Category Archives: Compensation Claims

€18m Cerebral Palsy Compensation Settlement for Boy Who Suffered Injuries During Delivery

In the High Court A letter of apology from the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to Fionn Feely has been read out following the approval of a cerebral palsy compensation settlement of €18m for the young boy.

The Dublin hospital apologised for the shortcomings in care at the time of Fionn’s birth, who is now six years old, which resulted in him sustaining significant injuries. The young boy suffers with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, cannot communicate verbally and must be tended to 24-hours a day.

Counsel for the young boy and his family Liam Reidy SC, instructed by Lyndy Cantillon solicitor, informed the High Court that his clients were claiming that Fionna should have been delivered three hours earlier and that he sustained the brain injuries towards the end of the labour.

Fionn, through his father, took legal action against the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, Dublin, in relation to the circumstances of his birth that took place in April 2015.

It was alleged that there had been a failure to properly manage the pregnancy and labour of Mrs Feely and a failure to properly monitor the baby’s foetal heart rate. Additionally it was alleged there had been a failure to identify and treat the symptoms or signs of foetal distress and a failure to opt for a caesarean section in the circumstance of elevated maternal temperature and pathological CTG trace.

The NMH accepted that there had been a breach of duty in relation to the claims admitting that a foetal blood sample should have been opted for in relation to Mrs Feely’s care between 20.55 hours and 21.10 hours and further thought should have been given at 21.10 or shortly thereafter to deliver the infant using a caesarean section.

The letter to the Feelys, which was read to the court, was from the Master of the NMH, Professor Shane Higgins.

It said: “On behalf of the National Maternity Hospital I wish to sincerely apologise for the shortcomings in care during Mrs Feely’s labour and delivery in April 2015 and to Fionn for his devastating injuries. We do not underestimate how difficult and traumatic it has been for you and your family and acknowledge the challenges that you have faced on a daily basis since that time and we are truly sorry.”

Stephen and Deirdre Feely, Fionn’s parents, said fighting for justice for their first-born has changed them. In a statement outside the Four Court Fionn’s father Stephen said that over the previous six years they have experienced much sadness, worry and grief on a daily basis, but their son is “much more than his diagnosis.”

He said: “Like many people anticipating the birth of their first child, our hopes and dreams were wrapped up in one little person. “Those dreams were shattered, and it is difficult to describe the devastation we experienced. The joy of holding our first-born child in our arms was taken from us. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, it became our worst.”

“We are his world, and he is ours. “Our hope now is that we finally have the opportunity to enjoy just being parents to Fionn, as opposed to primarily being his carers and then we will also have a chance to give him absolutely everything he needs and deserves to get the most out of his life. There has been no respite from our grief, no respite from our daily struggles and worries, no respite from the what-ifs and whys and the thoughts of what could have been.”

He added: “No amount can account for what Fionn has lost or ever bring back the child that Fionn should have been, but this money will go towards giving him a future he can look forward to and thrive in.”

As he was approving the birth injury compensation settlement, Judge Justice Paul Coffey praised the Feelys for the remarkable job that they have done as parents to Fionn.


Alleged Delayed Diagnosis or Treatment of Cancer make up 25% of Negligence Claims against GPs in Ireland

A new report produced by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) has revealed that 25% of clinical negligence claims submitted against Irish General Practitioners during the time period from 2017 to 2020 involved an alleged delay in the diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

Other statistics revealed in the the study that reviewed more than 2,000 GP cases for its report, including claims, complaints, regulatory cases and requests for a wide range of legal and professional advice included that almost 50% of these claims were linked to female cancers.

In addition to this almost half of the claims were connected to breast cancer, cervical cancer and endometrial cancer. Prostate cancer was second most common cancer identified in claims, followed by lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and malignant melanoma.

The age of patients ranged from 22 to 74 years with 66pc aged 50 or less.

The report stated that: “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer involved in the claims reviewed. Aside from delayed cancer diagnosis, more than 15pc of GP claims related to alleged medication or prescribing errors. And around 10pc involved allegations arising from procedures or minor surgery.”

The report highlighted contributory factors such as inadequate or poor record-keeping, misinterpretation of test results, failure to refer a patient to a specialist earlier or follow up and investigate.

MPS medical director Dr Rob Henry said: “Claims for compensation in general practice can lead to large financial settlements. The value of the settled claim may include compensation for care and loss of earnings, in addition to an award for the damage that resulted from a breach of duty. The value of each claim varies enormously with our highest GP total case payment – claimant damages, costs and legal costs – being in excess of €8m.

