A€7.5m medical negligence compensation settlement has been approved at the High Court for an 11-year-old boy who, if it was alleged, experienced a delay in diagnosing a brain tumour when he was just two years old at the time of the incident.
The settlement was without liability being admitted.
Through his father, the young boy (who cannot be named by order of the court) took legal action against Children’s Health Ireland, the administrator of the Temple Street hospital.
Counsel for the boy Dr John O’Mahony SC, with Cian O’Mahony BL, informed the court that when the child was taken to the hospital experiencing left side problems there appeared to be “three missed opportunities” to diagnose the brain tumour as the cause.
Due to this, it was claimed, the tumour continued to increase in size and when it was eventually identified following an MRI scan in March 2013 the it (the tumour) was now of a considerable size. Due to this the young boy underwent an emergency surgical procedure followed by a course of chemotherapy. He now suffers from a weakness down the left hand side of his body and experiences some vision issues.
The Judge was informed how, when the boy was just two years old, he was experiencing a weakness in his left side limbs. His family brought him to his GP for further investigation and from here he was referred to Temple Street Children’s hospital.
When he attended his subsequent appointment at the hospital, on July 31 2012, his parents informed physicians that he was regularly falling and it was a cause of some concern to them. A decision was then made to see how this condition progressed over the following 12 months.
Within six months, during January 2013, the boy’s parents reported that they had noticed reduced movements on the left hand side of his body. Following this an MRI scan was arranged for a couple of months later in May. However, on March 8 his parents became concerned when they saw their son drooling from his mouth and dragging his left foot. His parents brought him. They returned to the hospital but were informed that the MRI scan was not due to take place until May that year.
Due to their increasing worries the parents contacted the hospital again three days later and were advised to attend the hospital at once. An MRI scan was conducted on March 14, 2013. The results of this indicated that there was a brain tumour present and this was dealt with during two subsequents surgical procedures and a course of chemotherapy.
Counsel said he was a happy boy who is adored by his parents and spoiled with love.
The legal action alleged that the hospital failed to carry out an appropriate review of the condition or conduct a full neurological examination on the boy when he was brought to the hospital on July 31, 2012. Additionally it was alleged that the parents were advised the boy’s issues in dragging his left foot were a result of one leg being longer than the other.
Finally it was claimed that the hospital had not arranged an MRI scan in July 2012. Due to this, the court was told, it was believed that the ideal time for effective surgery was missed.
The defendants denied all of the claims that were made in the medical negligence compensation action. The argument put forward by the hospital, to the boy’s parents, was that as it was a slow growing tumour the delay in surgery being conducted would not have had a huge impact.
As he was giving his approval for the child compensation settlement, Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good one and he wished the boy and his family all the best for the future.