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Settlement of Compensation for Scarring due to Hospital Negligence Approved at Court

A High Court judge has approved a €100,000 settlement of compensation for scarring due to hospital negligence at a hearing of the High Court in Dublin.

Ann Ryan from Rathdrum in County Wicklow gave birth to her second daughter at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin on 19th October 2012 – just twenty-five weeks into her pregnancy. Baby Sophia was transferred to the Special Care Unit, where catheters were inserted to help with her feeding and administer medication.

The areas of Sophia´s skin surrounding the catheters were cleaned with chlorhexidine rather than the usual sepsis-preventing povidone-iodine. This action was undertaken as part of the National Children´s Research Centre´s “SKA trial” – a trial that Ann had agreed to take part in provided that Sophia did not experience any discomfort or side effects.

However, the morning after her transfer to the Special Care Unit, nurses noticed redness and ulcerations on Sophia´s back. The condition was diagnosed as being an adverse reaction to the antisepsis treatment and, because Sophia was in distress from the pain, she was administered morphine intravenously and Fucidim – a cream used to prevent bacterial skin infections – was applied to her skin.

As the condition failed to improve, the Fucidim treatment was discontinued the following day and an alternate cream applied – Duoderm. The redness and ulcerations began to fade, but Sophia has been left with discoloured skin on her back and a scar that was diagnosed in May 2014 as being consistent with a chemical burn.

Through her father – Tom – Sophia claimed compensation for scarring due to hospital negligence; alleging that the Holles Street hospital had been negligent in her treatment. It was also alleged that, due to the discolouration of the skin on her back, Sophia will likely require a skin graft in the future.

The hospital offered to settle the claim without an admission of liability for €100,000 and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Richard Humphries was given the details of the settlement offer along with a synopsis of Sophia´s treatment after her premature birth. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for scarring due to hospital negligence and also ordered that the hospital pay the Ryan´s legal costs.

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