Dublin hospital issues apology for care lapses in woman’s fatal Dart station fall


The interior of Pearse Station in 2006, tags: apology care - CC BY-SA

In Dublin, a significant event unfolded centering on a heart-wrenching medical negligence case against St. James’s Hospital. The medical institution has issued a full apology in the High Court for shortcomings in the care and treatment of a 34-year-old woman who tragically passed away after being admitted following a fall at a Dart station.

A High Court lawsuit concerning the 2015 death of Ingrida Grigaliunaite claimed that she had struck her head in a fall, but medical professionals at the hospital neglected to conduct a brain scan to assess the severity of her head injury.

Mary Day, CEO of St. James’s Hospital, expressed a sincere apology, on behalf of herself and the Dublin hospital, for the lapses in their care and treatment. The medical facility admitted fault for not arranging a brain scan within one hour of 1 am on November 12th, 2015, but denied all other allegations, asserting that Ms. Grigaliunaite’s death was not caused or significantly affected by this specific failure.

We are truly sorry for the pain and distress caused to you

Mary Day

Details of the legal battle

On Thursday, the High Court heard the case initiated by Ms. Grigaliunaite’s family and was resolved through mediation. Senior counsel for the family, Oonah McCrann, guided by Lynda Lucey and Cara Walsh of Mullany Walsh Maxwells, stated that as part of the settlement, the hospital would publicly apologize in court. The court also noted agreement among Ms. Grigaliunaite’s dependents regarding the allocation of statutory compensation for mental distress.

Ms. Grigaliunaite, a Lithuanian national employed as an insurance analyst in Dublin, was socializing with colleagues over drinks on the evening of November 11th, 2015. Around 10:45 pm, a worker at Pearse Street Dart station witnessed her fall or collapse, striking the back of her head. The witness noted she was conscious but disoriented before she began vomiting.

She was transported by ambulance to St. James’s Hospital, arriving at 11:40 pm, where a nurse triaged her as “category three,” indicating she needed to be seen within an hour. The case asserted that she exhibited confusion in her verbal responses and scored within the mild traumatic brain injury range (13 out of 15) on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which measures levels of consciousness. She was  pronounced dead at 5:10 am.

According to the court case, a postmortem examination concluded that her death resulted from a rare intracranial injury (posterior fossa extradural bleeding) caused by bilateral skull fractures.

The personal injury lawsuit, filed on behalf of her family by her brother Tomas Grigaliunas from Galway, targeted former CEO Lorcan Birthistle, representing St. James’s Hospital.

Family’s perspective

The family asserted that they experienced significant mental distress and anguish following Ms. Grigaliunaite’s untimely death.

Among various allegations, they contended that there was inadequate monitoring of her condition and insufficient protocols for managing medical emergencies related to head trauma. They claimed the hospital mistakenly attributed her symptoms to intoxication, neglecting to refer her promptly to a doctor or consultant for examination or scanning.

Apart from acknowledging a single breach of duty, the hospital refuted all allegations and claims of negligence.

Ms. Grigaliunaite’s parents traveled to Ireland specifically to hear the court-ordered apology. In a statement outside the courthouse, the family emphasized that she was the heart of their lives. She had moved to Ireland to join her brother and had completed a master’s degree in mathematics and economics at the University of Galway. They noted that in 2015, she was launching a promising career and was in the process of buying a home.

They expressed their profound disappointment over the delayed apology, which they felt compounded their sorrow over their loss.

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