It went one: “The decision to take legal action is influenced not only by the original injury, but also by the patient’s perception of the process, how information was provided and whether or how an explanation and an apology were given. We understand GPs work in complex and pressured environments, and we know that experiencing a medicolegal case can be concerning and stressful. At MPS we want to share our knowledge, experience and expertise in order to support members in their everyday clinical practice and reduce their medicolegal risk.

“We’ve studied over 2,000 cases in order to develop this collection of case studies, statistics and analysis and give GPs a view of the current claims environment. It includes common pitfalls and themes that result in a case and, importantly, key learning points to help GPs avoid the problems other have faced.”

The reports included finding and recommendations to say that GPs should pay closer attention to what their patient would consider to be a successful outcome in the aftermath of any treatment and understand their concerns and expectations.

It also said that the report discovered that patients just want an explanation and an apology in the unfortunate event of something going wrong.

€60,000 Dental Negligence Settlement Agreed

A €60,000 dentist negligence compensation claim between a women and her former dentist for in the Circuit Civil Court following a treatment that she said left her afraid to smile.

After the treatment administered to Mrs Roisin Mimnagh, the Court was informed that she had been distraught to find that an incisor tooth had been filed away without her authorization and replaced with an amalgam or composite.

Mrs Mimnagh solicitor, Mr David McParland, told presiding Judge Jacqueline Linnane that his client was someone who was usually happy with her appearance. She had booked an appointment with Dr Anna O’Donovan, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, to have an incisor realigned. He told the Court: “To her horror she afterwards found that her tooth had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite that was smaller and shorter and different from her original tooth”.

Dentist Dr O’Donovan, who was represented in court by Barrister Sarah Corcoran, informed the Judge that her client had submitted a full defence to Ms Mimnagh’s legal action. However they had admitted that written consent for the specific treatment for her tooth had not been received before the procedure. She added that the case before the court was not one of deciding liability but a matter of final assessment of damages.

Some remedial work was completed during 2013 following the initial treatment. Mr McParland said Ms Mimnagh was still wearing an appliance on her tooth. He added that a dental specialist felt that she would need additional realignment work.

Mr McPartland advised Judge Linnane that his client at first thought she was going to have some white filling applied to her tooth to make it look more straight. She was very upset when she later saw it had been filed away and an amalgam or composite replaced it. This left her scared to smile.

Judge Linnane reviewed the pleadings and told the Court that the latest expert report was over three years old. Due to this she said that she would be unable to assess damages as the reports were too old.

Due to this, Judge Linnane suggested some talks should be conducted to try and settle the case. Ms Corcoran advised her that Dr O’Donovan had always shown “a significant willingness” to participate in talks. Mr McParland came back to the Court shortly later to advise the Judge that the case had been settled and could be dismissed with an order for Ms Mimnagh’s legal expenses to be taxed in default of agreement.

Vaginal Mesh Compensation Claims in UK and US

Vaginal mesh is currently not being used due to suspension in the United Kingdom while in the United States over 100,000 people have submitted compensation claims due to injuries and illnesses that the believe arose from the use of vaginal mesh.

The ban in the UK is in place until the outcomes of an independent safety review are fully considered, a study that began after thousands of women reported harrowing complications following the use of vaginal mesh to treat them. Typical pain sustained by those with complications include chronic pain, soreness while having sex, pain during daily working duties and difficulty while walking. Soreness and injuries such as these happen due to vaginal mesh slicing organs or impacting tissue and causing permanent nerve damage.

In the UK, expert chemist Dr Chris DeArmitt, has helped approximately 9,000 women to settle their vaginal mesh compensation claims settled. DeArmitt, a leading medical expert in the UK has been called upon during court action against producers of vaginal mesh and said, during an interview with Sky News, that the use of the material is unsafe.

He said: “There are two main reasons why any plastics material expert will tell you just obviously that this is a bad material and I have never heard anyone who disagrees with me. I see an absolute disregard for proper testing. Testing is way less than you would see on a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

There have been a number of case in relation to use if vaginal mesh in Ireland during recent years. This was especially so in 2017. A number of women began legal actions in this year as they had seen news reports in the United Kingdom in relation to pain and suffering that the use of vaginal mesh can cause.

The US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), made the sale of all mesh intended for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse illegal as a result of the many safety issues witnessed among the general public.

