Category Archives: Birth Injury Claims in Ireland

In order to make birth injury claims in Ireland it is necessary to show that your child suffered an avoidable injury due to the negligence of a medical professional before, during or after the delivery of your child. To receive independent legal advice about establishing negligence to support birth injury claims in Ireland, call our Freephone helpline and speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor.

Class Action Made Against Epilim for Birth Defects

Claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant have been made in France on behalf of up to 4,100 children with foetal valproate syndrome.

Epilim is the trade name of a French anti-epilepsy drug manufactured by Sanofi. The active ingredient sodium valproate to control electrical activity in the brain.  It is now commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, migraines, and chronic pain as well as epilepsy. Originally introduced in France in 1967, Epilim was passed for use in Ireland in 1983.

Just as it was introduced into Ireland, claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant started to emerge in France. It was thought that the sodium valproate entered the bloodstream as valproic acid. This, when transferred to the foetus, caused foetal congenital and development issues.

However, evidence of birth defects due to taking Epilim was considered inconclusive by French authorities. Pregnant women continued to be prescribed the drug as normal. Despite the inconclusive evidence, there was still a large proportion of children born to mothers who had taken the drug born with defects. Further investigations ensued. It was only in 2006 that the manufacturers of the drug – Sanofi – warned users that sodium valproate may have adverse effects and advised the medical profession to advise pregnant mothers of the potential risks.

Research conducted several years later by France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – found the majority of in spite of the warning, doctors and pharmacists were unaware of the risks associated with Epilim to pregnant women. The research prompted the inspectorate to conduct a small scale study in the Rhone-Alpes region last year, where a much higher than expected rate of birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant was conclusively discovered.

This prompted France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) to find more research into the issue. ANSM investigated the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken Epilim during their pregnancies. The agency identified that nearly half the children were born with some sort of defect, and thus could be classed as suffering from foetal valproate syndrome. Tragically, they discovered hundreds of stillbirths to mothers who were taking the drug.

When the results of study has resulted in the families of those affected by the adverse effects of sodium valproate to formed a class action in order to jointly make claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim. The families claim that Sanofi did not do enough to adequately inform the medical profession of the risks associate with the drug. It also claims the drug manufacturer failed to put adequate warning on its packaging to inform mothers-to-be about the potential risks.

In Ireland, the Disability Federation has called on the government to conduct an audit of children diagnose with foetal valproate syndrome. The organisation claims the scale of the problem in Ireland should be identified in order that adequate support measures are provided for families. If a member of your family has been affected by foetal valproate syndrome, and you would like to know more about claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant, you should speak with a solicitor.

Judge Approves €15 Million Settlement for Birth Negligence Compensation

A judge has approved a settlement of compensation in a birth negligence claim amounting to a total of €15 million.

At Kerry General Hospital in May 2006, a baby boy was born by emergency Caesarean Section. Due to negligence of the staff in charge of his birth, a series of tragic and preventable errors occurred. These included no action was taken on a CTG trace indicating foetal distress, and when a heartbeat that indicated issues in the womb, no consultant obstetrician was informed of the potential dangers. Furthermore, the consultant obstetrician was not made aware of the possibility of foetal hypoxia, and the baby’s birth was avoidably delayed by approximately two hours.

Due to the avoidable delay, the boy endured a lack of oxygen in the womb, resulting in devastating brain damage. He was diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy. Now ten years of age, he requires 24-hour care by his family. He cannot verbally communicate, and he is confined to a wheelchair. Despite the clear negligence of their staff, the HSE failed to admit liability for nearly a decade. During this time, the boy´s family had to care for him on their own without the support they should have received from the state.

The HSE only admitted liability in 2016 after a nine-year legal battle with the family. They were prompted to admit their fault after being threatened with aggravated damages by the boy’s parents. An interim settlement of €2.7 million compensation for brain damage at birth was rushed through the courts. After further negotiations between the two legal teams, the family returned to court earlier this month for the approval of a final lump sum settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth. The final lump sum was agreed upon as €15 million . As the boy is a minor, the amount had to be approved by a judge to deem it sufficient to the boy’s long-term needs.

