All Posts in Category: Childbirth Medical Negligence

Medical Negligence Compensation Settlement in Malak Thawley Legal Action

An undisclosed compensation settlement has been agreed in relation to the medical negligence involved in the death of a woman, Malak Thawley, during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy in 2016.

Her husband, Alan Thawley settled his High Court action for medical negligence compensation.

Mrs Thawley, , a teacher and a US citizen, was pregnant with her  first when she died during a surgical  procedure at the Holles Street hospital on May 8, 2016. She was 34 years old.

Mr Thawley told the court last week that the death of his partner was due to a “cascade of negligence”. His legal representative, Liam Reidy SC, said that the doctor who was responsible for the surgical procedure that resulted in Malak’s death was an inexperienced junior surgeon.

He went on to say that the negligent actions of the medics included taking the decision was taken to cool Mrs Thawley’s brain with ice and then finding that there was no ice in the hospital. Following this two doctors were sent to a close by pub to get ice.

Presiding judge, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was advised that he could strike out the case as it had been settled for compensatory damages only and aggravated or exemplary damages were not included. There were no further details of the medical negligence settlement were provided.

Alan Thawley, speaking to the press outside the Court, said that he was glad to have come to a settlement after a long and difficult process. He remarked: “There is no compensation that could replace the profound loss of my wife’s untimely and needless death”.

Mr Thawley added: “The proceedings were brought forth to expose the cascade of negligence demonstrated by the hospital”.

He will also assisting with the Department of Health’s Ministerial Inquiry to help to prevent other people suffering, as he has, going forward.

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EMA Hearing on Epilim Addressed by Irish Woman

A Co Meath mother of three sons, who have suffered major illness as a result of complication caused  by the Epilepsy treatment drug Epilim, has addressed at the European Medicines Agency review (EMA) into its use by pregnant women.

In September 2017), Karen Keely, a representative of the Foetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome Forum impressed on the review hearing the ramifications that her sons have experienced due to her being prescribed the drug at the time she was pregnant with them. They will now face issue over the remainder of their lives, two of them can neverhope to live a ‘normal’ life.

Ms Keely said: ““I have been mourning my children since the day they came into my life and I’m determined to not let this injustice happen to other families in the same way that it has happened to mine.”

Karen implored that a national register in Ireland of those who were on the medicine and people who are being prescribed it in the future must be set up. In addition to this Ms Keely asked for more research into the scale of the problem and accountability to be funded and supported. According to her the HSE had information available on the Internet but wider publicity about it’s available is necessary.

The EMA public hearing, which begun on 9 March 2017 at the request of the French medicines regulator, ANSM hosted citizens of six European Union member states describing their experience to the PRAC (Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee) members attending. it has been acknowledged that Epilim can cause physical deformities, brain damages and autism in children whose mothers are treated with it when they are pregnant.  At present being considered a major factor in 40 cases of birth defects and disabilities, made known to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in recent times.

The outcomes of the EMA review are predicted to lead to new recommendations regarding the use of Epilim in Ireland will be drawn up by the HPRA.

 

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€15m Birth Injury Compensation for Boy (4) who was Deprived Oxygen at Birth

The High Court has approved a €15 million Birth Injury Compensation settlement for a boy, now aged 4, who was injured during his birth at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

The hospital apologised to Eoin McCallig from Dunkineely in Co Donegal, and his parents for his injuries and for the devastating consequences for the family.

Following an apology issued by the hospital to the boy, Eoin McCallig his father, Anthony, said the family could forgive a mistake. However, they could not forgive the way HSE treated their family and others in similar cases.

Mr McCallig said that there must be a “better way” of handling cases involving catastrophically injured children than via litigation lasting years to a “bitter end” and last-minute settlement offers. He advised the High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the culture and procedures need to change.

He claimed that the HSE has spent approximately €800m in the course of the last ten years in fighting these cases. Mr McCallig stated that this money could be put to better use.

