November 2016 | Samhain 2016

Medical Litigation in the US and Ireland

Thu, 20 July 17 19:01

We were delighted to welcome His Excellency, Kevin F. O'Malley, the US Ambassador to Ireland and Attorney who presented a discussion on the topic "Medical Litigation in the US and Ireland" at the UCD School of Medicine on 3rd November 2016 as part of our graduate diploma programme.

UCD Forensic & Legal Medicine celebrated 20 years of their Graduate Diploma in Healthcare (Risk Management & Quality) in 2015. For several years, eminent speakers from the worlds of law and medicine have given keynote addresses on various medico-legal, patient safety and clinical risk issues to the Section and School.

In September, 2016, the course commenced another academic year and intake, with the conferring of diplomas on 16 graduands, and which saw the launch of the new Professional Certificate in Medico-Legal Aspects of Healthcare.  On that occasion, the School welcomed the Hon. Ms. Justice Mary Irvine, Judge of the Court of Appeal who gave the keynote address dealing with the patient experience and medical litigation: Reforms, changes and attitudes.

L-R Mr. Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, US Ambassador, His Excellency Kevin O’Malley

Continuing these discussions, the UCD School of Medicine was honoured to welcome His Excellency, Kevin F. O' Malley, US Ambassador to Ireland and Attorney to discuss Medical Litigation in the US and Ireland. Past keynote addressees have been given by:

  • Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minster for Health & Children
  • Ms Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health & Children
  • Prof Sir John Lilleyman, UK National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA)
  • Hon Judge Maureen Harding Clarke, Chair, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Inquiry
  • Prof Dierdre Madden, Chair, Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance
  • Dr Tracey Cooper, CEO, Health Information & Quality Authority
  • Prof Freddie Woods, President Medical Council of Ireland
  • Dr Peter Lachmann, Deputy Medical Director (Patient Safety), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
  • Hon Mr Justice John Quirke, President of the Law Reform Commission

Ambassador O'Malley was welcomed, on behalf of the UCD President and Professor Pat Murray, Head of the School and Dean of Medicine, by Professor Cecily Kelleher, College Principal and Professor Denis Cusack. Mr Asim Sheikh, Barrister-at-Law and UCD Assistant Professor, who organised the event and whose legal practice and work specialises in clinical negligence and medical/healthcare law, facilitated the evening event and acted as master of ceremonies.  Mr Sheikh explained that it had become an annual tradition for speakers from law and medicine to address the School to foster key links in this multidisciplinary speciality. After a warm welcome by Professor Kelleher, the Ambassador discussed his legal background and work in medical malpractice law and the intricacies of medical litigation in the US and especially spent time dealing with the issue of witness preparation and discussed some of the key differences between the Irish and US jurisdictions.

The event was kindly supported and sponsored by leading Dublin medical negligence firm, Daniel Spring Solicitors, and was attended by leading solicitors, Barristers, and members of the faculty and academic and medical communities.  The talk was followed by a lively discussion about some of the key issues that had been discussed during the course of the evening including improving the Court System and dealing with medical witnesses and what issues lay ahead of Irish medical litigation. The contributions from the floor and exchanges with the Ambassador provided much food for thought and may participants expressed their views regarding their experiences with the court process in Ireland.

Bringing the meeting to a close, Professor Cusack, on behalf of the School of Medicine, thanked the Ambassador with a small presentation.  The Ambassador was gracious and generous with his time in dealing with queries and questions which continued at the reception following the event.

The School and Section is grateful to His Excellency and the US Embassy and also to Ms. Liz Hannon, Ms. Danielle Marié, Ms. Lisa Bruton and Ms. Mairead Egan of the School of Medicine for their kind assistance.

About Ambassador O'Malley 

His Excellency Kevin F. O’Malley, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and Attorney

Kevin F. O’Malley was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland on September 30, 2014 and presented his credentials to President Michael D. Higgins on October 8, 2014.

Ambassador O’Malley, an attorney, was a partner at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., in St. Louis, Missouri whose trial skills have earned him Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Ambassador O’Malley has been an adjunct professor both at Washington University School of Law and St. Louis University School of Law. He is a nationally recognized author of a treatise on jury instructions that is used in federal jury trials throughout the United States.

Ambassador O’Malley is known as a talented leader, expert manager, and forthright public speaker and he has been consistently chosen by the editors of The Best Lawyers in America for his work in medical negligence defence and white collar criminal defences. Based on a career that has emphasized collegiality and common sense in litigation, he recently received the Award of Honor of the Lawyers Association of St. Louis, a recognition by plaintiffs and defendants attorneys of his abilities to resolve conflicts in a courteous and professional manner.

