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.