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HSE Agree to pay Compensation Settlement in relation to Death of Infant

A High Court legal action against the Health Service Executive has been settled in favour of a mother whose baby died ten months after being delivered at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Justice Garrett Simons was informed that settlement was agreed between Katelyn McCarthy’s mother Sharon McCarthy and the HSE.

In an RTÉ Prime Time in 2014 Katelyn was portrayed as Baby X in a documentary report that investigated the deaths of a number of babies at the hospital in Co Laois. 

Representing Ms McCarthy in Court, Alistair Rutherdale BL instructed by solicitor Roger Murray, informed Justice Simons that after the documentary was broadcast in 2014, two investigations were conducted, but Katelyn’s parents were not informed about the findings of these.

It was claimed that a delay in getting the opinion of an obstetrician and a subsequent failure to speed up the child’s delivery by emergency caesarean section resulted in further complications for the infant. Ms McCarthy informed the court that the medical expert for the plaintiff would argue that Katelyn should have been delivered prior to 2am. Additionally it was claimed that there was a failure to investigate the foetal well-being by obtaining a foetal blood sample. Following the delivery of her daughter Ms McCarthy was informed by medical staff that the outcome was unavoidable.

The court was also informed that there have already been two separate HSE investigations to look into Katelyn’s death. These investigations resulted in two reports, one in July 2009 and another in March 2012 being produced. Ms McCarthy was not involved in any way in either investigation and was not even informed of the existence of the reports until 2014.

She told the court: “I subsequently heard of media coverage of certain deaths in Portlaoise Hospital and only learned at that time that Katelyn was one of these”.

Justice Simons said he was giving his approval for the compensation settlement and the division of a statutory mental distress payment which in this case was just over €25,000. he remarked that was connected to the sad passing of the infant Katelyn McCarthy. he also ruled the solatium should be divided between the parents Sharon and Thomas as he said they had experienced the most severe emotional distress.



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€18m Birth Injury Compensation for Six-year-old Boy

At the High Court today a six-year-old boy has been awarded an €18m compensation settlement in relation to the injuries he sustained after being deprived of oxygen at the time of his birth at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

The defendant in the legal action, the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) issued an official apology to the young boy, who now has cerebral palsy, due to the failures and mistakes that were made as he was being delivered. 

The young boy in question, Fionn Feeley, suffers with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is unable to communicate verbally and must have care in place at all times.

A letter of apology was read out in the High Court as Fionn Feely settled his legal action against the hospital for €18m. The letter to the Feelys, which was read to the court, was from the Master of the NMH, Professor Shane Higgins.

It said: “On behalf of the National Maternity Hospital I wish to sincerely apologise for the shortcomings in care during Mrs Feely’s labour and delivery in April 2015 and to Fionn for his devastating injuries. We do not underestimate how difficult and traumatic it has been for you and your family and acknowledge the challenges that you have faced on a daily basis since that time and we are truly sorry.”

Instructed by solicitor Lyndy Cantillon and Senior Counsel Liam Reidy the boy’s family informed the Judge that they were arguing that Fionn’s delivery  should have been completed three hours earlier. They added that fighting for Fionna to have justice in relation to the mistakes that were made has changed them considerably. 

At the High Court Mr Reidy said was his clients’ contention the insult to his brain was towards the end of the labour. He said: “We say, if he had been delivered in accordance with proper standards, there would not be brain damage.”

Fionn, through his father, took the legal action for birth injury compensation against the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, Dublin, in relation to the circumstances of his birth in April 2015.

The legal action alleged that there was a failure in relation to the steps that were taken during the pregnancy and labour of Mrs Feely along with a shortcoming in relation to monitoring the baby’s foetal heart rate.

Finally there was a claim that there was a failure to identify and address the symptoms or signs of foetal distress and a failure to consider a caesarean section delivery due to the circumstance of elevated maternal temperature and pathological CTG trace.

The NMH accepted that a breach of duty had occurred in relation to Fionn’s labour and delivery.

After the compensation award was approved, a statement read outside the Four Courts by  Fionn’s father Stephen said that over the last six years they have known sadness, worry and grief on a daily basis, but their son is much more than his diagnosis.”

