A final once-off payment of €20m had been agreed in a birth injury compensation settlement between and Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 14-year-old boy who allegedly suffered brain damage at birth in a Cork hospital.
The boy in question, Lee Gibson of Carrigaline, Co Cork, suffers with cerebral palsy and cannot talk and has to use a wheelchair. It brings to a record €23m the total paid to the young boy and the personal injury compensation settlement against the HSE is the largest so far in the State for this type of legal action.
In the legal action it was claimed that Lee suffered multiple injuries to his brain due to a lack of oxygen and the effect of an untreated infection suffered by his mother. It was also alleged that there was delay of between 91 and 106 minutes before delivery by emergency caesarean section once the decision to go ahead with one had been made. There was also a claim that there was failure to treat the case as an emergency case and to give a candid explanation for what happened and why it did. The claims were denied but liability was later settled in the case.
Approving the final figure, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly paid tribute to the teenager’s mother, Aileen Gibson. He said: “Lee makes the best of a life that is possible because of the care of his mother, grandmother and other family support.”
Four years ago, an interim settlement payment of €2m was approved for Lee and in 2017 a further interim payment of €1m was made. On those occasions, liability was also settled in the case.
Speaking outside court, Ms Gibson said that the day was bittersweet. She said: “I must say that today is bittersweet. All the money won’t change what has happened to Lee. We will have to live with that pain forever.”