The UK’s National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE), however, has said that vaginal mesh will be a potential alternative form of treatment for women suffering from various injuries once the current ban is removed. A statement from NICE said “The benefits and risks of each type of treatment are laid out to ensure every woman is fully informed. Where the evidence is limited, this is also highlighted. There are a number of procedures recommended by NICE, including mesh procedures.”





Young Boy Awarded €10.5m Cerebral Palsy Compensation Due to Birth Injuries

12-year-old Samuel Forde , who took a Cerebral Palsy Compensation action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) as a result of the circumstances of his birth at Sligo General Hospital has settled his High Court action for a sum of €10.5million.

With an address at Glenview Park, Grange, Co Sligo, Samuel had taken the birth injury compensation action via his mother Deborah Forde. His legal representative, Des O’Neill SC, told the High Court that it was alleged there was a failure to promptly diagnose and act upon the baby’s condition, there was also failure to admit Mrs Forde to hospital on August 19, 2006 when her condition and that of the baby could overlooked more closely and acted upon appropriately and that the pregnancy was allowed to continue well past its due date resulting in the failure to deliver the baby when he should have been. All of these claims were denied by the legal team for the Health Service Executive.

Presiding judge Justice Kevin Cross was told how Mrs Forde had gone for a check up on August 15, 2006 which had shown that nothing was out of the ordinary at this point in time. However, two days later she attended the hospital as she thought she might have gone into labour. A CTG was then applied to monitor the baby’s heartbeat .

Mrs Forde returned to hospital again two days later but was told she could go home after a number of tests were completed. A midwife had contacted her to check in by phone in relation to the baby’s movement.  When less movement was recorded on August 20 she was told to return to hospital immediately. A CTG and checks were conducted once more and Samuel was born by cesarean section August 20,2006 and he had to be intubated.

Samuel, the High Court was told, has cerebral palsy which has completely impacted his existence and he will require medical attention for the rest of his life.

The Forde family, the judge was told, only initiated court proceedings after they sought legal advice a few years ago when Samuel’s medical card was taken away a few years ago.

Solicitor David O’Malley, acting for the Fordes family said that they just hoped for Samuel to have a life which is “as happy and as included as possible. Hopefully the financial settlement can bring him that stability. Mediation was a very effective mechanism to resolve this case”.

Justice Kevin Cross, in approving the settlement without admission of liability, said the Fordes had looked after their son “over and above” and he wished “the loving and protective family” the best for the future.

Convicted Criminal Awarded €20,000 Bike Hit and Run Compensation

Thomas O’Neill, a convicted burglar and recovering drug addict, has been awarded €20,000 bike hit and run compensation at the High Court

Mr O’Neill (47) is currently serving a jail sentence in related to aggravated for burglary. He was accused, in the High Court,  of fabricating the incident by legal counsel for the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), Joseph McGettigan SC.

Mr Mcgettigan put this to Mr O’Neill saying: “I am suggesting to you that for whatever reason, you have decided to concoct a case involving an untraced motorist, in order to get compensation, and you are here today with a story that just doesn’t add up. It is defying all credibility.”

Judge Michael Hanna, however, said he was of the opinion that the plaintiff was ‘not lying’ and was entitled to be awarded €20,000 in personal injury compensation.

Thomas O’Neill, who is currently serving an eight-year sentence for aggravated burglary, told the Judge that that the accident took place on June 18, 2014. He said that he had spent the day fishing with his son in Swords, and had been returning home on his bicycle to Balbriggan when he was knock to the ground. He stated: “The last thing I remember was feeling the impact and waking up in the ditch on the side of the road.”

Mr O’Neill told the judge that he had experienced a head injury, lost consciousness and as well as a number of cuts to his face and body. A passing taxi driver offered his assistance, which he refused, and he made his own way home by bus after he hid his bike in the ditch. He could not remember how his bike subsequently got back to his house. He also had no recollection of speaking to his GP or a nurse who treated him at Beaumont Hospital.

He did remember going to the Garda Station to make a statement. However, Sergeant Brendan O’Connor informed the Court that Mr O’Neill had been ‘under the influence of an intoxicant’, when he attended the Garda Station. They advised him to return later to make the statement but this never took place.

Mr McGettigan said to Mr O’Neill at the High Court: “I am suggesting to you that, whatever happened to you that day, you were not involved in a hit-and-run accident, and you decided to bring proceedings against the bureau without going through any normal channels. You never reported this case to the gardaí.”

Replying to this Mr O’Neill said: “I did report it to the guards.”

