A teenage girl, who sustained brain damage because of avoidable delays in her birth, has been awarded a final €5.5 6 million compensation settlement by the High Court.
On the 11th October 1999, at the Mayo General Hospital, Mary Malee was delivered by emergency Caesarean section. The surgery was necessary as Mary had been suffering from foetal distress syndrome, yet there was a delay in carrying out the procedure. Despite the diagnosis, no consultant was available to assist the delivery. During this eighty-minute delay, Mary was deprived of oxygen in utero, causing damage to her brain. As a result, Mary now suffers from cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound.
Maura Malee, acting on her daughter’s behalf, made a claim for birth injuries compensation against Mayo General Hospital. In the claim, it is alleged by Maura that her daughter’s injuries were caused by the hospital’s lack of consultants, and their inability to make of available upon the diagnosis of an elevated foetal heart rate. The delay caused by this negligence lead to Mary’s brain damage.
At the beginning of 2014, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved an interim settlement of compensation worth €1.5 million during a hearing at the High Court. She then adjourned the case for two years such that a payment scheme could be established.Yet no scheme was ever introduced and as such the Mary and her parents returned to the High Court last week for the approval of final settlement of €5.56 million.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly oversaw proceedings. A representative of Mayo General Hospital read an official statement which apologised to Mary for the “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. Judge Kelly then approved the compensation settlement, commending Mary’s heroism in facing the challenges her injuries present.
Mary, speaking to a reporter after the approval of the settlement, commented that “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.