herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Woman who claimed hospital lost €32,000 earrings loses case

Joan O Connor, of Glencarrig, Falls Road, Shankill, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after her Circuit Civil Court claim was dismissed
Joan O Connor, of Glencarrig, Falls Road, Shankill, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after her Circuit Civil Court claim was dismissed

A Dublin woman who alleged that hospital staff had removed and misplaced her €32,000 earrings has lost her claim for damages.

Joan O’Connor said that in January last year she was taken by ambulance to the A&E Department at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin after she collapsed at home.

Ms O’Connor claimed she had been wearing her 1.5-carat diamond stud earrings, of rare white clarity, until a radio-

grapher removed them before carrying out a CT scan.

The Circuit Civil Court was told Ms O’Connor had bought the earrings eight years ago at John Farrington Antiques in Dublin for €32,000 and they had great sentimental value. She wore them constantly.

Ms O’Connor told barrister Fred Gilligan, counsel for St Vincent’s Hospital, that after the scan she had asked about the earrings when she was taken back to her room.

She told the court she had reported the loss of the earrings to the gardai.

negligence

Mr Gilligan told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the hospital denied negligence and denied its staff had removed the earrings, or that Ms O’Connor had been wearing them when she attended for the scan.

He added that a number of staff had searched for the earrings after Ms O’Connor had told them they were missing. He said bins had even been searched, but the earrings were  not found.

Ms O’Connor’s son, Dr Tim O’Connor, told the court he was a medical student at St Vincent’s at the time and he remembered his mother had been wearing the earrings when she arrived at the hospital.

Judge Groarke said he was satisfied that Ms O’Connor, of Glencarrig, Falls Road, Shankill, Co Dublin, had been wearing her earrings when she entered the hospital.

However, he said he was also satisfied that, after hearing the hospital staff’s evidence, she did not have them with her when she arrived at the CT scan room.

The judge said that, on balance of probability, he had to dismiss Ms O’Connor’s claim, but would make no order regarding the legal costs.

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