All Posts Tagged: hospital birth injury compensation

Class Action for Side Effects of Sodium Valproate Started in France

A class action for the side effects of sodium valproate has been started in France on behalf of children who sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb.

Sodium valproate is an active ingredient of the drug Epilim. Epilim was introduced in Ireland in 1983 after successfully treating patients in France for epilepsy and bipolar disorder for almost twenty years. Because it works by stabilising electrical activity in the brain, Epilim has also been prescribed for migraine and chronic pain.

Unbeknown to the medical profession in Ireland, pregnant women taking Epilim break down the sodium valproate and it is absorbed into the bloodstream as valproic acid. The valproic acid travels along the bloodstream and into the womb, where it can have an adverse effect on the development of the foetus. Children who have sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb have been born with a wide range of health issues from autism to spina bifida, and from a cleft palate to kidney development problems.

The side effects of sodium valproate during pregnancy were identified before the drug was introduced in Ireland, but the evidence was allegedly covered up due to not being sufficiently conclusive. Small scale studies have also failed to conclusively prove a link between Epilim and the side effects of sodium valproate during pregnancy, but now France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) has looked deeper into the issue and produced an alarming report.

ANSM researched the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken the French-branded equivalent of Epilim during their pregnancies. The agency believes it has identified up to 4,100 children suffering from the side effects of sodium valproate and discovered that hundreds of stillbirths during the period were also attributable to foetal valproate syndrome.

The results of ANSM´s research have prompted a class action against in France against the manufacturer of Epilim – Sanofi – on behalf of the children who sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb. The parents of the children claim that Sanofi did not do enough to warn the medical profession of the risks associated with taking Epilim during pregnancy and the side effects of sodium valproate.

 In Ireland, it is not known how many children have been diagnosed with foetal valproate syndrome. A support group – the FACS Forum – has called on the government to conduct an audit to identify the scale of the problem in Ireland and what support measures are needed for families. For further information, the FACS Forum can be reached via the disability-federation.ie website, or you can speak with a solicitor.

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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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Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Erb´s Palsy

A judge at the High Court has approved a €530,000 settlement of compensation for Erb´s palsy in favour of a six-year-old boy from County Kerry.

The boy on whose behalf the claim was made was born at Kerry General Hospital on March 22nd 2010. However, rather than being delivered by Caesarean section as had been requested by his mother on three separate occasions, the boy was delivered naturally with the assistance of a vacuum cup.

Due to the baby´s size, his shoulder got stuck as he passed through his mother´s birth canal and he suffered shoulder dystocia as medical staff tried to free him. Due to the force that was used during the procedure, the boy will now have a weakened left arm for the rest of his life.

On his son´s behalf, the boy´s father claimed compensation for Erb´s palsy against the Health Service Executive (HSE). Liability for the boy´s injuries was initially contested, but eventually the parties agreed on a settlement of compensation amounting to €530,000.

As the claim for compensation for Erb´s palsy had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. The approval hearing took place earlier this week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that an ultrascan had shown the boy to be a large baby and, because of his potential size, his mother had requested a Caesarean section delivery during a consultation and again when she was admitted to hospital in labour.

The judge also heard that the boy is very good at maths and has learned to write with his left hand, although he is unable to close buttons or tie shoes and will struggle at sports later in life. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for Erb´s palsy and wished the family well for the future.

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Claim for Birth Injuries against Sligo General Hospital Heard in Court

A claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital has been heard in the High Court ahead of the approval of an interim settlement of compensation.

In May 2010, the boy – on whose behalf the claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital was made – was born by emergency Caesarean Section, more than two hours after a CTG trace had indicated he was suffering foetal distress in the womb. Due to the avoidable delay, the boy was starved of oxygen and now – six years of age – he suffers from cerebral palsy.

Although the boy has since moved to Canada, he made a claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital through his mother. On behalf of Sligo General Hospital, the Health Service Executive (HSE) quickly acknowledged responsibility for the boy´s cerebral palsy injury and negotiations began to settle the claim. During mediation, HSE personnel not only apologised for a failure in its duty of care, but explained to the boy´s parents how the failure occurred.

Eventually it was agreed that the boy should receive an interim compensation settlement of €740,000 to cover the costs of his past care and the care he will need over the next five years. However, as the claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests.

The approval hearing took place at the High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances surrounding the boy´s birth and the details of the settlement negotiations. As well as praising the boy´s parents for the care they had provided him with over the past six years, he commended the HSE for its attitude in the case.

Commenting that an apology and an explanation was “absolutely something to be encouraged”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of cerebral palsy compensation and adjourned the claim for birth injuries against Sligo General Hospital for five years. In five years, once assessments have been conducted to evaluate the boy´s future needs, the family hope that the option of a structured payment system will be in place to ensure their son´s financial security.

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Interim Settlement of a Claim for the Failure to Act on a CTG Scan Approved

The €1.35 million interim settlement of a claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan has been approved in the High Court in favour of a six-year-old boy.

The mother of the young boy from Bantry in County Cork made the claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan on her son´s behalf, on the grounds that – had a CTG scan taken during the later stages of her pregnancy been interpreted properly – her child would have been delivered by an emergency Caesarean Section procedure in a timely manner.

Instead, due to an alleged failure to act on the CTG scan, the boy´s delivery at the Cork University Maternity Hospital was delayed. He suffered foetal distress in the womb due to hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and, when he was delivered, he had suffered terrible brain damage and was blind. Now six years of age, the boy suffers seizures every day and requires 24-hours-a-day care.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) – against whom the claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan was made – denied liability for the boy´s birth injuries. However, after a period of negotiation, the HSE agreed to a €1.35 million interim settlement of compensation without an admission of liability while studies are conducted to assess the child´s future needs.