Judge Kelly stated that he felt the settlement was “commercial common and legal sense”. He further paid tribute to the boy´s parents for their dedicated care of their son. He further added while no money would compensate the boy and his family, it was the only form of redress the law could provide. He hoped it would give peace of mind that there is a fund to care for the boy´s needs into the future. As the boy is a ward of court, the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth will be paid into court funds and managed by court authorities.

Interim Settlement of Compensation for Delayed Birth

A five-figure interim settlement of compensation for a young boy whose birth was delayed due to alleged medical negligence was approved in Dublin’s High Court.

The claim for compensation was made on behalf of a six-year-old boy, who was delivered at the Sligo General Hospital in May 2010. However, it is alleged that due to a failure to correctly interpret the results of a CT scan, the boy – who originally from Ballagharderreen, Co. Roscommon – suffered from severe birth injuries.

The CTG trace had been taken at 5:30pm, and the claim alleges that it indicated the boy was suffering from foetal distress syndrome. However, no emergency Caesarean section was arranged and his delivery was delayed by two hours.

The delay meant that the boy suffered from a lack of oxygen in the womb, and now he suffers from cerebral palsy, though was described in court as a bright and sociable child. He and his family have since moved to Canada.

Acting on her son’s behalf, his mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Sligo General Hospital and the Health Service Executives (HSE). The HSE quickly admitted liability and initiated negotiations concerning a settlement of compensation. They also apologised to the boy and his family for their failings, explaining why there was a delay in delivery.

The negotiations resulted in a €704,000 interim settlement of compensation, which should provide for the child’s care over the next five years. The case then proceeded to the High Court of Dublin such that the settlement could be assessed by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross heard the circumstances of the birth and the reasons behind the delayed delivery. Whilst praising the boy’s family for the care they provided him over the past six years, he also commended the HSE’s cooperation and provision of an explanation. Judge Cross proceeded to approve the settlement and adjourned the case for five years.

Court Approves Interim Compensation Settlement for Birth Injuries

An interim compensation settlement worth €1.35 has been approved by Dublin’s High Court on behalf of a disabled child.

In March 2010, the young boy in question was born at Cork University Maternity Hospital. However, his parents allege that staff at the hospital failed to correctly interpret the results of a CTG scan that indicated their child was suffering from foetal distress syndrome.

As the staff did not believe the foetus was in any danger, there was a delay in performing a Caesarean section to deliver the baby. As such, the boy suffered from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in the womb and was born with severe brain damage.

The child, now six years old, was left blind and unable to speak. He also suffers from daily seizures and is cared for by his parents and extended family. The family also receive support from the Jack and Jill Foundation.

Acting on her child’s behalf, the boy’s mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE denied the allegations of negligence, but offered to pay an interim settlement of compensation without admitting liability. The €1.35  settlement allows for an assessment of the boy’s condition and future care needs.

Before the settlement could be awarded, it had to be approved by a judge in Dublin’s High Court.  Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who oversaw the approval hearing, was told of how hard it was for the boy’s family to get compensation for the delayed Caesarean section, and of their relief that the process was over. Wishing the family the best for the future, Judge Cross approved the settlement and adjourned the case for three years.

 

Court Hearing for Failure to Diagnose Pregnancy Complication

Dublin’s High Court has approved a seven-figure settlement of compensation for a woman whose vasa praevia complications were not diagnosed throughout her pregnancy.

In October 2010 at Cork’s University Maternity Hospital twin boys were delivered by an emergency Caesarean Section to a mother from Midleton, Co Cork. However, whilst one of the infants was declared healthy, the second had suffered foetal distress in utero and as such was weak after delivery. He was then diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

Acting on behalf of her young son, the mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation for the failure to diagnose vasa praaevia complications during her pregnancy. Vasa praaevia is a condition in which the blood vessels of the foetus are near the internal uterine opening, putting them at risk of rupturing during labour. The woman, who has remained anonymous, alleges that earlier scans revealed that one of the placentas was low-lying.

However, representatives for the Health Service Executives (HSE) and Cork University Maternity Hospital – against whom the allegations were made – denied that they were liable for the birth injury. They claimed that it was not standard practice to conduct further scans or tests after such a placenta is identified to eliminate the risk of vasa praaevia complications. They did, however, agree to pay an interim sum of compensation without admitting guilt.

