Compensation for Brain Damage due to a Failure to Act Approved for Teenager

Following a High Court Hearing in Dublin, an interim settlement of compensation for brain damage due to a failure to act has been approved for a Tipperary teenager who was born with cerebral palsy.

The teenager – Ryan Brennan from Cahir in County Tipperary – was born in January 2000 at the St. Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel several hours after a foetal trace had indicated abnormalities in his heart rate. Ryan was born in a poorly condition and had to be resuscitated shortly after his delivery. He also suffered seizures throughout the rest of the day and was subsequently diagnosed with irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy.

It was claimed by Ryan´s parents that Ryan´s injuries could have been avoided if the staff at St Joseph´s Hospital and, in particular, consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – had acted with as soon as the foetal trace had identified a problem, and they made a compensation claim for brain damage due to a failure to act on behalf of their son against Dr Powell and the HSE.

Both the HSE and Dr Powell denied the allegations of a failure to act, negligence, a breach of contract by the hospital and a breach in the duty of care by Dr Powell but, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that an agreement had been reached with the HSE on an interim settlement of compensation for brain damage due to a failure to act, without an admission of liability and with the case against Dr Powell struck out.

The interim settlement amounts to €1.7 million and is valid for two years while a review of Ryan´s future needs is conducted and to allow for the proposed introduction of a structured compensation payment system in Ireland. Ms Justine Mary Irvine approved the settlement – describing it as ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’ as she did.