Before entering private practice Ambassador O’Malley was an Assistant United States Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri and a Special Attorney of the Organized Crime Section of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California and Phoenix, Arizona. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor he received the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Attorney General. He was a legal instructor for the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) in both Moscow and Warsaw. In 2009 Ambassador O’Malley was appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to be the only non-physician on the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, the medical licensing and disciplinary authority in the state. The physicians subsequently elected him as Board President. He also served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve.  Ambassador O’Malley earned an A.B. in 1970 and J.D. in 1973 at Saint Louis University where he served on the editorial board of its law journal.

On March 15, 2016, at the annual White House St. Patrick's Day party, President Barack Obama said of Ambassador O'Malley and his Creative Minds program:

"Although Kevin’s only been in Ireland for 18 months, he has crammed in almost eight years of work. One of his legacies will be his Creative Minds initiative, in which he’s been busy connecting the next generation of Irish and American leaders."

In July 2016, Ambassador O'Malley and the U.S. Embassy Dublin produced a two-part series entitled Creative Minds in Medicine. The first part of the series, Wired for Sound, brought together the cochlear implant teams from the Vanderbilt University Department of Otolaryngology in Nashville, Tennessee and the Irish National Cochlear Implant Program (NCIP) at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Part two of the Creative Minds in Medicine series was held on World Head and Neck Cancer Day and hosted by Professor James Paul O’Neill from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Ambassador O’Malley has strong Irish roots. Both of his parents were Irish and his paternal grandparents emigrated from Westport in County Mayo approximately one hundred years ago. He held dual citizenship with Ireland and the United States until the confirmation process for this position. Ambassador O’Malley came to Ireland with his wife, Dena.  They have two sons, Brendan and Ryan.

Course Enquiries 

Please visit the course hub to find out more about:

Questions and enquiries should be directed to:

Ms. Danielle Marié

Forensic & Legal Medicine

UCD School of Medicine

T: + 353 1 716 6647

E: legal.medicine@ucd.ie

W: Visit our website

Selection of Photos

 L-R: Mr. Donal Spring, Ms. Fiona Brassil and Ms. Jacqui Cross of Daniel Spring Solicitors, Sponsors, with the US Ambassador 

 L-R: Mr. Donal Spring, Ms. Fiona Brassil and Ms. Jacqui Cross of Daniel Spring Solicitors, Sponsors, with the US Ambassador

 L-R Prof. Prof John Hyland, President RCSI, Turlough O’Donnell SC, Mr. Donal Spring

L-R Prof. Prof John Hyland, President RCSI, Turlough O’Donnell SC, Mr. Donal Spring

 L-R Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, Prof Denis Cusack, US Ambassador, Mr. Donal Spring, Dr. Cliona McGovern

 L-R Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, Prof Denis Cusack, US Ambassador, Mr. Donal Spring, Dr. Cliona McGovern

 L-R Dr. Brian Farrell, Coroner, Dr. Jennifer Westrup, Beacon Hospital

 L-R Dr. Brian Farrell, Coroner, Dr. Jennifer Westrup, Beacon Hospital

 L-R Prof Brendan Loftus, UCD Conway, Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, Ms. Mary O’Toole SC, Mr. Turlough O’Donnell SC

 L-R Prof Brendan Loftus, UCD Conway, Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, Ms. Mary O’Toole SC, Mr. Turlough O’Donnell SC

 Ms. Danielle Marié , Ms. Liz Hannon, Ms. Lisa Bruton (School of Medicine) with the Ambassador

Ms. Danielle Marié, Ms. Liz Hannon, Ms. Lisa Bruton (School of Medicine) with the Ambassador

 L-R Mr. Haaris Sheikh (CEO, IGI and TCD). Dr. Cliona McGovern, Prof. Lorraine Leeson (TCD), Ms. Caroline Ward (UCD), Mr. Patrick O’Reilly SC, Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, Ms. Leesha O’Driscoll BL

L-R Mr. Haaris Sheikh (CEO, IGI and TCD). Dr. Cliona McGovern, Prof. Lorraine Leeson (TCD), Ms. Caroline Ward (UCD), Mr. Patrick O’Reilly SC, Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, Ms. Leesha O’Driscoll BL

 L-R Mr. Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, US Ambassador, His Excellency Kevin O’Malley

 L-R Mr. Mr. Asim Sheikh BL, US Ambassador, His Excellency Kevin O’Malley