All Posts Tagged: delayed birth cerebral palsy

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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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”.

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Settlement of Medical Negligence Claim against the Rotunda Hospital Approved

A judge at the High Court has approved a €3 million interim settlement of a young boy´s medical negligence claim against the Rotunda Hospital.

On 20th February 2004, Mohammad Daud Assad was delivered by emergency C-Section at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin after a deterioration in his foetal heart rate had been identified. Tragically Mohammad was deprived of oxygen in the womb and needed resuscitating after his birth.

Mohammad now suffers from cerebral palsy, is unable to speak and has both physical and mental disabilities. Although he attends a mainstream school, Mohammad will require full-time support for the rest of his life.

Mohammad´s mother – Alia Muryem Assad from Ballyfermot in Dublin – made a medical negligence claim against the Rotunda Hospital, alleging that there had been a delay in summoning an obstetrician after the deterioration of Mohammad´s heart rate had been identified and, as a result, the C-Section operation was avoidably delayed.

It was also alleged in the medical negligence claim against the Rotunda hospital that the hospital had failed to properly assess Alia on her admission into the hospital and consider the possibility of a placental function failure as she was ten days overdue. Alia arrived at the hospital at 9:00am in the morning, but Mohammad was not born until 10:30pm that evening.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that liability for Mohammad´s birth injury had only been acknowledged within the last two weeks. He also heard that an amount of €3 million compensation had been agreed as an interim settlement of the medical negligence claim against the Rotunda Hospital.

Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of the claim, commenting that the way in which the extended family had rallied round to help Mohammad´s parents “restored one´s faith in humanity”. The judge then adjourned the medical negligence claim against the Rotunda Hospital for six years, when an assessment of Mohammad´s future requirements will be carried out.

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HSE and SCA at Odds over Medical Negligence Court Cases in Ireland

The Director General of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the State Claims Agency have fallen out over medical negligence court cases in Ireland.

The disagreement over medical negligence court cases in Ireland blew up last week when Tony O´Brien – the Director General of the HSE – told the Oireachtas health committee that the State Claims Agency had an “unrealistic” view about risk and safety in healthcare and was too eager to defend medical negligence claims for compensation.

Saying that the adversarial framework used by the Agency delayed the payment of medical negligence compensation to plaintiffs who had suffered a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition deterioration, he asked “why all that trauma for people to get what they need.”

“These cases go on for up to 10 years and the State loses 99 per cent of them,” Mr O´Brien claimed, and he suggested the establishment of a fund that would support a different system of resolving claims for compensation that would not involve the parents of children that had suffered catastrophic birth injuries having to endure medical negligence court cases in Ireland.

While acknowledging that there had to be a level of accountability, Mr O´Brien also claimed that medical negligence court cases in Ireland were also damaging to the healthcare professionals called to give evidence in them. He said that, although the healthcare professionals were not facing criminal prosecution, they had to endure “show trials” when the outcome of the trials was 99 percent likely to be in the plaintiff´s favour.

In response to Mr O´Brien´s testimony to the Oireachtas health committee, the State Claims Agency issued a statement on Thursday evening contesting some of the Director General´s claims. The statement claims that 97 percent of cases are resolved without medical negligence court cases in Ireland and, in those in which liability is contested, the cases are resolved in the Agency´s favour 75 percent of the time.

Just two months ago the State Claims Agency published a review of maternity and gynaecology services in Ireland. In the review it was revealed that the total expenditure on cerebral palsy compensation claims had increased by 77 percent from 2010 to 2014. The large increase in compensation payments was partly attributed to more birth injury compensation claims being resolved with lump sum payments rather than interim compensation payments due to the failure of the Oireachtas to introduce a system of periodic payments.

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Unsuccessful Challenge to High Court Award of Cerebral Palsy Compensation by HSE

An unsuccessful challenge to a High Court award of cerebral palsy compensation is likely to be taken to the Supreme Court by the Health Service Executive.

Gill Russell from Aghada in County Cork was born at the Erinville Hospital on 12th July 2006, suffering from dyskinetic cerebral palsy after a “prolonged and totally chaotic” delivery. Gill´s mother – Karen – made a compensation claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) for medical negligence, and received an interim High Court award of cerebral palsy compensation in 2012.

In December 2014, Gill´s compensation claim against the HSE was settled with a lump sum High Court award of cerebral palsy compensation amounting to €13.5 million. The HSE appealed the value of the High Court award of cerebral palsy compensation – arguing that Mr Justice Kevin Cross had used a lower rate of interest than was traditionally used in Irish courts to calculate the future value of the settlement.

At the Appeals Court this week, a three-judge panel upheld Judge Cross´ settlement. The judges said that using the “traditional” formula would mean that a catastrophically injured person would have to take “unjust and unacceptable” risks with investing the lump sum to ensure their financial security. They added that a seriously injured child should not be compared with a prudent investor.

