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Birth Compensation Action Settled for Family of Newborn Baby whose Skull was Fractured During Delivery

A High Court action has been settled in favour of the family of a baby who passed way just five days after his birth at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH).

The child in question, Henry John McMahon. was diagnosed with a debilitating heart condition before his birth. He was due to undergo cardiac surgery at a different hospital shortly after his birth. However, Richard Kean SC for his family, told the court that Henry experienced a traumatic instrumental delivery and was inflicted with a fractured skull during the process.

Counsel said it was imperative he experience as healthy a delivery as possible in order to increase his chances of a successful cardiac intervention. Sadly, following his birth he was in no state where he could have the necessary critical cardiac surgery.

Henry’s mother, Sorcha McMahon, of Kilmacud Road, Blackrock, Dublin, sued the NMH, Holles Street, Dublin ub relation to the mental distress suffered by her family in relation to his death. The action submitted alleged that there was a failure to provide henry with reasonable care while he and his mother were patients in the hospital. Additionally it was claimed there had been a failure to involve a consultant obstetrician to assist with delivering the infant. Finally it was claimed that Henry was denied the opportunity of life saving heart surgery due to the alleged gross compromising of his condition as a result of the alleged mismanagement of his birth.

The claims were denied by the defendants.

In an affidavit provided to the court, Mrs McMahon said her son was delivered at the hospital on September 18, 2017 . Shortly after this  he had been diagnosed during an antenatal ultrasound scan with a heart condition. As a result of this a plan was put in place that he would be transferred to Our Lady Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, after delivery for operative care, and his prognosis was positive.

She said it was important that that Henry be given birth to in the healthiest condition possible because he could not experience any additional compromises in light of his pre-existing heart condition and his requirement for immediate operative intervention.

Mrs McMahon said her son experience a traumatic brain injury and after birth his condition was extremely impacted. She said her son’s condition on being taken to the Children’s Hospital, was such that he was deemed unfit for his vital cardiac surgery and a decision had to be taken to permit palliative treatment. She said her son passed away on September 23, 2017.

The details of the settlement are to remain private.

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Hospital Treatment Failings lead to Family of Deceased Man Being Awarded €165,000

A settlement of €165,000 hospital negligence compensation has been approved at the High Court for the family of a 92-year-old man who died in hospital, having received treatment for injuries sustained in a fall at his home in Sword, Co Dublin.

After falling at his family home on July 13, 2015 Mr Dillon was taken to Beaumont Hospital A&E in Dublin for medical treatment. Upon arrival it was noticed that he had a raised white cell count and a raised CRP count, all of which, counsel said, were “indicators of infection overload”.

Some time later Mr Dillon was allowed to return home. However he continued to suffer with severe pain and three days later he was taken back to the hospital where “a substandard examination” was carried out. Mr Dillon was transferred to a rehabilitation step-down facility where it was noticed that Mr Dillon had pressure sores which, according to counsel, “have no place in modern medicine”.

Mr Dillon was taken back to Beaumont hospital on July 27, 2015, and he was severely septic and suffered multi-organ failure prior to dying on July 31. Mr Dillon was a very active man and also tended to his son who had special needs, counsel said. Ann Walsh, Mr Dillon’s daughter, expressed the her family’s unhappiness with the attention given to her fathers, telling Mr Justice Garrett Simons: “The way daddy was treated, no old-age pensioner should be treated like that.” She said that her father had been “put to the side”.

Mr Justice Simons commended the testimony of Ms Walsh daughter had given elegant testimony about her late father. Doireann O’Mahony BL advised the judge that Mr Dillon was a healthy and active man and is a massive loss to his family and community in Swords, Co Dublin.

Beaumont Hospital had admitted a breach of duty in the case in relation to the delay in formulating an accurate diagnosis of Mr Dillon’s condition and his transfer to the rehabilitation hospital. There were, however, other matters at issue in the legal action.

Ann Walsh, of Seatown Villas, Swords, Co Dublin, and her brother Gerard Dillon, of Seatown Terrace, Swords, had taken the legal action against the Beaumont Hospital in relation to the care provided to their father at the hospital during 2015. It was claimed there was a failure to provide the standard of treatment, competence, judgment, diligence and skill which it was reasonable to expect. In addition to this it was claimed Mr Dillon was in a chair in the hospital A&E for a long duration of time which, it was alleged contributed to the deterioration of his condition. It was also alleged a diagnosis of a spine fracture was made which was not identified on a subsequent X-ray.

Speaking outside court following the settlement approval, the family’s solicitor, Niall Tansey, said the settlement is the end of a long and difficult time for the Dillon family. He said Mr Dillon was a huge figure in the Swords community and in the Dillon family.

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Improper Diagnosis at Birth Compensation of €22.5m Awarded Following Delayed Treatment for Boy

An improper diagnosis at birth compensation award of €22.5m has been awarded to an eight-year-old boy been awarded €22.5m after the High Court ruled that he should have been treated for a viral infection more quickly by the physicians tending to him.