He said Fionn is happy, funny, clever, mischievous, playful, inquisitive and, above all, loving.

He said: “We are his world, and he is ours. Our hope now is that we finally have the opportunity to enjoy just being parents to Fionn, as opposed to primarily being his carers and then we will also have a chance to give him absolutely everything he needs and deserves to get the most out of his life.”

He continued: “There has been no respite from our grief, no respite from our daily struggles and worries, no respite from the what-ifs and whys and the thoughts of what could have been. No amount can account for what Fionn has lost or ever bring back the child that Fionn should have been, but this money will go towards giving him a future he can look forward to and thrive in.”

Earlier the boy’s parents had informed the court, through their legal representation, that “like many people anticipating the birth of their first child, our hopes and dreams were wrapped up in one little person. Those dreams were shattered, and it is difficult to describe the devastation we experienced. The joy of holding our first-born child in our arms was taken from us. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, it became our worst.”

As he was giving his final approval for the birth injury compensation settlement, Justice Paul Coffey praised Feelys and said they were exceptional parents to their young son.


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€1.25m Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Man Whose Wife Died Days After Giving Birth

At the HIgh Court a €1.25m settlement has been agreed for a man whose 38-year-old wife died just days after giving birth to her first baby.

Anne Casey passed away at Cork University Maternity Hospital just 11 days after suffering cardiac arrest during a lung scan. Mrs Casey, who had a previously experienced cardiac complications was over 37 weeks pregnant at the time of the cardiac arrest. She had attended hospital to have a marked cough, that had caused her to become breathless during the previous three weeks, reviewed by medical staff. The decision was taken to admit her that Friday but there was no consultant available to tend to her during the subsequent weekend.

Mr Casey’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC informed the Judge that Mrs Casey was treated for a respiratory infection and no other action was taken when it appeared that this was not addressing the issue. He said that she (Mrs Casey) went into cardiac arrest during the  lung scan and a team of up to 12 doctors were required for the attempts to save her and deliver her baby, he said. Additionally Mr O’Mahony informed the Court that Mrs Casey had been diagnosed with insulin-requiring diabetes and was also overweight.

The baby was delivered through emergency caesarean section on the X-ray table. Initially Mrs Casey regained a pulse and was taken to the ICU for further treatment and observation. Sadly it was discovered that she had sustained a devastating brain injury and the situation didn’t not alleviate over the following nine days.

A decision was taken to remove life support on March 7, 2012 and she died just two days later.

An inquest at the hospital in relation to Mrs Casey’s death resulted in a recommendation that all individuals  with complex medical conditions and new symptoms must be seen to by by a consultant in less 24 hours following their admission.

Mrs Casey’s now 49-year-old husband Dominic Casey – with an address at Lettergorman, Dunmanway, Co Cork – had taken the wrongful death legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death on March 9, 2012. The claims include in the legal action said that there was a failure to properly assess, diagnose and treat Mrs Casey when she presented in the emergency department with breathlessness and that it had been mistakenly assumed she was suffering from a respiratory infection.

The HSE refuted all of the claims were denied and a submitted a full defence to the case.

As he was giving hi sapproval for the compensation settlement, presiding Judge Justice Cross offered his sympathies to the Casey family.

Speaking during the hearing Mr Casey detailed how he had been outside the X-ray department at the time his wife went into cardiac arrest. He said: “I saw the chaos. I felt numb and stunned. I thought my wife and baby son were both gone.”



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16-Year-Old Girl Awarded €23.5m Birth Injury Compensation due to Injuries Sustained during Delivery

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.





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Alleged Negligence Hospital Compensation Settlement €68,000 Approved for Family of Deceased Woman

The relatives of a woman who passed away following suffering from a sepsis infection brought on by peritonitis have had a €68,000 compensation settlement from the HSE for alleged negligence in her treatment approved.

72-year-old Rose Malley passed away at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin, on March 19, 2015. Ms Malley, who had a history of pancreatitis, allegedly died after suffering from septic as she was having a Peg feeding tube shifted to address her health issues.