The Judge was made aware of Mr O’Neill’s previous 20 convictions and he (the Judge) told the Court that these previous convictions did not mean  a person could not seek compensation for injuries in an accident.

Judge Hanna said: ‘My impression of the plaintiff was that he was not lying, and I am satisfied that he suffered the injuries he had in the circumstances of which he has complained.’

Medical Negligence Compensation of €63,000 Award to Woman Left with Forehead Scar due to Post Op Negligence

€63,000 medical negligence compensation has been awarded to 58-year-old Concepta Anderson at the High Court after she suffered an accident during her post operative care at St James’s Hospital in Dublin following a procedure to remove of a heart pacemaker.

Ms Anderson, from Sooey, Co Sligo, began the legal action against the hospital after she suffered an episode of syncope (heart stoppage leading to a blackout) and fell to the ground when she was in a hospital toilet on May 18th, 2014.

The accident happened when when she was going through a recovery period after a procedure to take out her permanent pacemaker. Ms Anderson was waiting for her new pacemaker to be placed. She sustained a head injury and has a permanent cut on her head.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr said, in his reserved judgment, that prior to having a pacemaker inserted  Ms Anderson had a known history of falls and syncope and was a fall risk after the removal of her pacemaker.

However, the Judge said that there was negligence on behalf of her consultant cardiologist in not making sure that clear directions were provided to nursing staff that Ms Anderson was a fall risk and therefore should be told to remain in her bed and only permitted to walk about with proper assistance.

Due to that negligence Ms Anderson was not told to stay in bed and was allowed move freely within the range of her telemetry monitor. The judge said that this placed her in serious danger.

He added that the claimant was lucky, when she did experience the syncope episode, that she was in the toilet. He did not accept the additional claims of negligence in relation to a decision not to insert a temporary wire after the removal of the pacemaker and before the replacement device was inserted. Ms Anderson sustained a moderate head injury as a result of the fall, he added.

The Judge went to say that he believed that Ms Anderson is self conscious in relation to her forehead wound which, while not ugly, was permanent. He awarded her medical negligence compensation of €63,112.

Niece of 89-year-old who Allegedly Died Due to Bacterial Infection Awarded Majority of €28,000 Distress for Wrongful Death Trauma Compensation

The majority of a €28,000 distress for trauma due to wrongful death compensation payment is being issued to the niece of an 89-year-old woman who died due to a bacterial infection in 2009.

Judge Justice Garrett Simons gave a decision that, once €7,890 for funeral expenses are paid, the niece should get the rest of the compensation awarded.

The niece took a wrongful death compensation claim against the nursing home where her aunt had been residing, and also a Dublin hospital where she was treated just before she passed away. The overall total of the claim being €33,290.

It was claimed that her aunt died due to a bacterial infection which causes diarrhoea and colitis. The coroner recorded the official cause of death as due to “health care-acquired” clostridium difficile infection.

Before her untimely passing, her aunt was living in a nursing home up until a month before her death. In October 2009, she was admitted to a Dublin hospital for some medical treatment. She returned to the nursing home in early November before being readmitted to the hospital on November 23 just before she passed away lsome hours later.

Her niece took the wrongful death trauma compensation action due to severe mental distress she experienced due to the death of her aunt. The defendants refuted these claims.

A personal injury compensation settlement offer of €28,000 was offered and  accepted in 2015 and the High Court was then asked to rule on whether the offer was fair. However, as the deceased woman’s sister passed away since the offer was made, in August 2016, the court also had to decide whether the compensation settlement should all go to the niece or to the aunt’s sister. This was because, as a surviving dependent at the time the woman passed away, the sister was legally entitled to a share of her sister’s estate.

Mr Justice Simons said that he was of the opinion that the best course of action in this instance would be to direct the full amount of compensation to be paid to the niece as sole surviving statutory dependent. He said that the €28,000 settlement was fair and after the €7,890 funeral costs have been paid out, the remainder of the wrongful death related trauma compensation should go to the niece.

€300,000 Medical Negligence Compensation Awarded to Family of Woman Who Died Following Hernia Operation

The High Court yesterday saw a private medical clinic issue an apology for the failures in the care for a 52-year old woman who died due to sepsis after contracting a rare infection in the aftermath of a hernia operation. This was following the award of €300,000 medical negligence compensation to the family of the woman.

The woman, Ms Susan McGee, was a mother of two at the time of her death. She passed away just 11 days after the hernia operation at the Hermitage Clinic in Dublin on July 24, 2013. Ms McGee had developed a rare Clostridium Difficile infection in her bowel following hernia operation. At the inquest into her death, a verdict of medical misadventure was returned.

