All posts by imninfoadmin

€9.1m Birth Injury Compensation Awarded to Boy (7) with Cerebral Palsy

The High Court has approved a €9.1m birth injury compensation settlement for a seven-year-old boy with cerebral palsy in relation to the circumstances of his birth at Cavan General Hospital in 2011.

The boy, Jarrah Folkman, is unable to talk or walk, and his mother – Elysha McCrudden – stated in the High Court on Tuesday she will never hear her son’s voice. Reacting to the settlement she said it will go a long way towards her son’s future treatment but she regretted that windows of opportunities for Jarrah had been lost.  She went on to say that she and Jarrah’s father Ben Folkman have been made feel that what happened was their fault at times over the last seven years.

Mr Justice Cross, in approving the birth injury compensation settlement against the Health Service Executive,  praised Jarrah’s parents for the care they have given him at all times since his birth.

Through his mother Jarrah, with an address at Station Road, Cootehill, Co Cavan, took the birth injury compensation action against the HSE in relation to the circumstances of his birth at Cavan General on April 19, 2011.

In the High Court it was stated that there was an alleged failure to correctly interpret the CTG trace which showed a number of decelerations when Ms McCrudden was admitted to the hospital on April 15, 2011. Ms McCrudden was sent home and she returned to the hospital two days later.

It was also alleged that after Ms McCrudden’s admission the initial CTG trace was not noted as decelerative and a plan was not put in place to continue close monitoring and and prepare for an expedited delivery.

Counsel for Jarrah, Denis McCollough SC, alleged that an unsafe set of conditions had persisted during the course of the labour.  The baby, it was claimed, should have been born on April 16. Mr McCollough told the court that Jarrah  was flat and unresponsive when he was finally delivered and required resuscitation.

Liability was accepted in the case which was before the court for assessment of final damages only.

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State Claims Agency Conference Hears Medical Negligence Represents 50% of Total State Payouts

Child-birth related medical negligence cases make up over half of the overall compensation awards issued by the State according to numbers released on Friday at a State Claims Agency (SCA) conference on patient safety.

This is a significant figures when it is considered that maternity services represent only 3% of the Health Service Executive (HSE) annual budget. The release also pointed to the fact that maternity related compensation settlements have also gone up by roughly 80%.

Speaking at the conference, Clinical Director of the HSE’s National Women and Infant Health Programme Dr Peter McKenna said that preventable brain damage in normally formed infants is the “single biggest risk” in the HSE nd referred to occurences of this as “the most egregious insult the heath service can cause to a service user”.

He (Dr McKenna) claimed that, by spending a relatively small percentage (5%) of the funds that are paid out in compensation settlements,  the HSE could cut these preventable incidents by half. This argument is further highlighted by the fact that  in 2014 the State made compensation payments of €58m in childbirth related negligence cases. Dr McKenna also said that this 2014 amount represents 54% of the totalical negligence compensation payouts by the State in that year.

He said, referring to the fact that only €500 million of the HSE’s €15 billion budget goes on maternity services: “This is massive for a part of the health service that accounts for 3 per cent of total expenditure.

“In the past, six, seven, eight million might have been a big settlement. Now the figure is running at €15 million. The number of cases hasn’t changed but the payout amount has. I don’t think that one cent of what the parents get will compensate them for having a child that does not live up to their expectations,” Dr McKenna said. “If you think I am complaining about the size of the payouts, I’m not.”

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Landlord who Refused Rent Allowance Payment from Family Ordered to Pay €14,000

Following denying a family the opportunity pay a percentage of their rent through rent allowance for a 15-month period, a landlord has been ordered to pay them €14,000 in compensation.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer Ewa Sobanska issued a ruling stating that the landlord must pay €7,000 to each parent as she found the discrimination “to be at the more serious end of the scale”. She  added that she was awarding the compensation after taking into account the financial suffering, stress, inconvenience and financial and emotional pressures sustained by the married couple due to the landlord’s refusal to participate in the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme.

The married couple had initially asked the landlord to allow them pay rent allowance through HAP in May 2017. Hap is a scheme where landlords must register to allow their tenants participate. However, the couple have alleged that in March 2018 they received a letter from their landlord with the words “there is your HAP” written on the envelope. Upon opening it they discovered that it was an eviction letter.

