All Posts Tagged: negligent foetal examination compensation

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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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 Apology for Medical Misadventure Six Years Too Late for Parents

An HSE apology for medical misadventure has been rejected by the parents of a girl who died shortly after her birth because it is “six years too late”.

On 11th February 2009, Joan Mulcair from Corbally in County Limerick gave birth to a baby girl at the Midland Regional Hospital. Joan and her husband John had tried for many years to conceive a child and, despite a painful labour, the couple were overjoyed when baby Caoimhe was born.

However, joy quickly turned to sorrow. It was noticed that baby Caoimhe was not crying as new born babies should. She was rushed to the hospital´s special care unit but died in her mother´s arms thirty-nine minutes after being born.

At last week´s inquest into Caoimhe´s death, the jury heard that a deceleration of the foetal heartbeat had been recorded during Joan´s labour, and death was due to a lack of blood and oxygen supply to the brain. The jury returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure.

During the hearing, Joan and John were read an apology by Collette Cowan, the chief executive of the Midland Regional Hospital. Ms Cowan apologised for the mistakes that had been made prior to and during Caoimhe´s delivery and said that lessons had been learned by the hospital.

However, Caoimhe´s parents rejected the HSE apology for medical adventure, saying that it had come “six years too late”. Speaking after the inquest, John said that it was a disgrace that the HSE had put “an ordinary decent family through the pain and torment we had to endure for over six years”.

John explained to reporters that there had been no HSE apology for medical misadventure during the time that the family had been battling the HSE for compensation. Liability for Caoimhe´s death was admitted last December, and a settlement of the family´s claim was negotiated.

In response to the rejection, a spokesperson for the Health Service Executive said it had no control over the handling of medical negligence claims. He said these were handled by the State Claims Agency. The passing of the buck from the HSE to the SCA was described as a “shabby episode” by a columnist in the Irish Times, who wrote:

“A common interest links the HSE and the claims agency and there has been a persistent pattern of denial, prevarication and years of unnecessary delay in dealing with medical claims. The public and aggrieved patients deserve better. So do the vast majority of medical professionals.”

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Settlement of Claim for Hospital Negligence at Sligo General Approved at Court

The settlement of a compensation claim for hospital negligence at Sligo General has been approved at the High Court in favour of a man brain damaged at birth.

On September 6th 1996, Thomas O´Connor was delivered at the Sligo General Hospital showing no signs of life due to being starved of oxygen in the womb. He was resuscitated and taken to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, but suffered a heart attack on his way from the delivery theatre allegedly due to being incorrectly ventilated.

According to his mother, Ann O´Connor of Collooney in County Sligo, hospital negligence was responsible for both her son´s birth being avoidably delayed and the heart attack which contributed to the brain damage suffered by Thomas – who, since the age of twelve has lived in a residential home close to his family.

Due to his birth injuries, Thomas is spastic quadriplegic, blind and fed through a tube; and through his mother he made a compensation claim for hospital negligence at Sligo General. The Health Service Executive denied liability for Thomas´ injuries, and contested the compensation claim for hospital negligence at Sligo General.

Consequently, the claim for hospital negligence at Sligo General was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. Judge Cross was told by expert witnesses that a CTG trace had been discontinued in the morning of Thomas´ birth despite there being clear evidence of foetal distress. This, it was claimed, delayed Thomas´ birth by up to four hours.

The judge also heard that the ventilation tube used to ventilate Thomas had been inserted at a depth of 14cms into Thomas´ lungs, instead of the usual 9cms to 10cms. The consequence of this alleged error was that Thomas was not ventilated effectively, due to which he suffered the heart attack and sustained further brain damage until he was again resuscitated.

Despite not admitting to hospital negligence at Sligo General, the Health Service Executive agreed to a €1.75 million settlement of compensation that will pay for Thomas´ continued care at the residential home in Collooney. The judge approved the settlement, saying he was delighted that the O´Connor´s legal ordeal had come to an end.

