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Woman (20) Receives €1.9m Interim Payout in Cerebral Birth Injury Case with HSE

An interim pay out settlement with the HSE of €1.95m has been approved for a 20-year-old woman who suffers with cerebral palsy due to complication with her birth

Born just about 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister in Wexford General Hospital, the High Court heard that Shauni Breen has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from spastic diplegia.

Ms Breen will have to return to the Hight Court in five years’ time when her future care needs will be recalculated.

No living in Meadowbrook, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co Cork, Ms Breen took her cerebral palsy compensation action against the HSE due to the handling of the complication that occurred during her birth on December 30, 1997. The High Court was advised that, that when her pregnancy was at 33 weeks and three days, the twins’ mother Marie Foley was admitted to Wexford General hospital at 5am. Ms Breen’s twin Nicole was born healthy soon after this at 6.10am.

It was also alleged that the second stage of labour in Shauni Breen’s delivery lasted 40 minutes. Ms Breen’s legal team alleged that the management of her birth was incompetent. The added that there was a clear failure to have an anaesthetist present at the delivery of Shauni. There also should have been, it was argued, that a full team medical team in attendance, ready and prepared for every possible outcome. This was probably due to the failure to recognise this as a high-risk labour.

The HSE, in denying these allegations, stated that the manner in which the birth was managed complied with general and approved practice in 1997. Additionally, it was also argued by the HSE that everything was operated in a fashion entirely consistent with standard medical practice in a district hospital maternity unit.

The baby, according to legal counsel, had an abnormal presentation and said that she should have been delivered by caesarean section in the 15 minutes following the birth of her sister, Nicole. Instead, Shauni Breen had to be resuscitated and was transferred to another hospital for treatment.

High Court Judge Justice Kevin Cross approved the interim cerebral palsy settlement.

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