Case Note on Carmel Collins V Mid Western Health Board

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Case note on Carmel Collins v Mid-western health Board and O’ Connor

This case concerns the death of a man in his early 40’s from a subarachnoid haemorrhage. In the HC the learned trial judge found there to be no action in negligence. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court. The deceased first fell ill on the 20th February 1991 while at work on a building site. He visited the second named defendant in his surgery later that day, after his wife had made an appointment over the phone. She told Dr. O’Connor: “Jim has a very bad headache. He does not usually go to doctors. He must be very bad.” Dr. O’Connor diagnosed the deceased with an upper respiratory tract infection or, in other words, a head cold. On Saturday the 23rd Feb the pf rang Dr. O’Connor to confirm his diagnosis. She told him that she was concerned about her husband who would usually never stay in bed. She asked him to prescribe something for her husband. Dr. O’Connor said the viral flu would just have to take its course. On the 25th February the pf rang the def at 8 am saying ‘Jim is very bad’. The def came around almost immediately and took the view that his headaches were due to sinus congestion. On 5th March, during a conversation regarding another matter, the def was informed the deceased was no better. On 17th March the deceased, still no better, went to see Dr. O’Brien because Dr. O’Connor was not working. Dr O’Brien immediately made an arrangement with the hospital to admit the deceased for a CT scan on the 20th March. The senior house officer, Dr. Nur, examined Mr Collins. Dr Nur sent him home saying that he would make an appointment for the deceased to see a specialist. On the following day, Dr. O’Brien sought an assurance from Dr. Nur that the deceased would be admitted. This was not granted, and Dr. O’Brien decided to try and get him admitted the following day under a consultant.…...

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