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Court Approves Third Interim Settlement of Claim for Birth Injuries Compensation for 19-Year-Old

A third interim settlement of a claim for birth injuries compensation has been approved at the High Court after a judge refused a request for a final payment to be made.

Nineteen-year-old Connor Corroon from Mallow in County Cork was born on February 6th 1995 at the Cork City General Hospital having been starved of oxygen in the womb. As a result of the hospital´s negligence, Connor now suffers from cerebral palsy and is permanently disabled.

On her son´s behalf Judith Corroon made a claim for birth injuries compensation against the hospital and, in 2010, Connor became the first plaintiff to be awarded an interim settlement of compensation instead of a lump sum payment pending legislation to introduce a system of periodic payments.

Connor received a second interim settlement of his claim for birth injuries last year and was due to receive a third interim settlement as legislation for periodic payments is yet to be introduced. On Connor´s behalf, Judith requested that this third payment be a final lump sum settlement her son has to undergo a series of assessments prior to the interim settlements being approved.

At the High Court, Judith told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that she wanted Connor to be able to get on with his life and not have it constantly interrupted for assessments by different experts. She felt that Connor was “in a fishbowl” each time experts came to assess his needs and said that she was hoping Connor would be able to go to college despite his disability.

However Judge Barton denied Judith´s request for a lump sum payment; stating that were he to approve a full and final payment and the funds ran out later in Connor´s life, it would be catastrophic for Connor. The judge approved a third interim settlement of Connor´s claim for birth injuries compensation – explaining that he had recently received a consultation paper relating to the proposed Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill.

The Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill is an act of legislation proposed by the Department of Justice that aims to introduce a system of periodic payments next year. The judge said that a periodic payment system would be in Connor´s best interests, and he adjourned the hearing for a further five years.

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Mistreatment of Care Home Residents Investigated by HSE

The mistreatment of care home residents at a County Mayo care centre is being investigated by the Health Service Executive after claims of abuse were made in an RTÉ documentary.

The documentary concerning the standards of care at the Áras Attracta care centre in Swinford, County Mayo, was broadcast last week on RTÉ´s Primetime program. The documentary was built around video footage which had been recorded by an undercover investigator, and which showed staff at the centre slapping, kicking, and physically restraining residents with intellectual disabilities.

Allegations of the mistreatment of the care home residents had been brought to the attention of RTÉ by a former employee after her complaints to the centre´s management were unresolved. The undercover investigator filmed the mistreated of care home residents in Unit Three of Áras Attracta – a bungalow that is home to three women – which included the women being force-fed, abused and restrained in their chairs for hours at a time.

RTÉ contacted the Health Service Executive (HSE) prior to the broadcast of the program to advise the body ultimately responsible for the standard of care at the centre of what was to be shown. A spokesperson for the HSE described the mistreatment of care home residents as “totally unacceptable” and immediately launched an investigation.

 The director general of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, said in a statement: “Much of what was viewed on Primetime falls well below the standards that we expect in the health services. Such standards should not and will not be tolerated in the HSE.” He added: “At the centre of many of these examples of poor practice is individual responsibility of staff members.” Several staff have subsequently been suspended, and the HSE has informed the Gardaí and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) of the lack of care at Áras Attracta.

The HSE also apologised to the residents of Áras Attracta and their families for the mistreatment of care home residents that had taken place. The apology stated that the HSE did not wish to “pre-empt the findings of an independent investigation” but that it has taken several immediate actions to “guarantee that a safe and caring environment exists for the residents of Unit Three”.

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