The High Court in Dublin has approved a compensation settlement for medical negligence to a woman whose knee fracture was missed upon initial examination.

Amy Rose McGowan (31) was in training to participate in the Special Olympics World Games when she fell and damaged her knee while practicing  for the 50 metre race. She was immediately brought to Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, where she was attended to. X-rays were taken of the area, and she was told that she suffered soft tissue damage to her knee. The joint was strapped for support, and she was released without further care.

However, a month after the accident, Amy Rose developed increased pain in the area. She consulted her GP, who subsequently diagnosed Amy Rose with a depressed fracture. The injury had been overlooked at the hospital during her initial consultation. Unfortunately, due to the late diagnoses, it was too late to perform the necessary corrective surgery. Amy Rose was no longer able to train to compete in the Special Olympics in Athens, scheduled to take place in 2011.

On behalf of her daughter, Charlotte McGowan made a claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) for compensation due to the missed knee fracture. She stated that the initial care her daughter had received had been negligent, as well as the missed diagnoses. An investigation was launched into the case.

The HSE admitted liability to the missed diagnoses. They acknowledged that the emergency department overlooked the depressed fracture upon initial inspection. The defendants made an offer of €142,000 as a settlement, which Charlotte agreed upon on behalf of her daughter. However, due to Amy Rose’s intellectual disability, the sum had to be approved by a judge in court.

Mr Justice Michael Peart heard how the athlete’s career had been cut short as a result of the accident, and expressed pity at this statement. Amy Rose had won 34 medals and 10 trophies over her career as a swimmer and athlete, but was unable to continue due to the incident. The judge approved the settlement offered by the HSE.