Sligo University Hospital
A Ballinamore couple who fought the state for four and a half years were issued an apology from Sligo University Hospital last week in the High Court.
Jennifer and Michael McTague sued the hospital, claiming if Jennifer had been properly treated when she first presented to the hospital, she would have been spared sepsis and further major operations.
Sligo hospital admitted breach of duty of care for not admitting Jennifer McTague to the hospital when she first attended to A&E on June 17, 2016.
The High Court civil case was settled following mediation on confidential terms after the hospital accepted a breach of duty of care and issued an apology to the couple and their wider family.
Jennifer McTague presented to Sligo Hospital A&E Department on June 17, 2016 in severe pain.
She was given morphine but discharged home. When she returned hours later still in pain she was admitted and had to have surgery for a bowel obstruction.
She was subsequently referred to St James Hospital for further treatment.
According to the family, Jennifer had to have three surgeries, numerous procedures and suffered complications leading to over 70 days in hospital, missing many milestones and leaving her with life long impacts.
The McTagues are delighted with the apology and stated, “We sincerely hope that lessons have been learned and steps have been taken to ensure that no other family ever have to go through what we had to endure after presenting at Sligo University Hospital.”
Following the admission and apology issued by Sligo University Hospital last Wednesday, Michael McTague said “Jenny and I are delighted that after 4 and a half years we have finally got the justice that Jenny deserved.
“We hold no malice to the doctors that treated Jenny on that fateful weekend, it is not them that made the decision not to staff the facility at the weekends with diagnostic staff or made junior doctors fearful to call in consultants and experts because of the time of the day or day of the week.”
Jennifer had to have three surgeries, numerous procedures and suffered complications leading to over 70 days in hospital.
The full apology issued by the hospital reads: “On behalf of Sligo University Hospital, I wish to apologise to both of you in respect of the shortcomings in clinical judgement rendered to Ms Jennifer McTague during the course of her hospitalisation and treatment in Sligo University Hospital.
“On behalf of Sligo University Hospital, I acknowledge the upset and stress that this has caused to both of you, and also your extended family.” It is signed by the hospital manager Grainne McCann.
The apology from the hospital is very important to the McTague family although they note “it is a shame that we had to wait so long and go through so much to get to this point.”
Michael said, “All of this time Jenny and I have thought and discussed could we have done something different, could we have explained our situation better, could I have been more forceful in my requests for a scan. Could we have made them listen to us on that weekend, but alas they didn’t and here we are 4½ years later with justice finally done.”
Speaking about the support the family received during Jennifer’s illness, Michael said, “Our friends, family and people we barely knew rallied round to help and support us, so now we have to support them, we need to make sure that they and their families do not suffer, that they get the care and attention that they deserve that is why we fought for a full and public apology from HSE management.”
Michael notes, “We were the lucky ones Jenny survived, other families have not been so lucky and unless we make a stand and shine a spotlight the cycle will continue.”
The couple who have two young children along with their extended family “hope that lessons have been learned and steps have been taken to ensure that no other family ever have to go through what we had to endure.”
The McTagues say what “occurred when we arrived at the hospital in June 2016 should never have happened.” They are now “fully determined to move on with our lives with our family.”
They expressed their sincerest thanks and eternal gratitude to their legal team, led by Daniel Hughes of Hughes & Associates Solicitors in Dublin in conjunction with Liam Reidy SC and Sheila Reidy BL.