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  • Patrick Moriarty

Nursing home apologises over medication error

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

A nursing home has apologised in the High Court to the family of a woman who died after she was given the incorrect dose of epilepsy medication for 23 days.





Peamount Healthcare nursing home in Newcastle, Co Dublin apologised "unreservedly" to the family of Kathleen Leech for distress caused by the failings in her care in June 2012. The Leech family today settled their case for wrongful death and nervous shock.


You can speak to our expert medical negligence team by contacting us on 087 2285247 or law@petermcdonnell.ie


Their lawyers told the court that Ms Leech, 68, was the "the foundation stone" of her family who had a big personality. Her husband Gregory had suffered terribly from the loss of his wife, as had her five children and 13 grandchildren.


However, the court was told the family took some comfort from the fact that as a result of an investigation into her death and recommendations from the coroner's court, drug charts at the hospital had been changed to prevent the same mistakes happening again.


Counsel for the family said they had come to court not for compensation, but to remember their mother and to see what good they could do. The case for wrongful death was settled for €260,262, plus the statutory sum of just over €23,000 for nervous shock. Ms Leech, from Gorey, Co Wexford, had been suffering from seizures after a stroke in 2011.


She was prescribed anti-convulsive medication and discharged from hospital to the Peamount Healthcare nursing home on 1 June, 2012. At the time, her epilepsy was being controlled and she had not had a seizure for six weeks. During her transfer to the nursing home, there was a failure to document the timing of one of her epilepsy medications and she went without her second daily dose for 23 days.


The High Court heard that no one spotted the error, despite the increasing frequency of her seizures. Her condition worsened while at the nursing home and she was transferred back to Tallaght Hospital on 23 June. She died a week later, on 30 June 2012, having developed a significant infection. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said he was sorry for the tragic loss of Mrs Leech.


He was glad the family had remained so strong together and got some small consolation by virtue of the fact that practices had changed, so what happened will not happen to anyone else. The family added that only now can Mr Leech begin to grieve for his best friend and soulmate, and the children can begin to grieve for the mother they loved so much.


Financial Blueprint of a Medical Negligence Case


Medical Negligence and personal injury cases are often a topic of conversation in Ireland. A case is built on the strength of expert reports and testimony. The ancillary costs are driven up by lack of access to salient medical records and details. This further underlines the need for mandatory disclosure and the need for patients to have live access to their own updated medical records.


At Peter McDonnell & Associates we know from experience that the single greatest cause of worry for clients is the issue of legal fees and costs. People worry that before a case commences or at the end of their case, they will be presented with a large legal bill that will be impossible to pay.


You can speak to our expert medical negligence team by contacting us on 087 2285247 or law@petermcdonnell.ie


*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or a proportion of any award or settlement.

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*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or a proportion of any award or settlement.