Yesterday at the High Court Justice Garrett Simons gave his approval for a compensation settlement in relation to Mrs Malley’s untimely death. Mrs Malley was mother to a family of six and lived in Crossmolina, Co Mayo at the time of her death.

The HSE medical negligence includes the complete €35,000 solatium – the statutory payment according to the Civil Liability Act – €8,402 in special damages, and all other measured legal expenses.

Catherine O’Malley – daughter of the deceased woman – from  Latchford Green, Clonee, Dublin submitted the legal action on behalf of her family. They were represented in court by Alistair Rutherdale BL.

IMr Rutherford told the court that it was being claimed that there was negligence involved in the insertion, monitoring and application of a Peg tube. This, he said, resulted in Mrs O’Malley sustaining the sepsis infection that lead to her death.

Mrs O’Malley was receiving treatment in relation to cholecystitis, inflammation of the gallbladder. Due to this she was scheduled for the surgery in October 2012 at Mayo General Hospital. It was alleged by the plaintiff that choosing to leave gallstones in place lead to a heightened danger of more problems, such as acute pancreatitis, occuring.

Mr Rutherdale said the family were arguing that Mrs O’Malley should not have been discharged on December 3 after attending Blanchardstown hospital on December 27, 2014. She had been suffering with symptoms including vomiting at the time. On January 5 she was readmitted and diagnosed with pancreatitis and pneumobilia.

Counsel for the plaintiff told the court that their mother was completing a slow recovery and, as part of that, she had a Peg feeding tube inserted on March 13, 2015. Tragically, it appears that the tube had moved and peritonitis developed which lead to her death.

A €68,000 settlement was agreed and the family released a statement to say that they submitted the action to “highlight the deficiencies” in their mother’s treatment.

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€4.7m Interim Compensation Settlement for Girl who Sustained Serious Brain Injury in Car Crash

A €4.7m interim car crash injury compensation payout has been approved in a High Court action taken by a five-year old girl who suffered a serious brain injury when, as a baby, she was a involved in a road traffic collision.

When the head on car crash occurred Luna Vezignol McGuinness was just over three months old. She was on  holidays with her parents in Lissycasey, Co Clare on February 27, 2016.

Luna’s counsel, Oonah McCrann SC, instructed by Ernest Cantillon, solicitor, said the compensation action was being taken as a result of the ‘tragic circumstances; of the accident. She informed the court that Luna’s father, who is originally from France a French national was driving the family car at this time of the crash. He was pulling out from a petrol station and suffered from “a momentary lapse of concentration”. Unfortunately he drove onto the road prior to the infant being fully strapped in and secured in the baby seat.

Luna sustained multiple skull fractures and she was rushed by helicopter to a hospital in Limerick and later moved to Dublin, where she underwent surgery. She was not sent home from hospital until the end of April 2016 and she then spent four months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital. Counsel said Luna is very much loved and brings joy to all her family.

It was alleged in the legal action that Luna’s father Mr Vezignol drove the hire car on the incorrect side of the carriageway and the collision took place an oncoming vehicle. It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to see to it that the intended path of travel was safe and free of vehicles and an alleged failure to keep any proper regard for other road users.

Liability was accepted in the legal action, which was before the court for assessment of damages only.

The Judge was informed that Luna suffers with a type of cerebral palsy and is a beautiful little girl. While her father remains in full-time employment, her mother devotes “every minute of every day” to her daughter’s care. Despite Luna’s uncle and mother both suffering injuries in the crash they had not brought compensation claims in relation to said injuries.

Luna was taking the legal action – through her mother Orla Vezignol McGuinness who has an address at Donadea, Co Kildare – against her own father Laurent Vezignol, and the owner of the car, Flynn Bros Rent a Car Ballygar, Athlone Road, Roscommon town.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, in giving his approval for the interim compensation settlement,  praised both parents for the care that they are providing for the their daughter. He said that Luna has progressed greatly due to this care and that the claim was necessary claim. Additionally he remarked that other significant claims by Luna’s mother and uncle had not been pursued.