He said the settlement of €15m birth injury compensation settlement would never change what happened to Eoin, but it would provide some solace as they knew that Eoin would now be looked after if anything happened to his parents.

The Coombe Hospital, the court was told, stopped monitoring Eoin’s heart rate at 9.30am on the morning of his birth.

Eoin’s parents claimed that if he had been monitored after this, medical staff would have seen he was in distress before he was born at around 11.30am. The court heard he had been deprived of oxygen in the 20 minutes just before he was born.

It was claimed that if Eoin had been monitored and delivered early, he would not have suffered such injuries. The court was told Eoin was a very clever boy, but he cannot walk or talk and can communicate only with his eyes and expressions.

In a statement released through their solicitor, Michael Boylan, Eoin McCallig’s parent said the birth injury settlement was welcome but the family “would hand this €15 million settlement back in a heartbeat if Eoin could get back what was robbed from him in those two precious hours before his birth”.

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Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Birth Brain Injuries

A High Court judge has approved a $15 million settlement of compensation for birth brain injuries due to alleged negligence in favour of a nine-year-old boy.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the nine-year-old boy was born at Cork University Hospital at 9:00pm on August 11th 2008 after allegedly showing signs of foetal distress throughout the day. Among the alleged errors made by hospital staff prior to the boy´s delivery there had been a failure of skill in clinical history taking, and in the examination of the baby and his mother.

It was also alleged there had been an unreasonable delay in acting upon a CTG trace that indicated a variable decline in the foetal heart rate. As a result, it was claimed, the boy suffered brain birth injuries. Due to cerebral palsy and epilepsy, the boy suffers daily seizures, has visual and cognitive impairments, is confined to a wheelchair and requires full-time care. He will never be able to live independently.

Soon after the boy´s birth, his parents claimed compensation for birth brain injuries against Cork University Hospital and the HSE. Liability was eventually admitted in February last year after an eight-year wait, during which time the boy´s parents provided the majority of his care due to community services in Kerry being “almost non-existent” the boy´s mother told Judge Cross.

Prior to the judge approving the settlement of compensation for birth brain injuries, a statement was read to the family by representatives of Cork University Hospital, in which the hospital apologized for the errors that led to the boy´s brain injuries. The boy´s mother also read a statement to the court in which she described her son as a very happy boy who like being out on the fresh air.

Approving the settlement of compensation for birth brain injuries, Judge Cross ordered €720,000 of the settlement to be paid to the boy´s parents as special damages and the remainder to be paid into court. The judge said it was a very good settlement, and he wished the boy and his family well for the future.

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Class Action for Side Effects of Sodium Valproate Started in France

A class action for the side effects of sodium valproate has been started in France on behalf of children who sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb.

Sodium valproate is an active ingredient of the drug Epilim. Epilim was introduced in Ireland in 1983 after successfully treating patients in France for epilepsy and bipolar disorder for almost twenty years. Because it works by stabilising electrical activity in the brain, Epilim has also been prescribed for migraine and chronic pain.

Unbeknown to the medical profession in Ireland, pregnant women taking Epilim break down the sodium valproate and it is absorbed into the bloodstream as valproic acid. The valproic acid travels along the bloodstream and into the womb, where it can have an adverse effect on the development of the foetus. Children who have sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb have been born with a wide range of health issues from autism to spina bifida, and from a cleft palate to kidney development problems.

The side effects of sodium valproate during pregnancy were identified before the drug was introduced in Ireland, but the evidence was allegedly covered up due to not being sufficiently conclusive. Small scale studies have also failed to conclusively prove a link between Epilim and the side effects of sodium valproate during pregnancy, but now France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) has looked deeper into the issue and produced an alarming report.

ANSM researched the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken the French-branded equivalent of Epilim during their pregnancies. The agency believes it has identified up to 4,100 children suffering from the side effects of sodium valproate and discovered that hundreds of stillbirths during the period were also attributable to foetal valproate syndrome.

