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Family of deceased man left paralysed after surgery awarded €35k in case against HSE

The family of Donegal man Brian McElhinney had its settlement approved in the High Court today.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE HIGH COURT has approved a €35,000 payout to the family of a retired building contractor Brian McElhinney who had sued the HSE over injuries allegedly sustained following a medical procedure he underwent months before his death.

McElhinney, a father and grandfather from Station Road, Glenties, Co Donegal died at home on 20 December 2014.

His widow Rosaleen, on her own behalf, and behalf of her late husbands dependents sued the HSE which she claimed had caused his death to be accelerated due to negligence.

The court heard that he had been diagnosed as having conditions including Myelofibrosis, which is an uncommon type of bone marrow cancer that disrupts your body’s normal production of blood cells.

It was claimed that in July 2014, McElhinney underwent a procedure using a needle to take a sample from his back known as a lumbar puncture at Letterkenny University Hospital, in Co Donegal.

It was claimed that after the needle was removed from his spine he experienced excruciating pain resulting in him being paralysed from the waist down.

As a result he was never able to walk independently again, and suffered other serious medical complications.

He was eventually released from Letterkenny Hopsital in late August 2014, several weeks after undergoing the procedure, and died the following December.

While the cause of death was due to his underlying conditions, its was alleged that his death was significantly hastened by the effects of the lumbar punture and the alleged failure to treat it.

His widow and their family, represented in court by Alistair Rutherdale Bl, were greatly distressed and upset by the manner of McElhinney’s death and claim they suffered mental distress and loss resulting in personal injury and mental shock.

The HSE had denied that it had been negligent.

The settlement of €35,000 which is to be divided among the McElhinney family was approved in the High Court today by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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