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.