Family of coma woman settles case against Galway Clinic

Claregalway woman collapsed into semi-vegetative state after routine gynaecological procedure

The family of a Claregalway woman — who collapsed into a semi-vegetative state for three years before dying, after undergoing a routine gynaecological procedure — last evening settled an action against the Galway Clinic for €580,000.

Forty-two-year-old Sandra O'Connor, a mother of two, died in February this year in a case that brought great sadness to the Claregalway area.

Her husband Martin took the case against consultant gynaecologist Andrea Herman and the Galway Clinic but the parties reached a settlement today.

On January 28 2005 Ms O’Connor underwent a minor procedure called a laparoscopy at the Galway clinic and was found to have peritonitis or an inflamed abdomen.

She developed an infection which the court heard went untreated. As a result of this she went into septic shock, suffered a heart attack, and collapsed into a semi vegetative state which she remained in for three years until her death in February.

The court heard she would cry and scream, sometimes virtually continuously and it was very difficult for her family to see her in that state.

After negotiations yesterday a settlement was reached between the parties.

Martin O’Connor and his two daughters Sarah and Lauren will get €580,000 in total. Afterwards their solicitor Roger Murray welcomed the outcome and said they now wanted to move on.

“It’s been a long struggle, over three and a half hard years. iIs a pity Sandra didn’t live to get her day in court but the family are happy that her voice was heard through her husband Martin and her daughters Lauren and Sara,” he said.

Ms O’Connor was well known in Galway because of her vivacious personality and through her work at the Brown Thomas store in the city. Her death caused great sadness in Claregalway earlier this year.

Mr Justice Vivian Lavin in approving the settlement extended his sympathies to the family on the great tragedy that had befallen them.

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