Ms McGee’s daughter, Melissa Barry, spoke before the court saying that the death of her mother had a massive effect on her family. She said: “Our mother is missed every day by her entire family and a large circle of friends. We owed it to our amazing mam to seek answers and justice. We hope she can now rest in peace while we can rebuild the rest of our lives.”

Ms Barry added: “The Hermitage Medical Clinic has reassured us new procedures are in place for the handover of patients and we hope lessons have been learned. Patients need to be assured that details of their medical condition and care plan are properly communicated  if they are being put in to the hands of a different medical professional. Hospital staff must also listen to and act on the concerns of a patient’s family.”

The medical negligence compensation case against the Hermitage and consultant surgeons Arnold Hill and Colm Power was taken by Melissa Barry, Grange Rise, Stamullen, Co Meath and her brother John McGee , Bretton Woods, Skerries Road, Rush , Co Dublin in relation to the  treatment their mother received at clinic in 2013.

The High Court was informed that the defendants admitted liability after McGee suffered complications in the aftermath of hernia surgery in July 2013. Ms McGee’s surgeon was on annual leave when she was taken back into the clinic after becoming ill. The court was advised that another doctor was not available to administer care to her as he was on duty in a separate hospital and a third doctor was not told about Ms McGee’s condition. Sadly, after some attempted emergency surgery, she died on 22 July 2013.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar, in approving the medical negligence compensation settlement, expressed his condolences to the McGee family.

High Court Rules that HIV Victim’s Daughter may be Awarded Compensation

The decision of the Hepatitis C compensation tribunal to prevent the daughter of a man who died from HIV infection due to contaminated blood products from seeking a medical negligence compensation award for psychological suffering has been overturned at the High Court.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton said it was hard to accept that the tribunal made an award to the man’s wife in 2009 in connection to what was termed to as the “horrific” circumstances of the man’s death and then not make a similar ruling in relation to his daughter who went through the same experience. Judge Barton ruled that the claim should be sent back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.

The daughter, who is now 44 years old, was in her teens when her father passed away. She had appealed to the court against the Minister for Health and Children, with the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal as a notice party, over the decision made by the tribunal in February 2015 not to allow her submit a medical negligence compensation claim. Her father was one of a group of over 100 people suffering from haemophilia who was given a blood transfusions that was contaminated. As a result of this he contracted HIV and died from issues he experienced from the disease in 1989 when he as just 40 years olds.

The tribunal approved a medical negligence compensation payment to the man’s wife in 2009 in relation to the trauma she experienced leading up to her husband’s death. The Hepatitis C tribunal had said that the death of the man in question was “one of the worst cases” before it.

Mr Justice Barton said that the man’s daughter had been seriously depressed and was admitted to hospital in 2006 so her illness could be treated. However she still suffers from it today. The Judge said he accepted the daughter’s testimony in relation to the psychological affects that the circumstances of her father’s death had on her.

Justice Barton sent the issue back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.

State Claims Agency Reveals Childbirth Related Cases Make Up 50% of Medical Negligence Payouts

Maternity-related medical negligence cases represent over 50% of the total payouts made by the State according to figures detailed on Friday at a conference on patient safety organised by the State Claims Agency (SCA).

This is in spite of the fact that maternity services account for just 3% of the Health Service Executive (HSE) budget. In tandem with this, the most recent figures available show that compensation settlements and awards for maternity negligence have also risen by about 80%.

Dr Peter McKenna, Clinical Director of the HSE’s National Women and Infant Health Programme, referred to preventable brain damage in normally formed infants is the “single biggest risk” in the HSE stating that these are “the most egregious insult the heath service can cause to a service user”.

Dr McKenna claimed that, by investing a small percentage (5%) of the monies that are paid out in compensation the HSE could reduce these preventable incidents by up to 50%. This claim is particularly significant as, in 2014, the State made compensation payments totalling €58m in compensation for maternity negligence cases. Additionally , Dr McKenna revealed that this represented 54% of the totalical negligence payouts by the State in 2014.

“This is massive for a part of the health service that accounts for 3 per cent of total expenditure,” he said, pointing out that just €500 million of the HSE’s €15 billion budget goes on maternity services.

Dr McKenna told the conference: “In the past, six, seven, eight million might have been a big settlement. Now the figure is running at €15 million. The number of cases hasn’t changed but the payout amount has. I don’t think that one cent of what the parents get will compensate them for having a child that does not live up to their expectations,” Dr McKenna said. “If you think I am complaining about the size of the payouts, I’m not.”

