39 families should sue against it HSE for damages after their loved ones contracted Covid-19 and died in the care of government institutions and private nursing homes.
The State Claims Agency (SCA), which manages personal injury and property damage claims against the state and state agencies, said the claims relate to deaths that have occurred in private nursing homes, community health units and hospitals during the pandemic.
In a breakdown of the 39 lawsuits filed so far, the SCA said Irish Independent 33 relate to private nursing homes.
One lawsuit relates to the death of a healthcare worker.
The HSE is also facing 14 legal claims arising from an alleged workplace-acquired Covid-19 infection.
A “Claim” means that the SCA has received notice of intent to seek compensation where the State is alleged to have acted negligently.
To date, law firm PA Duffy has said it has entered wrongful death suits against privately operated care homes, but in many cases the HSE is also a proposed defendant. Another four are scheduled to be issued this week, and dozens more will follow before the two-year deadline for filing a lawsuit against the state.
“The HSE has a primary duty to intervene in situations where a private home is unable to meet the care needs of its occupants,” said PA Duffy’s Enda McGarrity.
“We are aware of a number of circumstances during the pandemic where the HSE has been asked to intervene in the early stages of Covid-19 outbreaks but has not done so in a timely or effective manner.
“This provided an opportunity for early and decisive action to prevent further deaths, which was sadly missed.
“It is alleged that various nursing homes and the state in general have breached their duty of care to residents who have died.
“This has arguably led to accelerated transmission of Covid-19 in care homes and ultimately caused or contributed to many preventable deaths.
“In the absence of a public inquiry, or even an adequate investigation into the deaths in nursing homes, families have been forced to resort to litigation to gain answers and accountability for their loved ones.”
Advocacy group Care Champions, which represents care home residents and their families, said those who took legal action have tried other avenues to no avail. Many have been trying to access medical records and other records for months.
The group’s founder, Majella Beattie, said: “Families are left with no choice but to take legal action to find out what has been going on in the lives of their loved ones over the past few weeks and days.
“Families need to know what happened in order to grieve. It is wrong for families to be forced down this path.
“We believe we need a human rights-based public inquiry to see what went wrong, to ensure reforms take place and that future residents will never know what our loved ones have done.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/dozens-of-families-suing-the-hse-after-loved-ones-caught-covid-19-and-died-41543709.html Dozens of families are suing the HSE after loved ones contracted Covid-19 and died