The claim was made on behalf of a minor and as a consequence had to be approved by a High Court judge before any settlement could be awarded. The approval hearing was held earlier this week at the high Court of Dublin, where the judge was told about the circumstances of the pregnancy and birth and what could have been done to prevent the boy’s injuries.

The court was also told of how the child, now aged six, has received a National Children of Courage Award. His friends and family had also raised funds for him to fly to the United States for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, which allowed him to walk for the first time. However, he still requires therapy for speech and language acquisition.

The interim settlement was approved by the High Court. The case was then adjourned for five years, after which an additional assessment will be conducted.

Court Approves Interim Settlement of Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy Compensation

The High Court has approved a €1.98 million interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation in favour of a six-year-old boy.

The six-year-old boy was one of a set of male twins born by emergency Caesarean Section at Cork University Maternity Hospital on 5th October 2010. Although his brother was delivered successfully, he was born in poor health having suffered foetal distress in his mother´s womb. He was later diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

On the boy´s behalf, his mother claimed spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation – alleging that there had been a failure by the hospital to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy. She alleged that scans in June and September had revealed a low-lying placenta, a foreseeable cause of vasa praevia complications.

The Cork University Maternity Hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE) denied liability for the boy´s birth injuries – arguing it was not normal practice to investigate the risk of vasa praevia complications. However, an interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation was agreed without an admission of liability.

As the legal action had been brought on behalf of a child, the interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation had to be approved by a court to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. At the approval hearing, the High Court was told about the circumstances leading up to the boy´s birth and the alleged lack of regard to the operative risk indicators for foetal distress.

The High Court was also told how, in 2014, the boy had won a National Children of Courage Award, and that last year a crowd-funding scheme raised enough money to fly the family to Missouri for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. As a result of the surgery, the boy is now able to walk short distances, but he still requires physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy.

The interim settlement of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy was approved by the High Court and the case was adjourned for five years for reports to be conducted into the boy´s future needs. In five years´ time, the family will be eligible for a further interim settlement or a lump sum payment of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy compensation if a periodic payment system has not yet been introduced.

High Court Approves Compensation for Newborn Death

The High Court of Dublin has awarded €98,000 to a couple who brought a case against the Health Service Executives alleging that they had mismanaged their daughter’s birth.

The couple, who have remained anonymous, welcomed the birth of their daughter on the 15th July 2010 at the Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital. However, the little girl died just six hours later. The couple, from Ballyneety in Co. Limerick, alleged that their daughter died due to severe failings by medical staff at the hospital.

The couple claimed that their baby had been born healthy, but had suffered a severe loss of blood that led to her untimely death. The Limerick couple alleged that attending the birth did not detect the blood loss in time.

In their legal action, the couple claimed that their little girl was elevated higher than the placenta such that the umbilical cord would untangle. However, they allege that the staff did not adequately clamp the umbilical cord to prevent extreme blood loss.

The HSE denied that it had mismanaged the girl’s birth and presented evidence that their practices had not caused her death. However, though they never admitted liability, the HSE did offer the couple €98,000 in compensation to account for the emotional trauma they endured after the loss of their baby.

The settlement had to be approved by a High Court judge before it could be awarded. Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings at the approval hearing, where he was told that the parties still disputed the cause of the little girl’s death. He was also told how the baby had become listless and collapsed, and subsequently died six hours after her birth.

Representatives of the HSE read a statement of regret during the hearing, after which the judge approved the settlement for compensation. He also offered his own sympathies to the couple for their suffering.

Interim Settlement Awarded for Medical Negligence at Maternity Hospital

A seven-figure settlement of compensation has been awarded by the High Court for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital.

The claim for compensation was made on behalf of Charlie Enright, a two year-old boy whose mother was admitted to the Limerick hospital when she was thirty-seven weeks pregnant with him in 2013.

After a medical examination, Charlie’s mother – Catriona – was put into an induced labour, for which the doctors administered Syntocinon. Even though the drug has well documented side effects, the medical staff still failed to adequately monitor Charlie’s condition in utero and as such he suffered from hyper-stimulation.