The couple had agreed to a long-term rent deal of €950 monthly in December 2015 with the landlord.

The couple – who have four children aged 13, nine, six and two – were having difficulty is paying the rent and asked the landlord in May 2017 about availing of HAP and he replied: “We can talk but it’s most unlikely that I will be doing HAP.”

Following this, in January 2017, the couple sent on to the landlord correspondence from the agency Threshold advising that “a landlord must accept HAP and to refuse this is considered discrimination”.

After the ‘termination’ letter that the landlord sent in March 2017, he (the landlord) wrote to the couple to inform them that he did not refuse to facilitate the HAP assistance application but could not do so due to not having a Tax Clearance Certificate. He further stated that he had been making attempts to address this and the request for HAP assistance “has absolutely nothing to do with ending your tenancy”.

The landlord has been given 42 days in which to make the €14,000 compensation payment to the couple in question.

 

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Whooping Cough Death Compensation Settlement of €100k for Mother Approved

A medical negligence compesnation settlement of €100,000 has been approved in the High Court for a mother whose two-month-old son died two weeks after she brought him to hospital with what it was claimed were the classic signs of whooping cough.

The family’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony told the High Court a diagnosis of bronchiolitis was made at Cork University Hospital on Romi Betak, from Cork, when the baby actually was suffering from the whooping cough.

Maria Mullins (33), of Presentation Road, Gurranabraher, Cork, had taken the whooping cough compensation acttion against the Health Service Executive in relation to the death of Romi in August 2012.

Dr O’Mahony said the child’s condition deteriorated and a blood sample taken coagulated and could not be tested. It was argued that Counsel said if a repeat blood test had been completed, the course of treatment for Romi would have been different, as a diagnosis could have been reached. The High Court was told that the child was kept at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and his condition worsened.

Dr O’Mahon said “His heart was racing, his breath was racing. The penny never dropped until it was too late”.

Romi has initially been taken to Cork University Hospital on August 3 2012, it was claimed, by his parents as he seemed to be suffering from the usual symptons of whooping cough infection. These symptoms included episodes of breath holding, coughing spasms and thick copious secretions.

Despite the baby’s condition worsening it is claimed that his health was not reviewed again by a doctor until August 5. By the time of this review his breathing was more laboured but the probability of whooping cough was allegedly not considered.

It was claimed there was a failure at that stage to carry out a chest X-ray and a failure to discuss the possibility of the provision of antibiotics.

On August 9 and 10 Romi was tube fed consistent with his deteriorating respiratory status.

On August 11, it was claimed, the possibility of whooping cough infection was noted for the first time following another deterioration in the child’s condition. However there was still no medical intervention. A chest X-ray showed significant areas of lung infection

The next day, August 12, the Romi suffered a respiratory arrest and was resuscitated, intubated and transferred to a Dublin hospital where he sadly passed away on August 14.

The High Court was told liability remained an issue in the case while Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the whooping cough compensation settlement.

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HSE Agree €1m Compensation Settlement for Girl (13) Injured at Birth

In the High Court a 13-year-old girl, who was inflicted with a permanent disability due to a hip abnormality at birth not being diagnosed for six years, has settled her High Court Birth Injury Compensation action against the Health Service Executive for €1m.

The young girl, Nyomi Millea Melvey, can only walk for a period of three to five minutes before her hips seize up, her father Colin Melvey told the court. He told the court his daughter has done really well considering, but she has to work harder because of her disability. Mr Melvey added that Nyomi will also need three hip replacement operations throughout her life.

The condition, bilateral hip dysplasia was diagnosed, when the girl was six and, it was alleged, by then the options to address this were extremely limited.

Legal representative for Nyomi, Mr Liam Reidy, advised the Court that she was born with the condition where both hips were displaced, but that this was not diagnosed by physicians at the time. Nyomi, they said, had been examined on different times and there was an alleged failure to discover the abnormality that she displayed.

Through her mother Wendy Millea, Nyomi took the legal action against the HSE. Ms Millea had attended at Waterford Regional Hospital for antenatal care during her pregnancy. She gave birth to Nyomi was born on January 20, 2005, with bilateral hip dysplasia. It was at this time that the attending medical staff failed to spot the condition. The High Court was told that the condition was not diagnosed until February 2011.