Woman ‘afraid to smile after dental treatment’ settles €60k claim for Undisclosed Amount

A Co Dublin housewife who has settled a €60,000 Dental Negligence Compensation Action, says she was afraid to smile following a treatment to one of her teeth.

Fifty-year-old Roisin Mimnagh, of Marina Village, Malahide, has claimed in the Circuit Civil Court that she was distraught to find an incisor had been filed away without her authorization and replaced with an amalgam or composite.

Counsel for Mrs Mimnagh, David McParland, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that his client was happy with her appearance and had gone to Dr Anna O’Donovan, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, to have an incisor realigned.

McParland told the court: “To her horror she afterwards found that her tooth had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite that was smaller and shorter and different from her original tooth”.

Legal representatives for Dr O’Donovan claimed she had entered a full defence to Ms Mimnagh’s claim but had conceded that written authorization for the specific remedy for her tooth had not been received prior to the dental treatment.

Judge Linnane said she had reviewed the pleadings and had found that the latest expert report was over three years old. There had been some remedial work completed in 2013 shortly after the initial treatment.

Mr McParland said Ms Mimnagh was still wearing an appliance on her tooth and one of the specialists who had reviewed her felt that she would need additional realignment work.

He said she had thought at first she was going to have some white filling applied to her tooth to make it look straighter. When she later discovered it had been filed away and an amalgam or composite put on it, she said that she was afraid to smile.

Ms Mimnagh, the Court was advised, had personally sourced an orthodontist who had given her an estimate for more than €5,000 to realign her tooth. The specialist agreed with Ms Corcoran that this estimate had applied to the provision of treatment to all of her teeth including an appointment with a dental hygienist.

When talks about possibly settling the dental negligence case was suggested by Judge Linnane, the court was advised  by Ms Corcoran that Dr O’Donovan had always had “a significant willingness” to tackle with the case. Shortly after this  Mr McParland told the judge that the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Ms Mimnagh’s legal expenses to be taxed in default of agreement. The amount of the settlement was not made public.

€65,000 Birth Scarring Injury Compensation Awarded to Boy (8)

A birth scarring injury compensation award o f€65,000 has been approved for an eight-year-old boy in the High Court. It was alleged that the boy, Dara Brennan, suffered a facial scarring injury at the time of his birth on November 12, 2009 at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

The physicians treated him attempted a forceps delivery. During these Dara was inflicted with the injuries to his face. The scarring on his cheek and two indentations on the right side of his face that are still clearly visible when he smiles.

Lorraine Brennan, Dara’s mother, with an address at Brayton Park, Kilcock, Co Kildare, sued the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital for her son based on the negligence at the time of his birth on November 12, 2009.

The legal representatives for the Brennan’s told the Court that alleged improper use of forceps inflicted the scars the right side to Dara Brennan’s face. They added that there was a failure to use proper care, competence, judgment and skill required at the time of his birth. It was also argued that a more competent doctor in obstetrics would have avoided inflicted Dara with the scarring injuries. The Coombe hospital’s legal representatives denied these accusations.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said, in approving the birth scarring injury compensation award  that it was as close to appropriate compensation as possible.

20% in Overall amount paid out in Medical Negligence Claim During 2017

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has revealed medical negligence made up, by far, the largest percentage of compensation claims paid out against the State last year.

The main finding of the report was that, by far, that largest portion of compensation pay outs by the SCA in 2017 was taken up by the public medical sector.

In 2017 €248.88m was paid out by the State in relation to clinical negligence claims in 2017. This represents a rise 20.6% on the €206.4m figure paid out during 2016.

The figures were made available to Fianna Fail Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath in response to the question submitted to the Minister for Finance Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe. He had asked for financial details of the sums paid out by the State in compensation claims.

The official response from the Minister for Finance show that that the SCA has paid out €1.123bn since 2010 in relation to medical negligence claims. Between this figure for clinical claims, and a further €32.87m in general claims awarded against the general health sector, €1.235bn has been paid out since 2010.

Major rises experienced in compensation claims against the following area over the last seven years:

  • Personal injury claims awarded against the Defence Forces = €23.6m
  • Irish Prison Service personal injury claims = €19m
  • TUSLA, since it was established in 2013, has paid out €11
  • Other state authorities have paid out €111m since 2010.