Because the claim for the failure to act on a CTG scan had been made on behalf of a legal minor, an approval hearing before Mr Justice Kevin Cross has scheduled for the High Court. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that although the boy cannot speak, he is able to communicate his needs to his parents and carers from the Jack and Jill Foundation.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross also heard how it had been an ordeal for the family to get a compensation settlement from the State Claims Agency and that they was relieved that the legal process was over. Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of compensation – stating that it was a good one in the circumstances – and adjourned the case for three years.

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Claim for Undiagnosed Complications during Pregnancy Heard in Court

A claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy that resulted in a child suffering spastic diplegic cerebral palsy has been heard at the High Court.

The claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy was bought by the child´s mother against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Cork University Maternity Hospital after her son – one of twin boys born on 5th October 2010 – was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

The High Court heard that a scan conducted in June 2010 revealed a low-lying placenta, and that a second scan in September 2010 indicated there was a risk of vasa praevia – a pregnancy complication in which babies blood vessels cross or run near the internal opening of the uterus.

It was alleged in the court action that the Cork University Maternity Hospital should have conducted a more specific scan in September 2010 to address the risk of vasa praevia, and that the hospital demonstrated a failure to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy.

As a result of the alleged negligence, one of the twins suffered foetal distress in the womb. He now suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, resulting in mobility and cognitive difficulties. Despite being flown to Missouri for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to help him walk for the first time, he requires a walker or a wheelchair whenever he gets tired or ill.

At the High Court the HSE testified it was not normal practice to carry out a second scan to address the risk of vasa praevia and that it contested liability in the claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy. However, the court also heard that the HSE had agreed to an interim settlement of compensation for spastic diplegic cerebral palsy amounting to €1.98 million.

After hearing that the boy – now six years of age – had won a National Children of Courage Award in 2014, and that the funds will be used to provide him with greater access to private physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy, the interim settlement was approved. The case will return to the High Court in five years after the boy´s future needs have been assessed.

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Judge Approves Interim Settlement of Compensation for Injuries due to a Mismanaged Birth

A High Court judge has approved a €1.75 million interim settlement of compensation for injuries due to a mismanaged birth in favour of a two-year-old boy.

The claim for compensation for injuries due to a mismanaged birth was brought on behalf of Charlie Enright, whose mother Catriona was admitted to the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick on 19th August 2013 when she was thirty-seven weeks pregnant.

The decision was made to induce labour and Catriona was administered Syntocinon. However, the labour-accelerating drug caused Charlie to suffer hyper-stimulation in the womb and his foetal distress was not recognised until after he had sustained an intra-cranial haemorrhage.

Charlie was born the following unable to breathe independently and was transferred to Cork University Hospital for therapeutic hypothermia treatment. Unfortunately the brain damage had already occurred and Charlie is now permanently disabled.

After seeking legal advice, Catriona claimed compensation for injuries due to a mismanaged birth on behalf of her son. The Health Service Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Charlie´s birth and admitted liability for his injuries.

A €1.75 million interim settlement of compensation for injuries due to a mismanaged birth was agreed to pay for Charlie´s care and medical costs for the next two years; but, as the compensation claim had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Charlie´s best interests.

The approval hearing was held earlier this week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Anthony Barr was given details of the lack of care that led to Charlie´s birth injuries. Judge Barr approved the interim settlement of compensation for injuries due to a mismanaged birth and adjourned the hearing for two years.

In two years´ time, the likelihood is that Charlie and is mother will have to attend court for the approval of another interim settlement of compensation for injuries due to a mismanaged birth, unless a system of periodic payments is introduced that will ensure Charlie´s care for the rest of his life.

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Claim for a Facial Scar due to Hospital Negligence Resolved for €240,000

A High Court judge has approved the €240,000 settlement of a five-year-old girl´s claim for a facial scar due to hospital negligence after her birth.

Abigail Byrne was born at the Cork University Maternity Hospital in January 2011 after a difficult delivery during which forceps were used. Following her birth, an elasticated bandage was placed around Abigail´s head and left in situ for thirty hours – leaving a red mark ten centimetres across and one centimetre in depth across her forehead.

At the time, Abigail´s mother – Jennifer Byrne of Whitechurch in County Cork – was told that the mark was temporary and should disappear within a week. However, when a public health nurse visited the mother and child after their discharge from hospital, the nurse told Jennifer that the mark was likely to be permanent and she should seek medical advice.

On finding out that it would not be possible to conceal the mark by plastic surgery until Abigail was in her late teens, Jennifer made a claim for a facial scar due to hospital negligence on her daughter´s behalf. In her legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE), Jennifer alleged that there had been a failure to position the elasticated bandage correctly and that it had been left on for too long.

Liability for Abigail´s injury was admitted by the HSE, and the claim for a facial scar due to hospital negligence was heard earlier this month by Mr Justice Kevin Cross for the assessment of damages. After being told that Abigail´s parents had delayed her christening for a week to give the mark a chance to fade, Judge Cross adjourned the hearing so that settlement negotiations could take place.

When the hearing resumed earlier this week, the judge was told that a €240,000 settlement of the claim for a facial scar due to hospital negligence had been agreed. Judge Cross approved the settlement, saying it was a reasonable one in the circumstances, and closed the hearing by wishing Abigail all the best for the future.

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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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