The next morning, the 20th August, Charlie was delivered “flat”, a term used to describe newborns unable to breathe without assistance. This was due to doctors’ misinterpretation of a cardiotocograpphy trace and delayed diagnosis of foetal distress. Charlie was then transferred to Cork University Hospital and later diagnosed with an intra-cranial haemorrhage. He then underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment.

Despite the treatment, Charlie sustained permanent brain damage. Acting on behalf of her son, Catriona made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executives for the lack of care she received before her son’s delivery. The HSE conducted an investigation and subsequently admitted their liability for Charlie’s injuries.

Negotiations ensued between the parties, though they were complicated by the fact that the future of Charlie’s condition is not yet known. As such, a €1.75 million interim settlement was negotiated such that Charlie could be provided for for the next two years whilst an assessment was undertaken.

The case then proceeded to the High Court of Dublin such that the settlement could be approved. Mr Justice Anthony Barr approved the settlement and adjourned the case for two years.

Final Compensation Settlement for Birth Injuries Claim

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”.

Court Award Settlement for Failure to Refer

The High Court has approved the final settlement in a drawn – out compensation claim made after a doctor failed to refer his patient to a specialist despite worrying blood tests.

In October 2004, Catherine Sheehan had a blood test before the birth of her daughter. The test returned a concerning result, showing that Catherine’s blood antibody levels had undergone an “alarming increase”. However, Dr David Corr – her obstetrician – did not refer her to a specialist. One month later, on the 24th November, her daughter Isabelle was born at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork with sever spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy.

Isabelle is now eleven years old, and attends a Gaelscoil near Mallow, Co. Cork, where she lives. However, though described as “bright and intelligent”, Isabelle still struggles communicating with others. A machine was specially made to help her to walk, though she will be reliant on round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

Dr Corr admitted liability for Isabelle’s condition after her mother made a claim against him for his failure to refer her to a specialist. Whilst speaking at a hearing to award an interim settlement of compensation in 2011, he told the court that he “very much regrets the outcome in relation to Isabelle´s birth”.

When the second interim settlement of compensation was awarded in October 2013, Catherine requested that they ceased to receive the interim settlements and instead received a lump sum. An assessment had to be carried out for several weeks prior to each settlement, and Catherine told the court that these disputed her daughters life.

The court granted the request, and the case went to the High Court for Mr Justice Peter Kelly to approve the €9 million settlement. Judge Kelly, who is also President of the High Court, said that it was a fair and reasonable settlement, and it was understandable why Catherine made the request. He also paid tribute to Isabelle’s parents, saying that Isabelle’s progress was so good because of her parents’ “truly remarkable” love, care and dedication.

Couple Compensated for Death of Newborn

A five-figure settlement of compensation has been awarded to a couple whose son died from medical negligence after the case was heard in the High Court, Dublin.

On the 20th November 2012, Fiona Watters was admitted to the Cavan General Hospital expecting her first baby. In the morning of the 22nd, her waters and medical staff administered Prostaglandin to help move the labour along.

As the day progressed, the dose of the drug increased in strength. That evening, an attempt was made at a natural delivery, though after an hour, no progress had been made. The midwives attending Ms Watters rang Dr Salah Aziz, a consultant obstetrician, and told him that the baby was not yet visible and that there were indicators that the baby was suffering foetal distress.

When Mr Aziz arrived at the labour ward in the hospital, he discovered that another Caesarean Section was being carried out in the only out-of-hours theatre. As such, he tried both a forceps and vacuum delivery to no avail. Eventually the operating theatre became available, and Ms Watters had an emergency Caesarean Section. Her baby, names Jamie, was delivered shortly after, yet he was in very poor condition.

The baby was quickly transferred to a special care unit in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, where he died just two days later in his mother’s arms. An investigation ensued looking into the circumstances of Jamie’s death, yet was stopped by the High Court in 2013 when Dr Aziz pointed out that the investigators appointed by the HSE did not undertake proper procedures.

Ms Watters and her partner, Francis Flynn, had received an advanced copy of the report and sought legal counsel. After this, they proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Cavan General Hospital and the HSE.

The HSE did not accept any liability for Jamie’s death for twelve months after the claim was made, and then ordered another investigation to be carried out. This team was composed of an independent review team, as there were two more deaths of children at the Cavan General Hospital.