It was also alleged there was a failure to recognise the underlying hip problem from simple observations despite the physical appearance of the child and concerns raised by her mother of Nyomi and an alleged failure to refer her for evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon or a suitably qualified professional healthcare person.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Paul Butler approved the settlement of €1,000,000 in birth injury misdiagnosis compensation.

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Man settles €850k Compensation Over his Wife’s Wrongful Death

Widower, Donal O’Sullivan, who took a wrongful death compensation action against a GP and the Health Service Executive after his wife died just a day after a blood test showed she had low levels of potassium, has settled his High Court compensation action for €850,000.

The court was told that mother-of-four Maureen O’Sullivan, who was in her 50s, should have been rushed to hospital after a test showed she had low levels of potassium. Due to this Mr O’Sullivan, from Crookstown Co Cork, sued GP Therese Crotty of Main Street, Ballincollig, Co Cork, and the HSE over the wrongful death of his wife on November 8, 2011.

It was alleged that on the previous November 4, Ms O’Sullivan had seen Dr Crotty as she was suffering from palpitations. A blood test was taken and taken for analysis at Cork University Hospital. On November 7 the result indicating severe hypokalaemia, a low level of potassium, was sent to the Doctor’s surgery in Ballincollig.

The GP, it is claimed, did not arrange to admit Ms O’Sullivan to hospital immediately upon learning she suffered severe hypokalaemia did not advise the patient that this is what she was suffering from.

Furthermore, it was argued that the HSE did not adequately communicate the importance of the abnormal blood test results to the doctor and that there was an absence of appropriate systems of communication. Additionally, it was further stated by Mr O’Sullivan’s legal representatives that the HSE had depended on a clerical officer to communicate the test results that they required urgent clinical attention.

In a letter read to the court, Dr Crotty and the HSE apologised for their role in the events that led to Ms O’Sullivan’s death. It addressed the O’Sullivan family on behalf of Dr Crotty saying: “I deeply regret the tragic circumstances that led to the death of your wife, mother and sister Ms Maureen O’Sullivan. I apologise unreservedly for the part I played in the events leading up to her death. I am acutely conscious of the pain and suffering which this has caused to you all.”

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€105,000 Workplace Accident Compensation Award for Former Supermarket Worker Following Cold Room Injury

€105,000 Workplace Accident Compensation Award for Former Supermarket Worker Following Cold Room Injury

The Court of Appeal (CoA) has upheld a €105,000 workplace accident award for a former part-time supermarket employee who suffered an injury when she fell while driving a pallet truck holding stock.

Pamela Phoenix, a 37-year-old female now living in Canada, and formerly of McDonnell Drive, Athy, Co Kildare, took the legal accident against Dunnes Stores in relation to the accident that occurred on September 18, 2006. Ms Phoenix was attempting to move the pallet truck backwards in a cold room when she slipped and fell heavily on her bottom and back.

Ms Phoenix was awarded her €105,929 workplace accident compensation in the High Court in 2016 after that court accepted that she suffered chronic back pain and depressive symptomatology due to the accident. By October 2007 she had gained a considerable amount of weight. The judge stated that he felt she was a credible witness who did not exaggerate the extent of her injuries.

The workplace compensation award was appealed by Dunnes. They argued that the cold room accident compensation award was excessive and disproportionate.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, speaking on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal, upheld the workplace compensation award saying while it was probably in the upper range of what is appropriate, given the role of an appeallate court in other case law, the Court of Appeal cannot take any action.

Following the accident Ms Phoenix was rushed by ambulance to St Lukes’ hospital in Kilkenny. Her X-rays came back clear and she was discharged with some pain-killing medication. In the days following the accident she had to use crutches to get around.

She had difficulty re-assuming the same workload that she had managed before the accident and changed jobs to a role with Elverys. In 2007, still suffering from a considerable amount of back pain, she lost that role. She also has difficulty in continuing her studies at Maynooth University and became very psychologically vulnerable, eventually suffering from depressions when she became pregnant and suffered a miscarriage in 2008. She eventually moved to Canada in 2013 where she married and had a baby boy in 2016.

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Girl (11) Damaged at Birth Awarded €10m Compensation Payout

The High Court has approved a €10m compensation settlement for an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy due to the circumstances of her birth at Mayo General Hospital.

This overall payment means that €12.2m is not the total amount paid to Rachel Gallagher of Straide, Foxford, Co Mayo.

