Family of man (75) settles case over care before death in hospital

The HSE denies the claims in the action over the death of Cork pensioner Gerard Shallow

The family of a 75-year-old who died at a Cork hospital three weeks after being admitted for a fall has settled a High Court action over his care.

Gerard Shallow, of Bank House, Main Street Doneraile, Co Cork, died at Cork University Hospital on December 6th, 2017.

His daughter Geraldine Shallow sued the HSE on behalf of Mr Shallow’s family over the care he received at the hospital before his death.

The HSE denies the claims and the settlement, the terms of which are confidential, is without an admission of liability.


Mr Shallow suffered a fall at his home and was transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH) on November 14th, 2017.

It is claimed he remained at the hospital during which his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to the intensive care unit where he died on December 6th, 2017.

The case was before the court for the ruling of the statutory €35,000 solatium mental distress payment.

The family’s counsel Oonah McCrann SC, instructed by Cantillons Solicitors, told the High Court the Shallows were distressed that liability was not admitted in the case and while a letter expressing regret had been sent to the family, there was no apology which, she said, “remained an issue for the family”.

Counsel said it was their case that it should have been clear Mr Shallow, who had recovered from lung cancer, was vulnerable.

Experts on their side, she told the court, contended there was a significant failure in Mr Shallow’s case where he had fluid on his lungs and there was no adequate attempt to drain it.

The pensioner, counsel said, was vulnerable to sepsis and an inevitable deterioration in his condition occurred.

It was claimed there was a failure to appreciate or act upon the fact Mr Shallow had a high risk for developing infection because he was immune compromised due to ongoing steroid therapy for issues with his lungs.

There was, it was further contended, an alleged failure to ensure there were appropriate inter-disciplinary discussions concerning what plan should be implemented to ensure that Mr Shallow’s lung fluid build-up was adequately drained.

The HSE denies the claims.

Approving the distribution of the solatium, Mr Justice Paul Coffey conveyed his deepest sympathy to the Shallows.