In December 2014, it was determined that Jamie’s death was caused by medical misadventure. The increasingly large doses of Prostaglandin, Dr Aziz’s failure to notify the registrar of Jamie’s imminent birth and the fact that there was only one out-of-hours theatre at the hospital were all listed to be contributing factors.

Negotiations commenced with the State Claims Agency in order for the claim of compensation to be settled. Due to the trauma sustained by Jamie’s parents, a package of €70,000 was agreed upon and the approved by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys in the Dublin High Court.

Bereaved Parents Criticise HSE Apology

 

The couple, whose little girl died very soon after her birth, have declined to accept an apology delivered by the Health Service Executive, citing it as “six years too late”.

On the 11th February 2009, Caoimhe Mulcair was born at Limerick’s Midland Regional Hospital. Her parents, Joan and John, had been trying to have a child for many years and were elated at the birth. However, very shortly after the delivery, it was noticed that Caoimhe’s cry was abnormal for a newborn. The baby was then transferred to the hospital’s special care unit, but died just thirty-nine minutes after her birth in her mother’s arms.

After seeking legal counsel, Joan and John made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executives (HSE) and the Midland General Hospital. In the claim, they allege that the hospital’s failure to act after Caoimhe’s foetal heart rate was noted as slow, which resulted in her being starved of oxygen in utero. However, the HSE disputed these allegations until September 2014, at which time the Mulcairs were offered an undisclosed settlement of compensation.

Last week, a court in Limerick ruled that Caoimhe had died because of medical misadventure. This was based on evidence that a slow foetal heart lead to the deprivation of oxygen to her brain. During the hearing, Collette Cowan, Chief Executive of the Midland Regional Hospital, read an apology to Joan and John for their daughter’s death.

Yet this apology was rejected by the couple, who told reporters that it was delivered “six years too late”. John told reporters, once the inquest had finished, that whilst the couple were fighting for a compensation settlement, the HSE issued no apology and that it was shameful that the HSE “an ordinary decent family through the pain and torment we had to endure for over six years”.

Later, a spokesperson for the HSE clarified that they did not handle compensation disputes, but the State Claims Agency did. However, a columnist for the Irish Times was not impressed by this “passing of the buck”, writing that “A common interest links the HSE and the claims agency and there has been a persistent pattern of denial, prevarication and years of unnecessary delay in dealing with medical claims. The public and aggrieved patients deserve better. So do the vast majority of medical professionals

Teenager Awarded Compensation for Birth Injury Claim

Dublin’s High Court have approved a seven-figure settlement of compensation for a teenage boy who sustained grave brain damage at his birth.

On the 6th September 1996, Thomas O’Connor was born at the Sligo General Hospital. As he was diagnosed with foetal distress in utero, Thomas was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, yet when he was born he did not show any signs of life. The baby was resuscitated with a breathing tube.

In the claim for birth negligence compensation, Thomas’ mother alleges that the delivery of Thomas and his subsequent resuscitation was negligent. Twice, Thomas was starved of oxygen, which caused severe brain damage that has rendered Thomas a spastic quadriplegic. He is also blind, and can only eat through a tube.

Ann O’Connor, on her son’s behalf, made the claim against the Sligo General Hospital. She alleges that there were necessary delays of up to four hours in Thomas’ delivery. She also alleges that the heart attack that Thomas suffered whilst on his way to the Intensive Care Unit was a direct result of medical staff inserting the resuscitation tube too deeply into Thomas’ throat.

The allegations of birth injury negligence were denied by the Health Service Executives, who also disputed the claim for compensation. The case proceeded to the High Court of Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Expert witnesses testified that, though a CTG trace showed obvious indications of an elevated foetal heart rate, it had been discontinued the morning of Thomas’ delivery. Additionally, they said that the tube had been inserted to a depth of 14 cm, despite guidelines outlining it should be inserted to a depth of 9 – 10 cm.

The judge was also informed that negotiations between the parties had determined that a settlement of €1.75 million was agreed between the parties, without an admission of liability by the HSE. Judge Cross approved the settlement, commenting on his delight that the ordeal of claiming compensation was complete for Thomas’ family. The money from the settlement will be used to pay for Thomas’ care in a residential care home in Sligo.

