Final Settlement Approved in Delayed Birth Medical Negligence Claim

The final €5.56 million settlement of a delayed birth medical negligence claim made on behalf of a sixteen-year-old girl has been approved at the High Court.

Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital on 11th October 1999 by emergency Caesarean section after a deceleration of the foetal heart rate had been identified. However, due to no consultant being immediately available to assist with the delivery, Mary´s birth was delayed by eighty minutes. During this time, Mary suffered foetal distress and was starved of oxygen. She was born in a poor condition having sustained brain damage and now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo – Mary´s mother – made a delayed birth medical negligence claim on behalf of her daughter. In her legal action, Maura alleged that the Mayo General Hospital had failed in its duty of care to ensure a consultant was available once the deceleration of the foetal heart rate had been identified. The hospital´s medical negligence – Maura claimed – resulted in the failure to deliver Mary in a timely manner and her subsequent injury.

In early 2014, a €1.5 million interim settlement of the delayed birth medical negligence claim was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. The judge adjourned the case for two years in order to allow time for a system of periodic payments to be introduced. With no system of period payments yet available, and with the family not wanting “ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts”, Mary and her parents returned to the High Court to hear the approval of the final settlement of the delayed birth medical negligence claim.

At the hearing before Mr Justice Peter Kelly, the court heard a statement read to Mary in which the Mayo General Hospital apologised for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. Judge Kelly approved the €5.56 million final settlement of the delayed birth medical negligence claim – describing Mary achievements in attending mainstream school and planning to go to university as “heroic”.