Settlement of Pre-Natal Medical Negligence Compensation Approved

A final settlement of pre-natal medical negligence compensation has been approved in favour of an eleven-year-old girl who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Isabelle “Izzy” Sheehan was born in the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork on 29th November 2004, one month after a blood test on her mother – Catherine – had revealed an “alarming rise” of certain blood group antibodies that presented a risk of injury to the unborn child.

Due to consultant obstetrician Dr David Corr´s failure to refer Catherine to specialist in foetal medicine, Isabelle was born suffering from severe spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy. Now eleven years of age, Isabelle has a specially-equipped machine that helps her to walk but will require life-long care.

In 2011, liability for Isabelle´s avoidable birth injuries was admitted by Dr Corr after Catherine had made a claim for pre-natal medical negligence compensation. An initial interim settlement of €1.9 million compensation was approved in October 2011, following an apology from Dr Corr in which the consultant obstetrician said he “very much regrets the outcome in relation to Isabelle´s birth”.

A second interim settlement was approved in 2013 and, now due for a further interim settlement of pre-natal medical negligence compensation, Isabelle´s mother asked if it were possible to take a lump sum payment in order to eliminate the disruption to Isabelle´s life in the weeks leading up to each assessment of her needs.

The request for a lump sum payment was agreed and, approving the final settlement of €9 million pre-natal medical negligence compensation, High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly said it was a fair and reasonable settlement, and it was understandable that Isabelle’s parents were weary with interim settlements.

Mr Justice Kelly also paid tribute to Isabelle´s parents – Catherine and Colm – saying that Isabelle would not have made the progress she had without the “truly remarkable” love, care and attention they have lavished on her, and said that their position underscored the necessity for legislation to be introduced for periodic compensation payments.