Birth Injury Settlement Awarded After 18 Day Delay

Dublin’s High Court have approved a multi-million euro settlement for a child that was born with severe injuries because of a delayed delivery. 

When Alex Butler was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005, she was described as “blue and lifeless”. This was because a doctor, who was substituting for Alex’s mother’s regular obstetrician, did not diagnosed that there were complications in Alex’s birth. As a result, there was a delay of ten minutes in her delivery. 

During this time, Alex was started of oxygen in the womb and sustained severe damage to her brain. Despite this, Alex is described as possessing a “bright personality with a huge intelligence”. However, she is also tetraplegic and relies on a wheelchair for movement. She will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. 

Acting on behalf of her daughter, Sonya Butler made a claim for Alex’s birth injuries against the Health Service Executive and Waterford Regional Hospital. The HSE acknowledged liability for Alex’s injuries, and negotiated with the family to organise an interim settlement of compensation in 2013 such that  structured settlement of periodic payments could be introduced. As a result the case was adjourned for two years. 

However, the legislation required for such a periodic settlement to be established was never introduced. As such, the family returned to the High Court, where their case was overseen by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. 

To begin the hearing, an apology was read to Alex and her parents by a spokesperson representing Waterford Regional Hospital. However, after this the parties could not agree as to how much compensation Alex was entitled to due to her severe disabilities. 

The parties continued to negotiate the settlement for eighteen days after the initial hearing. Eventually, an agreement was reached, and a €9 million settlement of compensation was approved by Judge Barr in the High Court. The judge commented that the settlement was both reasonable and fair. 

Alex’s parents were shocked and disappointed at the protracted negotiations, with Sonya criticising the State Claims Agency when speaking with reporters after the announcement of the settlement: “They fought tooth and nail. They basically want Alex to have an existence, not a life. They want her to scrape by with the bare minimum rather than her having the life that she should have had.”

Six-Figure Compensation Settlement for Medical Instruments Left in Patient

A compensation settlement of €140,000 has been awarded to a woman after a vaginal swab was left inside her after the birth of her child. 

Claire Lalor, from Swords in Co. Dublin, gave birth to her child on the 24th December 2012 at the National Maternity Hospital. Claire was discharged three days after the birth, but returned twice within the next two weeks as she experiencing pain in her abdomen and had a malodorous vagina. 

However, on neither visit to the maternity hospital was Claire internally examined, though on her second visit she was prescribed antibiotics to clear what medical staff expected to be an infection. However, the smell became worse and Claire continued to experience severe pain. On the 16th January she returned to the hospital and was eventually examined, after which it was discovered that a vaginal swab had been left inside Claire after her labour. 

Despite the removal of the swab, Claire continued to feel pain and discomfort. After her visit to the hospital on the 18th January, she was discharged after a diagnosis of post-natal depression. Yet her condition deteriorated, and Claire began to suffer from sweating, chills and diarrhoea. 

Claire then visited Beaumont Hospital, where she was told that she had a Clostridium difficile infection, which was contracted as a result of the unnecessary diagnosis of antibiotics. After her recovery, Claire sought legal counsel before making a claim for compensation because of the trauma and pain she suffered as a result of the swab being left inside her. 

Liability for Claire’s injuries was acknowledged by the National Maternity Hospital, though they contested the extent to which Claire suffered psychologically. They argued that her symptoms could all be attributed to post-natal depression, rather than the trauma of the forgotten swab. There was no agreement over the amount of compensation to which Claire was entitled, and as such the case proceeded to the High Court of Dublin for an assessment of damages. 

Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings in the High Court, where he agreed with the consensus at the hospital that the difficult labour was a good indicator that Claire suffered from post-natal depression. He also agreed that her continuing symptoms could be attributed to an underlying condition. 

However, Judge Cross conceded that – had Claire received adequate post-natal care – her recovery from post-natal depression would have been faster, and that Claire was “entirely appropriately extremely distressed” by the experience. Claire was then awarded €140,000 for the injuries and infections she sustained because of the forgotten vaginal swab. 

Court Resolves Claim for Erb’s Palsy

A claim for compensation made by an eleven-year-old girl who was injured at birth has been resolved in court without an admission of liability.