The case to due for further consideration in five years when her future care needs will be assessed.



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Childbirth Negligence Compensation Settlement of €3m for Limerick Man (27)

27-year-old Kennedy O’Brien from Limerick has settled his High Court birth negligence compensation in relation to the care he received at t Munchin’s Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick in 1993.

The legal action, was was referred to as ‘enormously complex, was settled with no acceptance of liability.

The young man’s legal representative in court informed the Judge that they were alleging that it had taken more than three hours for the medical team to review the new born baby’s blood sugar levels. This was at the time of Mr O’Brien’s delivery in 1993.

An additional claim stated that, following Mr O’Brien’s birth, there was a failure to feed him inside of the first hour post delivery or review blood sugar levels in a timely fashion as is so vital. This alleged absence of monitoring post delivery until Mr O’Brien was more than three hours old had a massive impact on him, it was claimed. Counsel alleged that a major delay in reacting to Mr O’Brien’s severe hypoglycaemia then impacted his long-term neurological condition.

Taking the legal action via his mother, Helen Egan O’Brien, Mr O’Brien with an address at Knockbrack West, Lisnagry, Co Limerick, sued the Health Service Executive in relation to the standardof care following his delivery at the hospital. At the time of his birth at 9.13am on September 14, 1993 Mr O’Brien weighed 2.6kg. It was claimed he was growth-­restricted and in particular danger of ­hypoglycaemia in the neonatal period. Counsel told the High Court that the newborn baby should have been fed early and blood sugar measurements should have been taken soon after this.

However, when the blood sugar levels were finally tested at around 12.25pm, it was discovered that claimed the measurement was so low it did not register on the glucometer which was used. Allegation were made that this situation should have resulted in emergency treatment for the infant.

The following day, September 15 1993, it seen that Kennedy was jittery. However, he was feeding regularly and still having some dextrose intravenously. After this he experience seizures and was diagnosed with cognitive delay. All of these allegation were denied by the counsel for the defence.

Mr O’Brien underwent an MRI brain scan when he was aged 16. It was alleged that this scan indicated there were some changes and which allegedly may have been caused by hypoglycaemia in the neonatal period.

As he was giving his approval for the childbirth negligence compensation, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the figure of €3m was a very good one. Kennedy’s father, Kennedy Snr, informed the court the family was satisfied with how everything has gone so far and added that his son needed ongoing support and “we are there for him”.

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Girl who Lost Mother to Breast Cancer after Birth Awarded €900,000 Compensation

In the High Court a nine-year-old girl has settled for a wrongful death of family member action for €900,000.

Eugene Gleeson SC , acting on behalf of Gracie Hamilton informed the Court that she Garcia was delivered at 28 weeks and five days gestation due to the fact that her mother Melissa was suffering from Stage 4 breast cancer. He informed the the young mother died of breast cancer after two missed opportunities to diagnose the disease.

In a previous compensation action in 2015, Gracie’s father, Séamus Hamilton and his two other daughters Jessica (now 15) and Darcey (now 11) settled their High Court actions for €1.35 million in relation to the same incident. Melissa was just 34 years old a the time of her death on September 8, 2011, just eight days after the birth of Gracie. Melissa has only been diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks previous to her death.

In the earlier legal action Letterkenny General Hospital issued an unreserved apology that Melissa Hamilton’s cancer was not diagnosed and dealt with at an earlier stage. The letter, which was read out in court expressed “deepest and sincere regrets” on the devastating loss of Melissa to Seamus and his daughters. It read: “I realise no words can make up for the loss that you and your children have experienced and our thoughts are with you all in these difficult times.”

The Health Service Executive (HSE) it was alleged had been responsible for failings in the the control, management and operation of the Breast Centre North West triple assessment clinic in Letterkenny General Hospital. In addition to this it had a duty to take all reasonable steps to safeguard Mrs Hamilton’s life and a duty to those close to her including Gracie.

It was further claimed there was a failure to diagnose Mrs Hamilton’s cancer at an earlier treatable stage and negligent delay in achieving a cancer diagnosis. Liability was accepted in the case.

