Interim Settlement Awarded for Medical Negligence at Maternity Hospital

A seven-figure settlement of compensation has been awarded by the High Court for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital.

The claim for compensation was made on behalf of Charlie Enright, a two year-old boy whose mother was admitted to the Limerick hospital when she was thirty-seven weeks pregnant with him in 2013.

After a medical examination, Charlie’s mother – Catriona – was put into an induced labour, for which the doctors administered Syntocinon. Even though the drug has well documented side effects, the medical staff still failed to adequately monitor Charlie’s condition in utero and as such he suffered from hyper-stimulation.

The next morning, the 20th August, Charlie was delivered “flat”, a term used to describe newborns unable to breathe without assistance. This was due to doctors’ misinterpretation of a cardiotocograpphy trace and delayed diagnosis of foetal distress. Charlie was then transferred to Cork University Hospital and later diagnosed with an intra-cranial haemorrhage. He then underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment.

Despite the treatment, Charlie sustained permanent brain damage. Acting on behalf of her son, Catriona made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executives for the lack of care she received before her son’s delivery. The HSE conducted an investigation and subsequently admitted their liability for Charlie’s injuries.

Negotiations ensued between the parties, though they were complicated by the fact that the future of Charlie’s condition is not yet known. As such, a €1.75 million interim settlement was negotiated such that Charlie could be provided for for the next two years whilst an assessment was undertaken.

The case then proceeded to the High Court of Dublin such that the settlement could be approved. Mr Justice Anthony Barr approved the settlement and adjourned the case for two years.