High Court Birth Injury Settlement of €22.5m for Young Boy

An eight-year-old boy been awarded €22.5m brain injury compensation in relation the suffering he experienced when the fact that he had contracted a meningitis infection, in the days after his birth, was missed by those attending to him.

At the High Court an apology was read out in court by Cork University Maternity Hospital to the boy in question, Calum Spillane and his family. The apology expressed regret in relation to “the delay in diagnosing Calum’s infection and the injuries he suffered.”

It went on: “We can only express our sincere regret to you and your family for what has happened and wish you both and your two boys Calum and Tom the very best for the future.

“CUMH have learned important lessons from your experience and we continue to educate out staff regarding the importance of optimal communication and escalation across all our multidisciplinary team.”

Representing Calum in court, Dr John O’Mahony SC said that his (Calum’s) speech is “enormously limited” due to his dyskinetic cerebral palsy. He is also confined to his wheelchair and needs full- time care. He said: “He was born in good condition and a bad infection developed. The hospital were not alert when they should have been, Calum developed meningitis and there were devastating personal sequelae for him and for the rest of his life.”

Calum was born on August 1 2012 and it was claimed that, following his delivery, there was a delay diagnosing and treating his Group B streptococcal infection. This delay was such that the infection evolved to the extent that he suffered with meningitis and a significant brain injury. It was also claimed that there was negligence as no one saw to it that the proper assessment of the baby was carried out. This was despite the fact that the midwives had recorded their concerns for the baby on three times on the afternoon/evening of August 2.

Following mediation talks in the birth negligence legal action liability was admitted and the settlement was agreed. The settlement is one of the highest before the High Court for a person who has suffered extensive brain damage at birth.

Calum’s mother Linda, speaking to the court after the approval of the settlement, said that she and her family hope their son will now receive the treatment he requires. She said: “We want him now to have a team working with him and to have one to one for speech and other therapies. He always has a big smile on his face and he is very sociable.”

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, as he was approving the settlement, said he felt it was a satisfactory settlement and should not be regarded as  a “bonus” by anybody. This settlement is to give assistance and treatment to Calum for the rest. he concluded by wishing the family well and commended the parents for the support that they have provided so far.