Man who contracted Hepatitis B in hospitals settles action against HSE
on 19/10/2012 18:34:20
The man, who cannot be identified by order of the court, sued the HSE as a result of contracting the virus from another patient while he was undergoing treatment at both Wexford General Hospital and Waterford Regional Hospital intensive care/high dependency units sometime between late 2004 and early 2005.
Liability in the action had been admitted and the case was before the court for the assessment of damages only.
Today, following talks between the side's legal representatives, Mr Justice Eamonn De Valera was informed that the case has been settled and that the proceedings could be struck out. No details of the settlement, which is understood to be confidential, were given in open court.
The court heard contracting what is a highly infectious virus had a terrible effect on the man.
He suffered from depression and on one occasion he made an attempt on his own life. The court also heard that the man's wife, who has not brought a claim, also contracted the virus.
The man claimed the HSE was negligent and in breach of its duty of care towards him due to its failure to keep the areas he was an in-patient were kept germ free and in particular free from the Hepatitis B virus.
He also alleged the HSE failed to have either proper cleaning equipment or adequately trained staff to keep the area he was an in-patient in kept free from the virus, and that he was placed in an area where the HSE should have known he would be prone to be infected by the virus.
He further claimed the HSE ran the hospital in a manner that was dangerous to him and the public.
The court heard from his barrister Gerry Danaher SC that sometime in late 2004 early 2005, while the man was being treated for cancer of the blood at the hospitals in Waterford and Wexford, he contracted Hepatitis B.
It was not known exactly when he contracted the virus, but it occurred sometime during the course of his treatment.
Due to the stigma of having such an infectious disease the man was left feeling isolated and shunned.
He has received on-going treatment for his condition, and will require care into the future.
The man, who had suffered from serious health problems before contracting the virus, also sought assurances from the HSE that any compensation awarded arising out of his claim would not cause him to lose his medical card or disabilities allowances that been receiving for several years.