Details of a claim against the HSE for a brain injury at birth have been heard in the High Court prior to the approval of a €15 million lump sum settlement.
The claim against the HSE for a brain injury at birth was made on behalf of a ten-year-old boy, whose birth on May 25th 2006 at Kerry general Hospital was avoidably delayed by more than two hours. Due to a series of systematic failings, the boy was starved of oxygen in the womb and diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy shortly after he was born.
Among the series of failings related to Mr Justice Peter Kelly at the High Court were the failure to act on a CTG trace indicating foetal distress, the failure to consider foetal hypoxia, and the inform the consultant obstetrician about a worrying pattern developing in the foetal heart rate. Now ten years of age, the boy cannot speak, is confined to a wheelchair and requires around the clock care.
The judge also heard that the HSE failed to admit liability for almost nine years despite a consultant admitting to the boy´s parents in 2006 that mistakes had been made. During this time, the boy´s parents had to care for him without the support usually provided for parents of children with cerebral palsy. This was not lost on Judge Kelly, who paid tribute to the boy´s parents for the care they had provided.
Eventually, the judge was told, the HSE only admitted liability after being threatened with aggravated damages. A €2.7 million interim settlement of the claim against the HSE for a brain injury at birth was approved in early 2015, and the lump sum payment he was being asked to approve was a final payment that would be held and managed by the courts.
Judge Kelly described the €15 million lump sum settlement as making “commercial, common and legal sense”. He approved the settlement of the claim against the HSE for a brain injury at birth, adding that while no amount of money could compensate the boy and his family for what they had experience, it was the only form of redress the law could provide. The judge closed the hearing by saying he hoped the settlement would give the family peace of mind for the future.