Other significant point to note from compensation claims made against the state in 2017 were as follows:

  • The SCA, on behalf of Comprehensive and Community Schools, paid out €1.38m
  • Department of Health pay outs were €296,673
  • The Department of Justice paid out €261,569 in personal injury compensation
  • Children’s’ Detention Schools paid out €196,090

Boy (4) Deprived Oxygen at Birth Awarded €15m Compensation

A €15 million compensation settlement for a boy, now aged 4, who was injured during his birth at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin has been approved at The High Court.

The hospital issued an apology to Eoin McCallig and his family, from Dunkineely in Co Donegal, for his injuries and for the devastating consequences for the family.

Eoin’s father, Anthony, said the family could forgive the error. However, they could not reconcile themselves with the way HSE treated their family and others who suffered similarly.

Mr McCallig feels that there must be a “better way” of handling cases involving seriosuly injured children than through litigation actions lasting years to a “bitter end” and last-minute settlement attempts. He told the High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that something has to change.

He said that the HSE has spent €800m over the last ten years fighting these compensation cases. Mr McCallig felt that this money could be put to better use.

Mr McCallig stated that the birth injury settlement of €15m would never change what happened to Eoin, but it would provide some peace of mind for the family as they knew that Eoin would now be taken care after if anything happened to them.

The court was told that staff at the Coombe Hospital, stopped monitoring Eoin’s heart rate at 9.30am on the morning of his birth. Eoin’s parents believe that if he had been monitored after this, it would have seen he was in distress before he was deliver at around 11.30am. The court heard Eoin wasbeen deprived of oxygen in the 20 minutes leading up to his delivery.

It was argued that if Eoin had been monitored and delivered earlier, he would not have suffered such catastrophic injuries. The court was told Eoin was a very smart boy, but he is unable to walk or talk and can communicate with other people using only with his eyes and facial expressions.

In a media statement released through their solicitor, Michael Boylan, Eoin McCallig’s parents said the Coombe Hospital settlement was welcome but the family “would hand this €15 million settlement back in a heartbeat if Eoin could get back what was robbed from him in those two precious hours before his birth”.

Medical Errors Resulting in 1,000 Deaths in Ireland Every Year: Expert

Roger Murray, a legal professional speaking at a medical negligence conference attended by solicitors, medical workers and patients in early September, estimates that 1,000 unnecessary deaths happen annually every year due to medical negligence.

Mr Murray, joint Managing partner at Callan Tansey solicitors, remarked that the most commonly seen incidents relate to surgery (36 per cent) medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent) and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).

As a medical negligence specialist solicitor who has been involved in many compensation cases, Mr Murray said that though injured patients and families do have empathy for medical professionals who make mistakes “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.

He issued a plea for thorough investigations when mistakes do happen and referred to many inquest situations where families learned that desktop reviews had been completed following a death, and the results were not disseminated to appropriate staff. A vital improvement opportunity had been missed.

Mr Murray said 160,000 people attending hospitals in Ireland experience injuries due to human mistakes. Mr Murray was speaking at the Pathways to Progress conference on medical negligence and stated that he believes that there is “no compo culture” when it comes to medical negligence compensation actions in this country, saying that what we are seeing in the legal system is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.

He went on to say that all those injured in medical incidents report it to the HSE. There are notifications of 34,170 “clinical incidents” annually and, of these, 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate lower than 1.7 per cent.

Six-year-old girl receives compensation in creche abuse case

A Circuit Civil Court judge has approved compensation offered by a creche to a six-year-old girl who had suffered psychological abuse at the facility.

In 2012, the girl was enrolled in the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, County Dublin. As she was old enough, she began to attend her creche´s “Toddler´s Room”. After the transfer, her parents noticed that she started showing signs of anxiety as they prepared her to attend each morning. They claimed that she would cry “No creche! No creche!” as she was being dropped off. When her parents picked her up in the evening, was often withdrawn and lethargic. She also began to experience difficulty sleeping at night.

The girl´s parents were extremely concerned by their daughter’s sudden change in behaviour. They made an appointment to express their concerns with her primary carer at the creche. They discussed the signs of anxiety and disturbed sleep, but were told by the carer that she was receiving an appropriate level of supervision offered by the creche. In spite of the reassurances, they were still concerned about their daughter’s behaviour.

Shortly after visiting the creche, the RTE documentary “A Breach of Trust”, was released. After they witnessed their daughter´s carer being abusive to children in the same facility, the parents removed the child from the creche. They immediately sought legal counsel.