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State Claims Agency Comments on Claims for Birth Injuries due to Syntocinon

The clinical risk advisor for the State Claims Agency has commented that a consistent set of national guidelines is needed to reduce the number of claims for birth injuries due to Syntocinon.

In Ireland, Syntocinon is the brand name of oxytocin – a synthetic drug that is often used during childbirth to induce labour or accelerate contractions. Oxytocin has the effect of reducing the amount of time that mothers are in labour and helps the womb to contract after a birth by Caesarean Section.

However, there are risks associated with the birth-inducing drug and – when Syntocinon is administered – both mother and baby need careful monitoring to prevent any complications such as an adverse reaction or foetal distress. There are many circumstances in which it is dangerous to both mother and baby to administer Syntocinon.

Syntocinon is one of the top ten “high-alert medications” in maternity units, and the death of four babies at the Portlaoise Hospital has been attributed to the lack of adequate monitoring. All four babies died from foetal distress after their mothers were administered Syntocinon and, when children have survived after suffering foetal distress, they have frequently suffered brain damage.

Settlements of claims for birth injuries due to Syntocinon can be considerable. Among a recent series of claims for birth injuries due to Syntocinon, Jamie Patterson was awarded an interim settlement of €1.58 million in May last year, while Skye Worthington´s €2.32 million interim settlement was approved just last February.

The State Claims Agency – the authority that pays settlements of claims for birth injuries due to Syntocinon – recently conducted a study into the use of oxytocin in Irish hospitals. The study revealed a lack of consistency in how Syntocinon is administered – a problem described by the Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, as putting unborn children at “unnecessary risk”.

The study found that staff at one maternity unit had no guidance on the use of Syntocinon and that staff at another hospital had to refer to a checklist. Two of the maternity units observed in the study provided no guidelines at all on the monitoring of mothers and babies, and one hospital failed to inform medical staff on the dosage of Syntocinon that should be administered to mothers.

Mary Godfrey – the State Claims Agency´s clinical risk advisor – said that the results of the study showed that a consistent set of guidelines was needed to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and to prevent more claims for birth injuries due to Syntocinon being made against the HSE.

Her comments were supported by Dr Coulter-Smith who, speaking on Newstalk´s Lunchtime Show, commented “The issue with each of the maternity units having their own rules on its use means doctors moving from one to another don’t have common set of guidelines to follow.”

However both medical experts failed to comment on one alarming fact uncovered by the study – that none of the maternity units attempts to obtain consent from the mothers before administering the drug. If the State Claims Agency is genuine about reducing the number of claims for birth injuries due to Syntocinon, they will also have to address the issue of “informed consent”.

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Interim Settlement Approved in Claim for Birth Injuries due to Hospital Negligence

A €2 million interim settlement of compensation has been approved at the High Court for a family who made a claim for birth injuries due to hospital negligence on behalf of their son.

Dylan Kenny was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in January 2010 after a catalogue of errors by the hospital´s medical staff had left him deprived of oxygen in the womb. Dylan subsequently suffers from cerebral palsy, is unable to walk independently and has difficulty expressing himself verbally.

On behalf of their son, Claire O´Brien and Lloyd Kenny from Waterford made a claim for birth injuries due to hospital negligence in which it was alleged that there had been a failure to monitor the foetal heart rate during Claire´s labour, acknowledge there were problems after a worrisome CTG trace, and to react within a reasonable time to signs of foetal distress and hypoxia.

It was claimed that, had Dylan been delivered earlier, his birth injuries would not have been so severe; and, in June, the Health Service Executive (HSE) acknowledged that mistakes had been made in the management of Claire´s labour, admitted liability for Dylan´s brain injuries and issued an apology.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice John Cook was told that the case was before him for the approval of a €2 million interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to hospital negligence. Judge Cook heard that the interim settlement was to provide care for Dylan for a period of three years to allow for his future needs to be assessed and for the possible introduction of a structured compensation scheme.

After hearing that Dylan´s parents were happy with the interim payment, and preferred it to the lump sum payment proposed by the HSE and State Claims Agency, Judge Cook approved the settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to hospital negligence.

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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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