When Keelan Murray was born in January 2004 at the National Maternity Hospital, she was diagnosed with shoulder dystocia. This is a dangerous, emergency condition that occurs when the infant’s shoulders fail to clear the mother’s pubis symphsis. It can lead to damage of the brachial plexus nerve if excessive force is used to free the baby. This may heal over time, but for Keelan, the injury remained permanent, resulting in a diagnosis of Erb’s palsy.

Keelan, who lives in Newtownmountkennedy in Co. Wicklow, has never gained motor control over her right arm and is now reliant just on her left hand for most tasks. She has also been forced to learn how to write with her left hand, which was unnatural for her.

In 2012, a surgery was undertaken that attempted to repair the damage, but it was unsuccessful. Sharon, Keelan’s mother, made a claim for compensation for the birth injury against the National Maternity Hospital. The claim alleges that excess force was used to free Keelan of the birth canal, despite the fact dystocia had already been diagnosed.

The hospital denied any liability for Keelan’s injuries, though negotiations continued to proceed between the parties. Eventually, a compensation settlement of €250,000 was negotiated between the parties, though the hospital never admitted liability.

However, as the claim was made on behalf of a minor, the case needed to proceed to court so the compensation claim could be approved by a judge. This ensures that the settlement is in the minor’s best interest. The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Dublin.

At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that Keelan actively participated in many sports activities in despite of her disability. He ruled that it was prudent to accept the compensation settlement for Erb’s palsy without the admission of liability, and finished by wishing Keelan well for the future.

Compensation for Mismanaged Birth Approved in Court

 

A young child has been awarded a seven-figure settlement of compensation for birth injuries resulting from a mismanaged birth.

Kevin Dunphy-English was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital on the 9th July 2010. Upon his birth, the baby – who now lives in Mooncoin in County Kilkenny – was diagnosed as “neurologically compromised”. For over three weeks after his delivery, Kevin was in an intensive care unit. He suffers from cerebral palsy, and can currently only walk for short distances – in the future, he will be reliant on the use of a wheelchair for movement.

Jane, Kevin’s mother, made a claim for his mismanaged birth and resulting injuries on behalf of her son against the Waterford Regional Hospital. In the claim, she alleges that though a foetal blood sample was taken at 1:40 am, there was no record of the foetal heart rate until 2:30 am.

The legal action claims that, had medical staff taken another blood sample after the foetal heart rate was detected, the decision to intervene in Kevin’s death would have been made sooner. An investigation carried out into the allegations of a mismanaged birth discovered that, had Kevin been delivered an hour earlier, he would not have sustained his current injures.

Though the Health Service Executives (HSE) acknowledged that Kevin’s birth was not adequately managed, and that there was negligence on Waterford Regional Hospital’s part for not delivering Kevin quickly enough. Through negotiation, they settled compensation claims made for Kevin’s injuries and for the nervous shock suffered by his parents. However, as the claim was made on behalf of a minor the settlement had to be approved by the courts.

Before the High Court hearing was to commence, Mr Justice Kevin Cross met Kevin in his chambers. Judge Cross was told of Kevin’s progress at pre-school, and his parents’ hopes that he will be in a mainstream class when he goes to primary school. Kevin was termed “a lovely little lad” by the judge, and his parents were commended for their dedication to their son.

Kevin was awarded €2 million in compensation for the injuries he sustained as a result of his mismanaged birth. However, this is but an interim settlement and the case was adjourned for five years such that an assessment damages could be conducted. Once this has been carried out, Kevin’s parents will be offered either a lump sum or a structured scheme of periodic payments.

 

Judge Denies Lump Sum Payment Request

A judge has requested a mother’s request for a lump sum payment for her son’s birth injuries, claiming that it would be a disaster if the money were to one day run out.

In February 1995, Connor Corroon (19) was born in the Cork City General Hospital. Due to a mismanagement of his birth, he had been starved of oxygen in the womb. As a result, he now suffers from cerebral palsy, and is permanently disabled. He is entirely wheelchair dependant, and does not have the ability to speak.

On behalf of her son, Judith Corroon made a claim for birth injuries compensation against the hospital. In 2010, Connor became the first plaintiff to be awarded an interim settlement of compensation for catastrophic injuries pending the introduction of structured payment legislation.

