A judge at the High Court in Dublin has approved an interim settlement of compensation for inappropriate use of Syntocinon during labour, which resulted in a baby boy being born with kinetic cerebral palsy.
Patrick Brannigan (7) was born by emergency Caesarean Section at Cavan General Hospital in July 2007. To aid with her labour, his mother-Niamh Brannigan of Castleblayeny, County Monaghan-was administered a dose of the drug.
However, a CTG trace had shown that the unborn baby was in distress in the womb, suggesting that Syntocinon should not be used. When the drug was administered, instead of speeding up labour, it deprived Patrick of oxygen.
As a result, he was born with dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Patrick is now confined to a wheelchair, and will never be able to live a life independent of his parents. He has no proper means of combination with others.
On behalf of her son, Niamh made a claim for the inappropriate use of the synthetic drug, claiming that the medical staff at the hospital had mismanaged the birth, thus resulting in Patrick being born with the disease.
The defendants admitted liability for the injury, acknowledging that Syntocinon should not have been administered in that case, given the evidence of foetal distress. An apology was issued to the family, and interim compensation of €2.1million was offered as settlement. Seeing as Patrick was a minor, such compensation needed to be approved by a judge in court.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard the case at the Dublin High Court earlier this week. The circumstances surrounding the birth were presented to him, and he heard that Patrick was a cheerful and good-natured boy. As a result, he approved the interim settlement of compensation for inappropriate use of Syntocinon.
Judge Cross adjourned the claim for three years so that Patrick’s future needs could be thoroughly assessed. It is hoped that legislation will soon be passed so that the family could receive periodic payments to settle the claim for inappropriate use of the drug during labour.