On behalf of their daughter, a creche abuse claim was subsequently made against the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre on the grounds that the girl had suffered emotional injuries due to the abuse. The creche denied liability, but still made an offer of compensation amounting to €15,000 in spite of no admission of liability. As the creche abuse claim had been made on behalf of a child, it first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was fair and in the child´s best interest.

In July 2015, the case was heard by to Judge James O´Donohue at the Circuit Civil Court. The judge heard the circumstances behind the creche abuse claim, and the affect it had on the young girl. Judge O´Donohue ruled that the proposed settlement of the crèche abuse claim was insufficient for the level of injury it was claimed the girl had suffered. He refused to approve the settlement made by the creche.

Following a period of renegotiation, a further offer of settlement was made to the girl. This time, the approval hearing was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The circumstances of the girl´s alleged emotional injuries were once again related to the court. Judge Groarke enquired whether the girl had suffered lasting psychological damage and, after assurance that she had not, he approved the larger unknown settlement of the claim.

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.

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.

Soar in Compensation Awarded by High Court

A thirty-four percent rise in the number of compensation settlements awarded by the High Court has been observed in 2014, with some claiming that this is because of over-generous judges.

Emer Lang, an analyst at Davy Stockbrokers, first noticed this increase in compensation awarded by the High Court when she collected information from the Courts Service Annual Report. The data showed that, in total, €155 million in compensation was given out, spread over five hundred and nine personal injury claims, in 2014.

This worked out to be an average of €304,000 per claim, and when compared with the average value of €227,000 in 2013, it showed that there was a 34% increase between the two years. The average value for assessments that were conducted by the Injuries Board did not increase over the same period, remaining at roughly €22,600.

Consultants from the motor insurance industry have reported their shock at the new figures. Conor Faughnan, at AA Ireland, commented that the judges dealing with these claims needed to be trained to help them gain an understanding that the compensation that they award is ultimately paid for the country’s two million drivers.

However, others blamed recent changes to the Courts and Civil Law Act in 2013, which meant that any case that was expected to settle for over €60,000 had to be heard in the High Court. Before this, the limit was €38,092. The Motor Insurance Advisory Board’s Founding Chairperson, Dorothea Dowling, claims that the plaintiffs are preferably using the High Court System, over the Injuries Board, in the hope of receiving more money.

“The Department of Justice was forewarned well in advance,” Ms Dowling told the Independent Newspaper. “This is what happens when you increase the limits of the lower courts – it sends out the message that €38,000 is small money.”

However, Mr Justice Bernard Barton does not agree – last July, he criticised the government for not updating injury compensation values in the Book of Quantum (upon which the Injuries Board bases its assessments) since 2004.

Judge Barton commented in McGarry vs McGarry that “it is unquestionably in the interests of the proper administration of justice that the Book be reviewed and be kept updated to properly reflect [High Court compensation awards]”.

New Scheme Launched for Symphysiotomy Claims

A new government-run scheme to help women claim symphysiotomy compensation for operations performed on them without adequate consent between 1940 and 1980 has been launched.

The scheme follows after the government changed its mind on extending the Statute of Limitations such that women who had unknowingly undergone the procedure during labour could claim compensation. There are an estimated three hundred and fifty women alive today who survived the procedure.

The symphysiotomy compensation scheme works on a three-tier basis, based upon how badly injured the victims were. Those who did not sustain any long-term damage are entitled to claim €50,000. Women who sustained a recorded disability because of the procedure can claim €100,000 while those who had previously had a Caesarean Section, and then had a symphysiotomy performed upon them can receive €150,000.

A former judge in the High Court, Maureen Harding-Clark, has been appointed by the government to oversee each claim, which must be submitted by the 5th December of this year. However, this deadline can be extended by a further twenty days should Judge Harding-Clark deem the case exceptional.

Once the claim has been processed and a compensation value determined, the claimants have up to twenty days to accept the offer. However, to do this, any action against the state must first be withdrawn by the claimant.

There are presently over one-hundred-and-fifty High Court actions for symphysiotomy claims on progress, and dates for two of the hearings have been confirmed. Marie O’Connor, head of Survivors of Symphysiotomy, has expressed her dissatisfaction with the new scheme as the time limit makes it “impossible for women to seek independent advice and to make a considered decision”.

The Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Mark Kelly, has also expressed his disapproval of the scheme, claiming that it contradicts the state’s obligations to human rights by not addressing compensation needs for each individual. Additionally, the compensation is being paid out without any admission by the state of their liability.