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Final Settlement of Compensation for the Failure to Refer Approved in Court

A final settlement of compensation for the failure to refer a pregnant mother with an alarming rise in blood antibodies has been approved in the High Court.

Isabelle “Izzy” Sheehan was born on 29th November 2004 in the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork suffering from severe spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy. One month before her birth, a blood test on Isabelle´s mother – Catherine – had revealed an “alarming rise” in blood antibodies that presented a risk of injury to the unborn child; however, consultant obstetrician Dr David Corr had failed to refer Catherine to specialist in foetal medicine.

Now eleven years of age, and despite being described as “bright and intelligent”, Isabelle has difficulty in communicating. Isabelle has a specially-equipped machine that helps her to walk and she attends a Gaelscoil near her home in Mallow in County Cork where she has learned a few words in Irish, but she will required full-time care for the rest of her life.

Liability for Isabelle´s tragic condition was admitted by Dr Corr after Catherine had claimed compensation for the failure to refer her to a specialist. The consultant obstetrician said he “very much regrets the outcome in relation to Isabelle´s birth” during a hearing to approve an initial interim settlement of compensation in October 2011.

A second interim settlement of compensation for the failure to refer was approved in 2013 and – due for a further interim settlement of compensation – Isabelle´s mother asked for a final lump sum payment in order to avoid the disruption to Isabelle´s life in the weeks leading up to each assessment of her needs.

The request for a lump sum payment was granted and, approving the final settlement of €9 million compensation for the failure to refer Catherine to a specialist, High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly said it was a fair and reasonable settlement and underscored the necessity for the introduction of a periodic payments scheme.

Agreeing it was understandable that Isabelle’s parents were weary with interim settlements, Mr Justice Kelly paid tribute to Catherine and Colm Sheehan – saying that Isabelle would not have made the progress she had without the “truly remarkable” love, care and attention they have lavished on her.

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Claim for an Undiagnosed Intra Cerebral Subarachnoid Haemorrhage Resolved in Court

A claim for an undiagnosed intra cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage has been resolved in court with the approval of a €2.7 million compensation settlement.

Paula Dundon (42) – a mother of three from Brownstown in County Kildare – attended the Naas General Hospital on 26th June 2006, complaining of severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. Paula was admitted to the hospital and administered painkillers. She later underwent a CT scan on her brain.

Doctors at the hospital failed to identify what was causing Paula to suffer such severe headaches and a second scan was conducted on 29th June. The second scan showed a large intra cerebral bleed on the left side of her brain and Paula was transferred to the Beaumont Hospital.

Further investigation at the Beaumont Hospital revealed an intra cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage; however, due to the passage of time between attending Naas General Hospital and her injury being diagnosed, Paula suffered brain damage and she now requires around the clock care.

Paula´s husband – Michael – made a claim for an undiagnosed intra cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage, alleging that the delayed in diagnosing his wife´s injury could have been avoided and was attributable to hospital negligence. He claimed that an adequate assessment and prompt diagnosis would have mitigated the level of injury Paula sustained.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) contested the element of the claim for an undiagnosed intra cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage relating to the failure to adequately assess Paula, but admitted that there had been a failure to diagnose within an appropriate timeframe.

A €2.7 million settlement of the claim for an undiagnosed intra cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage was agreed. However, as the claim had been made on behalf of Paula, the settlement had to be approved by a judge. The approval hearing took place earlier this week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who – after hearing the circumstances of the case – approved the settlement and congratulated Michael for the care he had given to Paula over the past ten years.

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