Announcing the Appeals Court verdict, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said it was not the courts´ function to inquire what a claimant was likely to do with their award for the purposes of determining its value. She added that the Russell family and the HSE would not be in court had the government not gone back on promises to introduce legislation that would allow for a periodic payment system of compensation.

Unfortunately, the decision of the Appeals Court is unlikely to end the dispute about the High Court award of cerebral palsy compensation. Warning that the revised formula sets a dangerous precedent that could cost the State Claims Agency and the insurance industry up to €100 million annually, the HSE has indicated that it will take the High Court award of cerebral palsy compensation to the Supreme Court.

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€2 Million Interim Settlement of a Birth Injuries Claim Approved at the High Court

A €2 million interim settlement of a birth injuries claim has been approved at the High Court in favour of a four-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.

Kevin Dunphy-English was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital on July 9th 2010 after being starved of oxygen in the womb prior to his delivery. He was described as being “neurologically compromised” and spent the first twenty-four days of his life in intensive care. Kevin now suffers with cerebral palsy, can only walk short distances and will be wheelchair-reliant in the future.

Through his mother – Jane Dunphy of Mooncoin in County Kilkenny – Kevin made a birth injuries claim for compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). In the legal action it was alleged that a foetal blood sample had been taken at 1:40am prior to a decrease in the baby´s heart beat being recorded at 2:30am.

It was claimed that if a further foetal blood sample had been taken subsequently to the deceleration of the baby´s heart beat, a decision would have been taken to intervene and deliver Kevin earlier. An investigation into the circumstances of Kevin´s birth found that his birth injuries could have been avoided if he had been delivered an hour earlier.

In 2013, the HSE accepted that there had been a mismanagement of Kevin´s birth by failing to effect a timely delivery. The HSE conceded liability and settled claims for emotional distress made by both of Kevin´s parents. The case then went to the High Court to organise an interim settlement of the birth injuries claim.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross met with Kevin privately in his chambers. The judge learned that Kevin is at pre-school and it is hoped that he will be able to join a mainstream class when he goes to school full time. The judge described Kevin as “a lovely little lad”, and he praised the efforts the boy´s parents had put in to raising him.

The judge awarded Kevin €2 million as an interim settlement of the birth injuries claim, and adjourned the case for four years to allow for an assessment of Kevin´s future needs. When the case is reconvened, Kevin´s parents will be able to choose from a lump sum settlement or a structured settlement if legislation is introduced in time to allow for periodic payments.

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Second Interim Compensation Payment for Cerebral Palsy Approved in Court

A second interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy has been approved in the High Court in lieu of a structure settlement system being introduced.

Luke Miggin (8) from Athboy in County Meath was born on 26th February 2006 at the Mullingar General Hospital having been starved of oxygen in the womb. After he was born, Luke had to be resuscitated and was kept in a special care baby unit. Luke was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and needs around-the-clock care.

Through his mother – Emily – Luke made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation on the grounds that his mother´s consultant obstetrician – Michael Gannon – had failed to act on CTG traces taken throughout the day, which indicated a deceleration of the foetal heart rate.

In 2010, the Health Service Executive admitted their liability for Luke´s birth injuries and in January 2011 an interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy amounting to €1.35 million was approved by Mr Justice John Quirke.

Luke´s case was adjourned for three years to allow time for a structured settlement system to be introduced, but with system of periodic payments yet available, Emily Miggin returned to the High Court to have a second interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

Judge Irvine apologised to Emily for successive Justice Ministers who had failed to keep their promises to introduce a system of periodic payments, and said that ongoing litigation was preventing her family from getting on their lives.

The judge approved a further €580,000 interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy and adjourned Luke´s case for a further three years.

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Judge Approves Settlement of Claim against HSE for Birth Injuries

A judge at the High Court has approved the settlement of a claim against the HSE for birth injuries which resulted in a young boy suffering from cerebral palsy.

Six-year-old Dylan Gaffney from Kilcohan Park in Waterford was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in a poor condition on July 22nd 2007, after his mother – Jean – had undergone an emergency Caesarean Section and no paediatrician was immediately available to resuscitate him.

Jean Gaffney had earlier requested a Caesarean Section delivery for Dylan; as her first daughter was delivered in an emergency operation after 51 hours of labour and she had miscarried a second child. However, her obstetrician had suggested a natural birth would be preferable, despite an ultrasound prior to Dylan´s birth indicating that he weighed nine pounds and four ounces.

The ultrasound was conducted two days prior to Dylan´s birth when Jean had attended the Waterford Regional Hospital because she believed her waters had broken. She was assured that everything was okay and given an antenatal appointment for five days later; but, on the morning of the 22nd July, Jean went into spontaneous labour and was admitted into the hospital.

