Interim Settlement of Compensation for Negligent Diaphragm Surgery Approved

A €1.8 million interim settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery has been approved at the High Court in favour of a four-year-old boy.

In January 2012, six-month-old Jude Miley from Dundrum in Dublin underwent surgery at Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children to readjust the contour of his diaphragm and help his breathing. Tragically, a suture used during the operation was located too close to Jude´s heart and, every time he breathed, his heart was getting stabbed by the raw end of the suture.

Two days after the surgery, Jude went into cardiac arrest. Although he was brought round quickly, Jude´s brain had been starved of oxygen and an MRI scan revealed that he had suffered irreparable brain damage. Jude´s parents – Greville and Anne Louise – were told that it the cardiac arrest was a risk associated with the surgery and there was nothing that could be done.

Nonetheless, both of Jude´s parents gave up their jobs to care for their son, while friends of the family raised funds for Jude to have specialist treatment in both the UK and the USA. During this time, Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children conducted an investigation into the cause of Jude´s cardiac arrest – unfortunately excluding Greville and Anne Louise, despite the couple´s request to be informed of any developments.

In order to find out how their son had suffered such a devastating injury, Greville claimed compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery – alleging that the suture had been placed without the surgeon having sight of Jude´s heart and other vital organs, and also that the hospital had failed to act appropriately when Jude´s parents had raised concerns about Jude´s condition after the operation.

Liability for Jude´s injuries was admitted late last year, and a €1.8 million settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery agreed to cover the cost of a new home for the family and Jude´s parent loss of income. AS the settlement was in respect of a claim on behalf of a child, it had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was appropriate.

Consequently at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the details of Jude´s diaphragm condition and the operation that had been scheduled to rectify it. The judge was also told about Jude´s cardiac arrest and the consequences to his family after it was discovered Jude had suffered brain damage. The judge approved the interim settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery and adjourned the case in order that an assessment can be made of Jude´s future care needs.