Last year, Connor received his second interim settlement of his birth injuries claim. Seeing as legislation for structured payments has yet to be introduced, he was due to receive his third payment later this year. However, his mother requested that it be a full, final lump sum. Her son must endure a series of assessments every time he has to appear in court to receive his payments, and she claims receiving a lump sum would save him this distress.

She explained her case at the High Court, stating that she desired her son to be able to live a normal life. With the interim payments, it was constantly being interrupted by assessments by different experts. She described her son’s existence as being in a “fishbowl”, and said that in spite of his disability, she hoped that Connor would one day be able to attend university.

Despite her plea, Judge Barton denied her request, stating that if the money from a lump sum payment were to one day run out, it would disastrous for Connor. He approved another interim payment of €1.45 million. To this date, the total paid to Connor for his injuries is €3.25 million.

Justifying his decision, Judge Barton said that he had recently received a consultation paper relating to the proposed Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill. The Bill aims to introduce a system of regular payments next year to better serve plaintiffs with catastrophic injuries. The judge said that a periodic payment system would be in Connor´s best interests, and he adjourned the hearing for a further five years.

Court Approves Interim Compensation Settlement for Medical Negligence

A second interim compensation settlement has been approved by a judge for failure to act on CTG readings of a woman in labour, resulting in her son being born with cerebral palsy.

When Luke Miggin, now aged eight from Athboy in Co. Meath, was born in February 2006 he was starved of oxygen in the womb. Luke was born at the Mullingar General Hospital, where his mother’s obstetrician – Mr Michael Gannon – did not act upon abnormal CTG readings that indicated a slow foetal heartbeat.

Luke had to be resuscitated upon his birth and transferred to a special unit, where the diagnosis of cerebral palsy was made. Luke is now reliant on round-the-clock care, and is unable to walk.

Emily, Luke’s mother, made a claim for compensation on her son’s behalf against Mr Gannon and the Health Service Executive. In 2010, the HSE admitted liability for Luke’s injuries, and an initial interim compensation settlement was approved by Mr Justice John Quirke. The case was then adjourned to allow legislation to pass that would entitle Luke to a more suitable settlement.

However, when the case was heard again this year, the aforementioned legislation had not yet been passed. The case was heard at Dublin’s High Court, where Ms Justice Mary Irvine criticised the Minister of Justice for this failure, saying that it prevented many families from moving on from their tragedies.

Judge Irvine proceeded to approve a second settlement of compensation for Luke, and the case was adjourned for a further three years.

Woman Receives Compensation for Post-Birth Trauma

A woman who received negligent care after giving birth by emergency C-section has been awarded compensation for her post-birth trauma. 

In January 2008, Honey Larkin of Letterkenny, County Donegal, brought a case against the Health Service Executive and her consultant gynaecologist Eddie Aboud for negligence surrounding the birth of her child. Honey gave birth by emergency Caesarian section at the Letterkenny General Hospital. Honey claims that after the operation was complete, she started to haemorrhage internally and that the medical staff overlooked these signs of post-surgical bleeding.

Honey lost more than half of her total volume of blood by the time she was returned to the operating theatre to attempt to stop the bleeding, which Honey describes as a “near-death” experience. Honey claims that she now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the incident.

Honey further claims that neither her gynaecologist nor the other medical staff at the hospital checked on her, or recognised that she was bleeding after the initial surgery. When her distress was eventually responded to, there was a failure to attach due significance or act appropriately within a reasonable time.

Both of the defendants denied the claim, stating that Honey had been treated in an appropriate manner as soon as her post-surgical bleeding was recognised by medical staff. However, Honey continued with her claim for compensation, and the case was brought to the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

The judge was told that no bleeding had been apparent when Mr Aboud had finished the Caesarean Section operation. Mr Aboud said that when he was called back to attend to Honey´s post-surgical bleeding, he performed the operation successfully to stop the haemorrhage. Judge Cross said that no blame could be attributed to Mr Aboud and that charges against the consultant gynaecologist were dropped.

The judge did stated that the length of time that it had taken for medical staff to identify the bleeding and respond to Honey’s distress was inadequate, and he awarded her €25,000 in compensation as a result of the hospital “needlessly” delaying Honey’s revision for surgery by more than an hour.