The results of ANSM´s research have prompted a class action against in France against the manufacturer of Epilim – Sanofi – on behalf of the children who sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb. The parents of the children claim that Sanofi did not do enough to warn the medical profession of the risks associated with taking Epilim during pregnancy and the side effects of sodium valproate.

 In Ireland, it is not known how many children have been diagnosed with foetal valproate syndrome. A support group – the FACS Forum – has called on the government to conduct an audit to identify the scale of the problem in Ireland and what support measures are needed for families. For further information, the FACS Forum can be reached via the disability-federation.ie website, or you can speak with a solicitor.

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Settlement of Compensation for Brain Damage at Birth Approved in Court

A €15 million lump sum settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth has been approved at the High Court in favour of a ten-year-old boy.

The boy was born by emergency Caesarean Section at Kerry General Hospital on May 25th 2006 following a catalogue of errors by hospital staff. Among a series of systematic failures resulting in the boy´s delivery being avoidably delayed by two hours, the consultant obstetrician was not made aware of a worrisome heart-rate pattern, the possibility of foetal hypoxia was not considered, and no action was taken on a CTG trace indicating foetal distress.

Due to the avoidable delay, the boy suffered devastating brain damage and was diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy. Now ten years of age, he requires 24-hour care, cannot speak and is confined to a wheelchair. To exacerbate the boy´s injuries, the HSE failed to admit liability for nine years, during which time the boy´s family had to care for him on their own without the support they should have received from the state.

The HSE only admitted liability early last year after being threatened with aggravated damages, and an interim settlement of €2.7 million compensation for brain damage at birth was rushed through the courts. Yesterday the family was back in court for the approval of a final lump sum settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth amounting to €15 million – an amount that was described as “commercial common and legal sense” by presiding judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

Approving the settlement, Judge Kelly paid tribute to the boy´s parents for the care of their son, and added while no money would compensate the boy and his family, it was the only form of redress the law could provide. He hoped it would give peace of mind that there is a fund to care for the boy´s needs into the future. As the boy is a ward of court, the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth will be paid into court funds and managed by court authorities.

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Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Erb´s Palsy

A judge at the High Court has approved a €530,000 settlement of compensation for Erb´s palsy in favour of a six-year-old boy from County Kerry.

The boy on whose behalf the claim was made was born at Kerry General Hospital on March 22nd 2010. However, rather than being delivered by Caesarean section as had been requested by his mother on three separate occasions, the boy was delivered naturally with the assistance of a vacuum cup.

Due to the baby´s size, his shoulder got stuck as he passed through his mother´s birth canal and he suffered shoulder dystocia as medical staff tried to free him. Due to the force that was used during the procedure, the boy will now have a weakened left arm for the rest of his life.

On his son´s behalf, the boy´s father claimed compensation for Erb´s palsy against the Health Service Executive (HSE). Liability for the boy´s injuries was initially contested, but eventually the parties agreed on a settlement of compensation amounting to €530,000.

As the claim for compensation for Erb´s palsy had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. The approval hearing took place earlier this week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that an ultrascan had shown the boy to be a large baby and, because of his potential size, his mother had requested a Caesarean section delivery during a consultation and again when she was admitted to hospital in labour.

The judge also heard that the boy is very good at maths and has learned to write with his left hand, although he is unable to close buttons or tie shoes and will struggle at sports later in life. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for Erb´s palsy and wished the family well for the future.

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Claim for Birth Injuries against Sligo General Hospital Heard in Court

A claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital has been heard in the High Court ahead of the approval of an interim settlement of compensation.

In May 2010, the boy – on whose behalf the claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital was made – was born by emergency Caesarean Section, more than two hours after a CTG trace had indicated he was suffering foetal distress in the womb. Due to the avoidable delay, the boy was starved of oxygen and now – six years of age – he suffers from cerebral palsy.