Mr Gleeson SC informed presiding Judge Justice Kevin Cross that  Gracie suffers with congenital sensory neural deafness and has undergone a nine-hour surgical procedure in order to insert an implant in her ear to try and address this. Gracie, he informed the Judge, is doing very well at school but her options for a career in future will be severely restricted. Gracie Hamilton , Sallywood, Killygordon,Lifford, Co Donegal took the legal action against the HSE via her father Seamus Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton, speaking in court, said that Gracie is a “fighter” and that, while the settlement would not bring back his wife, he was satisfied with the outcome. He added: “We are overcoming the hurdles.”

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, in approving the cancer misdiagnosis settlement, said he was delighted to hear Gracie is doing so well.

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Boy Awarded €22.5m Delayed Diagnosis Birth Accident Compensation Settlement at High Court

At the High Court an eight-year-old boy has had an €22.5m brain damage at birth compensation settlement approved. He had contracted meningitis infection in the days after his birth.

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

The settlement is one of the highest before the High Court for a person who has suffered extensive brain damage at birth.

Calum’s legal counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC informed the court that the young boy’s speech is “enormously limited” and he suffers with dyskinetic cerebral palsy requiring 24-hour care and  is confined to a wheelchair.

Dr O’Mahony continued: “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.”

In the legal action it was alleged that there was a delay, following Calum’s birth on August 1, 2012,  in diagnosing and treating his Group B streptococcal infection to the point where it progressed to the stage where he suffered meningitis and significant brain injury. In addition to this it was also alleged there was a failure to ensure the proper assessment of the baby when midwifery personnel had recorded their concerns for the baby on three occasions on the afternoon/evening of August 2.

Liability was accepted in the case and the settlement was agreed by all parties in the legal action.

Speaking to the court following the approval of the settlement, the family said they hope their son will now receive the treatment he needs. Calum’s mother Linda informed Mr Justice Kevin Cross how Calum and her family have suffered. 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.”

In approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he felt it was a good one and should not be thought of as  a “bonus” by anybody. Rather it is to provide assistance and treatment to Calum for the remainder of his life. He concluded by wishing the family well for the future and praised the parents for the support that they have provided to Calum.

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€35,000 Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Family Due to ‘Very Tragic’ Death of Infant Son

A wrongful death compensation payment of €35,000 has been approved at the High Action in a legal action taken by the family of an infant boy, who died a few hours after he was delivered, against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.

Richard Kean SC, instructed by solicitor Caoimhe Haughey for the plaintiffs said that the case arose out of what the untimely and “very tragic” death of baby Rory.

The November 19 2015 death of infant  Rory Jason Sweeney Butler at the maternity hospital resulted in his parents, Assumpta Sweeney and Jason Butler, submitted a medical negligence compensation action against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. The alleged that the hospital had behaved in a negligent manner and that, due to their son Rory’s wrongful death in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit they experienced nervous shock for a number of months.

The defendant in the case accepted liability.

Mr Justice Robert Eager formally approved the statutory compensation award, referred to as the solatium for distress, to the family of the infant at the High Court. The award will be paid to Assumpta and Jason, who live in Drimnagh, Dublin 12, and to Rory’s  brothers and sisters. The court was informed that family members had waived any entitlement to any payment out of the award.

The Court was also informed that there are due to be additional, but separate, legal proceedings taken in relation the the circumstances of Rory’s death.

This not the first time that the Coombe Hospital has been directed, by the Courts, to pay compensations in relation to complications arising during the birth of a child. In 2013 the maternity  hospital was found liable in a dyskinetic cerebral palsy medical negligence compensation claim which was taken by the parents of a then 10–year-old boy who was born suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia,  which a subsequent investigation into the claim for dyskinetic cerebral palsy revealed was due to medical negligence. €65,000 medical negligence was award to a boy, Dara Brennan, who sustained a facial injury during his delivery at the Coombe Hospital on November 12, 2009 and €15m was awarded to Eoin McCallig from Dunkineely in Co Donegal and his parents in relation to the injuries he sustained his birth. These injuries were caused by Eoin being deprived of oxygen at birth.


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