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Negligence claim rejected against surgeon at High Court

30 January 2019 Written by SOR Solicitors Category: Blog

High Court judge, Mr Justice Kevin Cross, has ruled there was no negligence by an orthopaedic surgeon in his treatment of a patient who claimed he suffered paralysis in his right leg and severe pain as a result of undergoing a spinal fusion procedure.

Eugene McCormack, from Clongowney, Dublin Road, previously settled his claims against the Mater Private Hospital and Mater Private Healthcare concerning a post-surgery incident in which part of a catheter was left inside him.

The claim, which was against Dr Timlin’s care between March 11 and March 19, 2010, was dismissed by the judge on the 18th January 2019. Mr Justice Kevin Cross noted that the claimant had significant past medical history including operations for back pain in 2007 which was performed by a different doctor. Mr McCormack was then referred to Mr Timlin in 2009 with back problems ‘as bad as ever’.

Mc McCormack was alleged to have developed Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) which was not addressed until March 19th and, as a consequence, suffered severe personal injuries.

After index surgery on March 10th 2010, the judge found that Mr McCormack was suffering from a developing CES as a result of pressure on his nerves and, had the intervention occurred earlier than March 19th 2010, the developing CES – which resulted in neuropathic pain, a right-sided foot drop and bladder pain – would not have developed.

Despite these facts, Mr Timlin was not ruled negligent as he could not be faulted for his interpretation of the MRI and the course of action he so took following this opinion of the findings. Had Mr Timlin been aware of ‘potentially alarming’ results in a physiotherapy report from March 11th, he was satisfied that he would have acted sooner.

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