Undisclosed Settlement in Birth Accident Compensation Action

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has apologised to a family for the death of their young son from meningitis at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth, and resolved a claim for birth accident compensation in an undisclosed out of court settlement.

The family of four month old Dean Patrick Kenny from Drogheda, County Louth, brought a birth accident compensation action for wrongful death against the hospital and HSE, claiming that the hospital staff had failed to diagnose their son’s condition and discharged him when it was unsafe to do so.

The family claimed in their birth accident compensation action that Dean had been referred to the hospital with suspected meningitis by the family GP early in the morning of July 1st 2002. Dean was tended to and discharged, and the family went home where Dean’s condition continued to deteriorate.

After a later visit to their GP – where meningitis was confirmed – they returned to the hospital, but it was too late to save little Dean, who passed away that evening.

In their defence, the hospital and HSE denied birth accident negligence, and pleaded it had complied with general approved medical practices. They alleged that Dean did not show clinical features of bacterial meningitis and was feeding as normal.

However, shortly before High Court proceedings were about to commence, Mr Justice John Quirke was informed that the HSE had made an undisclosed offer of birth accident compensation settlement, which was accepted by the family, and the case was to be struck out.