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.