Today at the High Court a €23.5 million birth injury settlement was approved for 16-year-old Kameela Kuye, who suffered catastrophic brain injuries during her birth in 2004,This is the largest lump sump of birth injury compensation ever to be awarded in the Irish State.
With an address at Upper Clevedon, Kilmoney, Carrigaline, Co Cork, Kameela Kuye had taken the legal action, via her father, against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the circumstances of her delivery on December 22, 2004 at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork. The HSE denied liability in the case.
The High Court heard Kameela was in good condition at the beginning of her delivery labour but was ‘next to death’ by the time she was born. It was argued by the legal representatives of the Kuye family that there had been an inadequate watch maintained on Kameela’s foetal heart beat during her delivery. Due to this, they informed the Judge, the catastrophic and life-changing injuries that she sustained could have been avoided.
Additionally the legal team claimed that the infant was deprived of oxygen for a period of time and then sustained a significant brain injury due to her state of distress not being recognised. If it had been discovered more quickly a speedier delivery could have avoided any deprivation of oxygen. The Judge was informed that, rather that using continuous electronic monitoring, Kameela’s heart rate was recorded at 15-minute intervals during the initial stage part of labour and then at five-minute intervals throughout the second part of labour. When she was delivered, the infant had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.
Legal representatives for the HSE said, in defence, that there had been no indication that there was any need to additional for concerns due to the fact that this was the third child that Kameela’s mother was given birth two and there had been no complications in her previous two deliveries. Her mother was 28-years-old at the time of Kameela’s birth and in good health.
According the HSE there had been no sign that there was an issue while the infant’s heart rate until eight minutes before she was delivered. When the potential heart rate deceleration was noticed finally noticed an obstetric registrar was contacted. It was added that, even if the issue had been identified more quickly, it is unlikely that delivery would have taken place any more quickly. This claim was supported with defence documents stating the amount of time it took for the obstetric registrar in question to arrive on the scene and the number of potential interventions that would have required anaesthesia. Due to this the legal team for the defence argued that result of the delivery would have been the same, and infant would have suffered the significant brain injuries, regardless of the course of events that took place.
The birth injury compensation settlement was approved by the Judge without an admission of liability.
Kameela’s mother, Ganiyat, is currently participating in a Masters in Social Work programme while her father works in logistics. The court was told that family was satisfied with settlement. In a statement read to the High Court by the Kuye family’s legal team they said that the compensation award will ‘assist in her future care and give her a better quality of life’. They added that no amount of money can change Kameela’s life and the damages will not make up for the significant injuries that she suffered during her birth.