Lalor v National Maternity Hospital

In July 2015, Judge Cross of the High Court awarded damages to a woman who developed an infection as a result of wrongly prescribed antibiotics in the aftermath of the birth of her child. In Lalor v National Maternity Hospital the High Court granted €139,434.87 to Ms Lalor for physical and psychiatric injuries, where she had developed an infection arising from wrongly prescribed antibiotics where the defendant hospital failed to detect a swab that had been left in her vagina following a difficult birth. The swab was located some three weeks after the baby's birth and on her third post-delivery visit to the hospital and only after Ms Lalor complained of a “disgusting smell” and pain in her vaginal area.

Judge Cross noted that in addition to her physical injuries, Ms Lalor suffered what had been described by one doctor in the case as a depression on the lower end of the spectrum, but having seen the plaintiff, the Judge believed that she suffered in a major way and is still suffering significantly from the adjustment disorder (fear and anxiety) as diagnosed and that this has had a significant effect on her life, to date.

In awarding damages the Judge said “I will assess general damages for her physical and psychiatric injuries to date in the sum of €100,000 and €25,000 into the future totalling the sum of €125,000 general damages to which I will add the special damages of €14,434.87 bringing a total of €139,434.87, which I believe is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.” IEHC 423 (High Court, Cross J, July 3rd, 2015)