court to make orders requiring the CHI to provide them with material including all management plans put in place for the child.

They also seek copies of a full risk assessment and notes prepared by the defendant regarding the clinical care provided by Temple Street and in relation to the surgeon who allegedly operated on the child, Dr Connor Green.

Represented in the proceedings by John Healy SC, Michael Devitt Bl and instructed by solicitors McGroddy Brennan, the child’s family also seeks an order compelling the defendant to immediately prepare a care plan for the child, and to appoint an agreed independent expert to review her.

The plaintiffs also seek a declaration from the court that it wrongly delayed in its provision of a full suite of medical records to the plaintiffs.

Post-operative complications

Counsel told the court that last year the girl underwent spinal surgery, despite being told that there was a 50% chance of further complications and death, in an attempt to enhance her quality of life.

The child suffered serious post-operative complications, and her parents were told she would require further surgical intervention.

Following media reports about spinal surgeries at Temple Street, the family claim they were informed by the defendant that the surgery their child underwent was “inappropriate”.

They were subsequently told that as a result of the “botched” surgery she has a split spine and will require further surgeries and procedures over the coming years.

Her family have been “devastated by this news” counsel said.

The family claim that the information they have been given has been drip fed to them, and say that the report last month about the spinal surgeries has “much to say about future governance at Temple Street”, but nothing to say on the clinical situation of the children affected.

Counsel said that the failure to put in place a treatment plan for the girl, given the complexity of her condition, was “a shocking omission”.

The matter came before Mr Justice Mark Sanfey today who noted that the circumstances that the girl and her family find themselves in are “extremely distressing”.

While the court had only heard from one side in the dispute, what was being sought by the plaintiffs appeared to be “very significant pieces of information”.

The judge, on an ex-parte basis, granted the applicants permission to serve short notice of the injunction application on the defendant.

The matter will return before the High Court next week.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

Aodhan O Faolain