O'Donovan v Cork County Council and Others

Judgment Date01 January 1968
Date01 January 1968
CourtSupreme Court
Cork County Council and Others

Administration of anaesthetic - Onset of convulsions - Treatment of convulsions by anaesthetist - Treatment not according to generally accepted course - Death of patient - Whether County Surgeon negligent - Whether anaesthetist negligent.

O'D. was admitted to a hospital operated by the first-named defendants (the Council). H. was the County Surgeon and was in charge of the hospital. B. was the anaesthetist employed for the hospital by the Council. O'D. was operated upon for an appendix in the hospital by the house-surgeon on the authority of H. who was at his home some sixteen to twenty miles from the hospital when the operation was performed. B. administered the anaesthetic. The operation proceeded normally, taking approximately twenty-five to thirty minutes to the commencement of the closing of the wound. When the house-surgeon commenced to close the wound he noticed a seepage of blood. This he endeavoured to stop without success and he then sent for H. who arrived in about half an hour. Meantime O'D.was kept under the anaesthetic. When H.arrived, he considered the patient normal but very shortly afterwards he observed the onset of ether convulsions which he recognised and which were also recognised by B. These convulsions came on some fifty minutes after the operation should normally have been completed. H. and B. immediately took steps to deal with the situation which was an extremely rare one. H.immediately closed the wound and B. withdrew the ether, endeavoured to establish an air passage and administered oxygen and drugs. Anti-convulsant drugs were not administered. H. also opened the chest of the patient and massaged the heart, thus restoring its action and he also, with the assistance of B., inserted an endotracheal tube. In spite of all efforts, O'D. died as a result of the ether convulsions some hours after the operation. The house-surgeon was qualified some two years at the date of the operation, had had experience in Dublin hospitals where he had assisted at major and minor operations before being appointed to this hospital. While in this hospital he had performed approximately 250 operations and had assisted H. at approximately 277 operations. The Council were sued as being vicariously liable for the acts of the other defendants and this they admitted. The jury found H. negligent in regard to...

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36 cases
  • Gottstein v Maguire
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 21 December 2004
    ...defective - Responsibility of consultant for post-operative care in intensive care unit considered - O'Donovan v. Cork County Council [1967] I.R. 173 applied - Plaintiff awarded damages (1995/761P - Johnson J - 21/12/2004) [2004] IEHC 416 Gottstein v Maguire The plaintiff's husband died fo......
  • Walsh v Jones Lang Lasalle Ltd
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 1 June 2017
    ...His finding on this was a question of fact. 26 The appellants rely on the judgment of Walsh J. in O'Donovan v. Cork County Council [1967] I.R. 173, at 193. There, Walsh J. observed, in the context of a medical negligence action, that if there was a common practice which had inherent defects......
  • Morrissey v Health Service Executive
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 3 May 2019
    ...skill to that professed by the defendant….’ 53 Dunne (an infant) was following the earlier decision of O'Donovan v. Cork County Council [1967] I.R. 173, and also a similar test was found to apply to solicitors in the case of Roche v. Peilow [1985] I.R. 54 Allowing for the fact that Dunne ......
  • Rooney v Connolly
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 1 January 1987
    ...view, be relied on for the proposition that the act in the instant case was not a foreseeable danger. See O'Donovan v. Cork Co. Council 1967 I.R. 173 which is followed and approved in the case of Roche v. Peilow 1985I.R. 38I would dismiss this appeal 39 JUDGMENT OF McCARTHY J. delivered o......
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