Jean was given the drug oxytocic to stimulate her contractions and told to start pushing. In the High Court, Jean´s solicitor stated that the directions given to Jean were inappropriate in the circumstances, and a Caesarean should have been performed straight away. Instead, hospital staff waited until after 2.00pm in the afternoon before transferring Jean to theatre.

Unfortunately, Dylan had been denied oxygen in the womb and, when he was born, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and other birth injuries.

Jean sought legal advice and made a claim against the HSE for birth injuries on her son´s behalf. Jean and her solicitor also wrote the State Claims Agency in June 2009 with evidence of the hospital negligence that resulted in Dylan´s condition compiled by an independent medical expert.

Despite the evidence clearly indicating that Dylan´s birth injuries could have been avoided and were attributable to hospital negligence before, during and after his delivery, the State Claims Agency failed to acknowledged the hospital´s responsibility for Dylan´s condition and refused to consider Jean´s claim against the HSE for birth injuries.

Court proceedings were reluctantly issued, while Jean and her partner – Thomas Hayes – put their lives to one side in order to care for Dylan. It was only shortly before Jean´s claim against the HSE for birth injuries was due to be heard in court that liability for Dylan´s cerebral palsy was admitted, and negotiations started to find a suitable settlement.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court in Dublin was told that an agreement had been reached for Dylan to receive a lump sum payment of €8.5 million. After hearing the circumstances of the claim against the HSE for birth injuries, the judge approved the settlement; but criticised the conduct of the State Claims Agency and Health Service Executive for the delay in admitting liability – causing additional stress for Dylan and his family.

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Court Approves Interim Settlement of Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy Compensation

The High Court has approved an interim settlement of dyskinetic cerebral palsy compensation for a twelve year old girl who suffered birth injuries due to the negligence of an obstetric consultant.

Mary Conroy attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Portloaise on 10th November 2001 believing that her waters had broken while pregnant with her first child. Mary was sent home after being reassured that everything was fine, but three days later attended the clinic of her private consultant obstetrician – Dr John Corristine – and, following an ultrasound, Mary insisted she be admitted into hospital.

At the Midland Regional Hospital, a CTG scan failed to show any sign of contractions, and Mary was advised to take a bath – however insufficient hot water was available at the hospital in order for her to do so. Dr Corristine then prescribed medicine that should induce labour and left the hospital. He failed to return during Mary´s labour or when she gave birth to her daughter.

Roisin was born the following morning, but suffered seizures soon after her birth and was transferred to a hospital in Dublin with more suitable neo-natal facilities. However, Roisin´s condition failed to improve and she was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy – as a result of which she is permanently disabled and can only communication with eye movement.

Mary blamed herself for Roisin´s devastating birth injuries, and insisted on having two further children delivered by Caesarean Section. Both she and her husband Kevin gave up their jobs to care for Roisin, believing what the hospital had told them that nothing could have been done to prevent the tragedy and that they were “just unlucky”.

However, after speaking with a solicitor, an investigation was launched into the events prior to Roisin´s birth, and the couple made a claim for dyskinetic cerebral palsy compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Dr Corristine.  Both defendants denied their liability for Roisin´s injuries for almost two years until – five weeks before a court hearing was due to take place – both the hospital and Dr Corristine admitted that mistakes had been made in the management of Mary´s pregnancy.

An interim settlement of dyskinetic cerebral palsy compensation amounting to €2.3 million was negotiated and, at the High Court in Dublin, the settlement was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine after an apology was read to the family by an HSE representative and Dr Corristine. Ms Justice Mary Irvine then adjourned the case for two years so that a study of Roisin´s future needs can be made and to allow time for legislation to be passed allowing a structured compensation payment system.

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Delayed Birth Cerebral Palsy Injuries Compensated after 27 Year Wait

A woman, who developed cerebral palsy after her birth was needlessly delayed in 1984, has secured a 3 million Euro delayed birth cerebral palsy compensation settlement in the High Court. Lisa Carroll (27) from Killala, County Mayo, was born at the Mayo General Hospital in March 1984 several weeks overdue. A planned inducement was not carried out and Lisa’s mother had to carry her pregnancy into a forty-third week.

In the High Court, Mr. Justice John Quirk heard that once she was born, Lisa spent the first three weeks of her life in hospital, during which time she suffered three seizures which led to her current condition.

It was alleged that, had Lisa’s mother – Noreen – been admitted when her full term was reached, and tests carried out to ensure the health of the foetus, Lisa would not have suffered such traumatic injuries.

Expert witnesses said that there was no justifiable reason for the delay in Lisa’s delivery, and although Lisa can communicate and attended mainstream school, she is confined to a wheelchair for life.

The delayed birth cerebral palsy injury award of 3 million Euros was made against the Mayo General Hospital and Health Service Executive without admission of liability.

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