Although the boy has since moved to Canada, he made a claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital through his mother. On behalf of Sligo General Hospital, the Health Service Executive (HSE) quickly acknowledged responsibility for the boy´s cerebral palsy injury and negotiations began to settle the claim. During mediation, HSE personnel not only apologised for a failure in its duty of care, but explained to the boy´s parents how the failure occurred.

Eventually it was agreed that the boy should receive an interim compensation settlement of €740,000 to cover the costs of his past care and the care he will need over the next five years. However, as the claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests.

The approval hearing took place at the High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances surrounding the boy´s birth and the details of the settlement negotiations. As well as praising the boy´s parents for the care they had provided him with over the past six years, he commended the HSE for its attitude in the case.

Commenting that an apology and an explanation was “absolutely something to be encouraged”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of cerebral palsy compensation and adjourned the claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital for five years. In five years, once assessments have been conducted to evaluate the boy´s future needs, the family hope that the option of a structured payment system will be in place to ensure their son´s financial security.

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Interim Settlement of a Claim for the Failure to Act on a CTG Scan Approved

The €1.35 million interim settlement of a claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan has been approved in the High Court in favour of a six-year-old boy.

The mother of the young boy from Bantry in County Cork made the claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan on her son´s behalf, on the grounds that – had a CTG scan taken during the later stages of her pregnancy been interpreted properly – her child would have been delivered by an emergency Caesarean Section procedure in a timely manner.

Instead, due to an alleged failure to act on the CTG scan, the boy´s delivery at the Cork University Maternity Hospital was delayed. He suffered foetal distress in the womb due to hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and, when he was delivered, he had suffered terrible brain damage and was blind. Now six years of age, the boy suffers seizures every day and requires 24-hours-a-day care.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) – against whom the claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan was made – denied liability for the boy´s birth injuries. However, after a period of negotiation, the HSE agreed to a €1.35 million interim settlement of compensation without an admission of liability while studies are conducted to assess the child´s future needs.

Because the claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan had been made on behalf of a legal minor, an approval hearing before Mr Justice Kevin Cross has scheduled for the High Court. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that although the boy cannot speak, he is able to communicate his needs to his parents and carers from the Jack and Jill Foundation.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross also heard how it had been an ordeal for the family to get a compensation settlement from the State Claims Agency and that they was relieved that the legal process was over. Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of compensation – stating that it was a good one in the circumstances – and adjourned the case for three years.

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Settlement of Claim for Nervous Shock against the HSE Approved at Court

The €98,000 settlement of a claim for nervous shock against the HSE (Health Service Executive) has been approved at a hearing of the High Court.

The claim for nervous shock against the HSE was made by a husband and wife from Ballyneety in County Limerick following the traumatic circumstances of their daughter´s death on July 15, 2010, at the Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital.

The couple´s baby girl – their fourth child – had been born in good health. However, due to alleged hospital negligence after her birth, the child died six hours after her birth. The cause of death was attributed to a severe loss of blood.

After seeking legal advice, the couple made a claim for nervous shock against the HSE. They alleged in their claim that the severe loss of blood was attributable to the height above the placenta to which the baby had been raised after her birth to untangle her from the umbilical cord.

They also alleged that there had been a failure to clamp the umbilical cord in an effective and timely manner, and that their daughter´s severe loss of blood had gone undetected until she became floppy and collapse. The HSE denied the allegations.

Despite the failure to acknowledge liability, an offer of €98,000 compensation was made to the couple by the State Claims Agency. The couple accepted the offer under advisement but, due to the nature of the circumstances behind the claim, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently a hearing was scheduled to approve the settlement at the High Court. At the hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told there was a dispute surrounding the cause of the child´s death and that the parents of the little girl appreciated their claims would be difficult to prove in a full hearing.

A statement of regret was read to the parents of the child by a representative of the HSE, before Judge Cross approved the settlement of the claim for nervous shock against the HSE. He also extended his sympathy to the parents for their loss.

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