Her legal representative Denis McCullough advised the court that Rachel’s parents felt strongly that they would like to complete the process with a final lump sum compensation payment. This is, he told the Hight Court, the Rachel and her family  found the ongoing process – including medical examinations and assessments before court appearances – extremely difficult.

Approving the birth injury compensation settlement against the HSE, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly stated that this would have been Rachel’s third time in court. Prior to each Court appearance, she had to go through “a battery of tests and assessments” and this created a lot of trauma for Rachel and her family.

The judge said it was a good bith injury compensation settlement that would provide for Rachel for life. Ciara Hynes, Rachel’s mother, the HSE on her behalf in relation to the events around her birth on September 28, 2006.

Ms Hynes was taken to Mayo General on September 27 and the following morning they began to induce the birth and syntocinon was started after midday.

Rachel was delivered in poor condition. It was alleged there was a failure to adequately manage and monitor the labour, delivery and birth of the baby. The court heard negligence was accepted in the case. Senior Counsel Denis McCullough advised the court that Rachel required one-to-one care because she is in danger of falling.

Counsel told the court that she (Rachel) is currently in fifth class at school and it is hoped she will go on to attend both secondary school and university.

When the Judge announced the approval, Rachel put up her hand to be allowed to thank the judge, Mr Justice Kelly.

Mr Justice Kelly remarked said very few judges are thanked and he was very grateful to Rachel. He commented that it was a good settlement, which will provide Rachel with the care she will require for the remainder of her life.

 

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Cerebral Palsy Against the HSE Settled for €1.9m

A 20-year-old woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has won a €1.9m interim from the HSE after the way her birth was managed.

Shauni Breen, who was born at Wexford General Hospital just 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister, suffers from cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is restricted to a wheelchair. The High Court was told, by Ms Breen’s Legal Representative, that the medical team present at the time did not recognise that it was a high-risk labour.

Ms Breen, who now lives in Glanmire, Co Cork, Ms Breen began the birth compensation case against the HSE due to the events at the time of her delivery on December 30, 1997. Their mother Marie Foley was taken to Wexford General Hospital at 5am on the morning in question.  Following her healthy twin sister Nicole’s  birth at 6.10am the delivery of Shauni lasted for around 40 minutes and was, allegedly, handled in a negligent manner. There was no anesthetist present or adequate supporting team present to deal with every possible eventuality.

The HSE denied these claims in the High Court and argued that management of the birth complied with standard best practice and was consistent with normal procedures in Irish maternity units at the time of the birth in 1997.

Ms Breen’s team of legal representatives claimed that Shauni was showing an  abnormal presentation prior to delivery and should have been delivered by caesarean section within 15 minutes of Nicole’s birth. However, due to issues in the delivery of Ms Breen, she had to be resuscitated and was taken to another hospital.

High Court Judge Kevin Cross approved the €1.9m cerebral palsy birth injury compensation settlement. Ms Breen will come back to court in five years’ time when her future care needs will be assessed in relation to further required costs.

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Boy (8) Awarded Birth Accident Injury Compensation Award of €65,000

The High Court has approved a birth injury compensation settlement of €65,000 for a boy, now aged eight years old. Dara Brennan allegedly experienced a facial injury during his delivery at the Coombe Hospital on November 12, 2009.

It is thought that Dara, Brayton Park, Kilcock, Co Kildare, suffered the injury to his face as a result of an attempted forceps delivery at the hospital.

To this day resultant scarring and two indentations on the right side of his face remain visible when he smiles.

Lorraine Brennan, acting on behalf of her son, took the compensation action against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital due to the alleged negligence Dara encountered during his birth.

Legal Counsel alleged that the incorrect use of forceps during the delivery inflicted the scars to right side of Dara Brennan’s face. Legal representatives for the boy claimed that there was an absence of the required level of care, competence, judgment and skill appropriate during the delivery of the boy.

It was argued that a more senior or experienced doctor in obstetrics should have attended the birth of Dara Brennan. Counsel for the Coombe Hospital denied these claims.

The High Court was advised by Dara’s legal team that liability was fully contested in the case. In addition, medical experts could not agree on the specific circumstances of the delivery.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross remarked, while approving the birth scarring compensation settlement said that it was as close to complete  compensation as possible for Dara Brennan.

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