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Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for the Failure to Diagnose Hydrocephalus

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has approved a €1.9 million settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose hydrocephalus in favour of an eight-year-old boy.

Joe Keegan-Grant was born on 17th January 2008 at the Mount Carmel Hospital by emergency Caesarean Section. The emergency procedure had been ordered by doctors wary of applying any pressure to an arachnoid cyst that had been revealed at the base of Joe´s skull during a pre-natal scan.

Despite the presence of the cyst, Joe was discharged from hospital a few days later. Over the course of the next few months, Joe was regularly assessed by public health nurses and paediatrician Dr Vladka Vilimkova. However, despite concerns about his delayed development, neither the public health nurses nor Dr Vilimkova identified that Joe´s head was growing too quickly for his age.

It was only in October 2008 – when Joe had been taken to his family´s new GP in Creggs, County Roscommon, suffering with a chest infection – was any comment made about the size of Joe´s head. Joe was referred to the Crumlin Hospital, where he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus – a condition that is known to be a consequence of an arachnoid cyst, and that can cause developmental delay and autism.

Through his mother, Patricia, Joe claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose hydrocephalus – alleging that both the public health nurses and Dr Vilimkova failed to plot Joe´s head circumference on a chart or exchange information about Joe´s developmental delay. The HSE denied liability, but made the family an offer of compensation for the failure to diagnose hydrocephalus amounting to €1.9 million.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that, although there was evidence to support the claim for compensation for the failure to diagnose hydrocephalus, the HSE had opposing evidence that disputed the link between the failure to diagnose hydrocephalus, developmental delay and autism. With there being a dispute over liability and causation, the court was asked to approve the settlement.

Joe´s father told the judge: “we just want to ensure that we can look after him and offer him the best care and therapy and interventions that can bring him along.” Judge Cross also heard that, despite his autism, Joe was doing well at a mainstream school but he will never be able to care for himself, get a job or lead an independent life.

Judge Cross said in the circumstances it would be prudent to approve the settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose hydrocephalus. The judge noted there was a risk that, should the case go to a full hearing, Joe might be unsuccessful with his claim against the HSE. The judge approved the settlement and closed the hearing after wishing Joe and his parents all the best for the future.

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Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Delayed C-Section Birth

The High Court has approved a €3 million interim settlement of compensation for a delayed C-Section birth in favour of an eleven-year boy.

Mohammad Daud Assad was born on 20 February 2004 at the Rotunda Hospital by emergency Caesarean Section after a deterioration in the foetal heart rate had been recorded. Due to being deprived of oxygen in the womb, Mohammad needed resuscitating after his birth.

During his foetal distress, Mohammad sustained severe brain damage. Suffering from cerebral palsy, Mohammad has both mental and physical disabilities and is unable to speak. Due to his birth injury, Mohammad will need full-time care for the remainder of his life.

On her son´s behalf, Alia Muryem Assad claimed compensation for a delayed C-Section birth against the Rotunda Hospital – alleging that the reduction of the foetal heart rate had been identified hours before Mohammad´s delivery, but the hospital failed to summon an obstetrician in a timely manner.

It was also alleged that had been a failure by the hospital to properly assess Alia and consider a failing of the placental function after she attended the hospital ten days overdue at 9:00am in the morning. Mohammad was not delivered until 10:30pm that evening.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the Rotunda Hospital had only acknowledged liability for failings in Alia´s care two weeks ago. He also heard that an interim settlement of €3 million compensation for a delayed C-Section birth had been agreed.

After hearing that Mohammad attended mainstream school and enjoyed music, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of compensation for a delayed C-Section birth. The judge commented that the way in which Mohammad´s family had rallied round to help his parents “restored one´s faith in humanity” before adjourning the case for six years – when an assessment of Mohammad´s future needs will be conducted.

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Liability Admitted by HSE in Claim for Inappropriate Cancer Treatment

The HSE has admitted liability in a claim for inappropriate cancer treatment, which will now be assessed by the High Court for an award of compensation.

In July 2010, Kevin McMahon (then fifty-eight years old) visited his GP with a hoarse voice. Kevin was referred to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick where doctors identified a lesion on the left side of his vocal chords and a biopsy was taken.

As there were concerns that the lesion was cancerous, Kevin was scheduled to have a second biopsy in October. The October appointment was subsequently cancelled and Kevin from Roxboro in County Limerick was not seen again until January 2011.

On the re-scheduled appointment the cancer was confirmed. Kevin was told he would have to have an urgent operation and later that month he underwent a fourteen-hour procedure to have his larynx removed. Kevin now has to speak through an artificial voice box.

Kevin later found out that the cancer could have been treated with targeted radiotherapy. After seeking legal advice, he made a claim for inappropriate cancer treatment against the Mid-Western Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

In the claim for inappropriate cancer treatment, Kevin alleged that there had been a failure to discuss the options available to him. As a consequence Kevin had been unable to give his informed consent for the removal of his larynx to take place.

It was also claimed that the delay in seeing him after the first biopsy had allowed the preventable development of the cancer and that, as a result of the hospital’s negligence, he had suffered significant and avoidable damage and distress.

The HSE declined to accept liability for Kevin’s unnecessary injuries until Tuesday this week – the day before his claim for inappropriate cancer treatment was scheduled to be heard in the High Court. The hearing has gone ahead but, rather than determine liability, Mr Justice Kevin Cross will be asked to assess how much compensation for inappropriate cancer treatment Kevin is entitled to.

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