Barrister seeks injunction overturning Beacon’s decision to deny him further treatment
Posted on 26th October 2022 at 20:53
A barrister wants the High Court to grant an injunction aimed at overturning the Beacon Hospital’s decision to deny him further treatment at the private medical facility.
The action has been brought by Alan Toal BL, who has been a patient at the Beacon for more than a decade and has undergone several significant surgeries for spinal and nerve complaints.
He is seeking an injunction against the Beacon Medical Group, Sandyford Limited, Beacon Hospital Sandyford Limited and Michael Cullen, chief executive of the Beacon Hospital, aimed at overturning their alleged decision last June not to allow him to undergo any further treatment at their facility.
If granted by Mr Justice Conor Dignam, the injunction would remain in place pending the outcome of the full hearing of the action before the High Court.
The defendants, who deny the claims, have linked the decision to an alleged refusal by the barrister to leave the hospital last February 21st when Mr Toal had been deemed fit to be discharged.
It was claimed Mr Toal stayed for several more days, allegedly resulting in the hospital incurring costs it would not recover.
Mr Toal, who left the hospital on March 1st, disputes this claim and says he was not aware he was discharged from the facility until he received legal documents sworn in the case by Mr Cullen.
Represented by Michael Francis Forde, instructed by solicitor John Geary, Mr Toal claims that when he was due to attend his treating physician at the Beacon last June he was informed that the hospital had decided not to make an appointment with him.
His counsel said this appeared to come from an oral direction from Mr Cullen and was made without any prior warning to Mr Toal or his treating consultant. Counsel said no proper explanation or right of appeal was afforded to him.
Mr Toal said he was informed that his treatment was not proceeding due to “various behaviours whilst a patient at the hospital”.
Mr Toal, counsel said, denies any suggestion that his behaviour at the hospital was in any way inappropriate.
Counsel said it was suggested by the defendants at one stage that Mr Toal had not paid his bill.
This was never the case and it was now accepted that Mr Toal had paid everything that was due.
Counsel said Mr Toal has paid the Beacon more than €112,000 over the last number of years, and he felt embarrassed and that his reputation had been damaged due to the defendant’s action.
Nothing was put before the court by the defendants to support that innuendo, counsel said.
Mr Toal said he had also been informed that the defendants were “under no obligation whatsoever” to provide him with “an explanation as to the basis of the decision made”.
His treating consultant, Prof Turlough O Donnell, has no problem providing ongoing treatment to Mr Toal, who wants to continue with the excellent care he has received at the hospital.
Mr Toal further claims that the decision may be linked to the fact that Mr Toal represented a consultant doctor, who had worked at the Beacon, who took legal proceedings against the hospital.
Counsel said Mr Toal has sought the medical appointment after he was assaulted by a well-known criminal.
Counsel said it was Mr Toal’s case that the Beacon’s duty of care towards him was no different to the duty owed by a public hospital towards patients.
The defendants, represented by Mark Connaughton SC, reject the claims.
They claim that as a private medical facility it is entitled to take a decision not to allow Mr Toal to receive any further treatment at its facilities.
Counsel argued that Mr Toal’s application for an injunction should be refused for factual and legal reasons.
In a sworn statement, Mr Cullen raised the issue about the alleged refusal by Mr Toal to leave the hospital for several days after being discharged in the spring of this year. It was accepted that Mr Toal had paid all his bills to the Beacon.
Counsel argued that the hospital did not have any ongoing relationship with Mr Toal regarding the provision of medical care.
He also said the Beacon was quite happy to facilitate Mr Toal in obtaining his medical records so they can be transferred to another facility and the defendants never wanted to damage Mr Toal’s reputation.
However, counsel was critical of what he said were untrue remarks made by Mr Toal in his sworn statements about Mr Cullen.
It was also denied that the Beacon’s decision had anything to do with Mr Toal having represented a doctor who had been in dispute with the hospital.
Counsel said Mr Toal had not made out a strong enough case that would permit the court to grant the mandatory order sought.
Mr Justice Dignam said he would give his decision at a later date.
The judge also said that he was considering putting a timetable in place to ensure that the full hearing of the matter takes place as soon as possible.
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