The legal action claimed that there was a delay, following Calum Spillane’s delivery on August 1 2012, in diagnosing and administering proper treatment for a Group B streptococcal infection. This delay caused the infection to spread and develop into meningitis, leading to a significant brain injury being sustained by the infant. An additional claim of negligence was filed in relation to the fact that at no point in time was an acceptable examination of the child completed, even though midwives had been tracking the development of his illness on three separate occasions during the afternoon/evening of August 2.

Dr John O’Mahony SC, representing Calum and his family in the High Court, said the young boy’s speech is “enormously limited” as a result of his dyskinetic cerebral palsy and he is confined to his wheelchair. He needs 24-hour care. Mr O’Mahony said: “He was born in good condition and a bad infection developed. The hospital were not alert when they should have been, Calum developed meningitis and there were devastating personal sequelae for him and for the rest of his life.”

An apology from Cork University Maternity Hospital to Calum and his family was read out in the High Court, stating regret due to “the delay in diagnosing Calum’s infection and the injuries he suffered.”

It continued: “We can only express our sincere regret to you and your family for what has happened and wish you both and your two boys Calum and Tom the very best for the future. CUMH have learned important lessons from your experience and we continue to educate out staff regarding the importance of optimal communication and escalation across all our multidisciplinary team.”

The boy’s mother,  Linda Spillane, addressed the Judge following the settlement approval, commenting that she, along with her family, wish for Calum to now be given the treatment he requires. She said: “We want him now to have a team working with him and to have one to one for speech and other therapies. He always has a big smile on his face and he is very sociable.”

Mediation talks led to the approved settlement, one of the highest in the history of the State.


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Death at Birth Compensation Award of €35,000 Against Coombe Maternity Hospital

The Coombe Maternity Hospital has been ordered to pay a death at birth compensation payment of €35,000 by the High Action to the parents of an Rory Jason Sweeney Butler, who passed away hours after he his gave birth to him.

Appearing in Court on behalf of infant’s family, Richard Kean SC made the judge aware that this case was caused by the untimely and “very tragic” death of baby Rory. Rory passed away on November 19 2015 at the Coombe Maternity Hospital. His parent, Assumpta Sweeney and Jason Butler, alleged that this unfortunate course of events too place due to medical negligence compensation and submitted a death at birth compensation action against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. The claim stated that the hospital had been negligent during the birth and that they suffered from nervous shock for many months due in the aftermath of their son’s wrongful death in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Liability in the case was accepted by the Coombe maternity hospital.

At the High Court approval was given for the statutory compensation award by Justice Robert Eager, this is known as the solatium for distress for the parents and siblings of the child.  The Judge was made aware that other family members had waived any entitlement to any payment out of the award.

Along with this the Court was also told that there are due to be more, separate, legal proceedings taken in relation the the circumstances of Rory’s tragic death.

The Coombe Hospital has a sad history in relation to birth negligence comments, on earlier occasions the hospital has been ordered to pay compensations in relation to issues that were experienced during the delivery of their child. In 2013 the maternity  hospital was found to be at fault  in the case of a dyskinetic cerebral palsy medical negligence compensation claim which was submitted by the parents of a then 10-year-old boy who was born suffering from near complete acute hypoxic ischaemia. An official investigation into the incident the claim revealed that dyskinetic cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence.

Dara Brennan, who suffered a facial injury during his birthday at the Coombe Hospital on November 12, 2009  was awarded €65,000 medical negligence compensation and Eoin McCallig from Dunkineely in Co Donegal and his parents were awarded €15m in relation to the injuries he sustained his birth when he was not supplied with enough oxygen during his birth.


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€7m Birth Injury Compensation Settlement for Boy Due to Birth Injuries

A six-year-old boy who was taking a birth injury compensation action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to his birth at Mayo University Hospital has settled his High Court action for €7m.

The boy, who cannot be named order of the court, was awarded the settlement after mediation between the parties. Mr McCullough said medical experts for the boy claimed that strokes can be caused by hypoxia ischemia. However these claim were refuted by experts for the defendant. According to the legal representative for the boy, Denis McCullough SC, this is the first legal action of its type in Ireland where it was claimed that a baby suffered a neonatal stroke.

The boy had through his mother sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at the Castlebar hospital in 2013. She had attended the hospital and had a number of scans which showed seriously reduced amniotic fluid and a small foetus. it was alleged that a congenital abnormality was suspected, leading to an inappropriate plan to transfer the mother to Dublin.

However, the child was not suffering from a congenital abnormality and the foetal compromise should have been identified and a quick delivery carried out, it was alleged. Along with this it was  claimed an excessive amount of time was allowed to expire during attempts to secure a bed in Dublin for the mother and she was transferred to an ambulance but then taken back out as it was too late for such a transfer. A CTG trace to monitor the baby was begun and it is claimed it was grossly abnormal but was discontinued. A caesarean section was used to deliver the boy.

Following his birth, the boy underwent intensive resuscitation and he was later transferred to a Dublin hospital. The legal action said that there was an alleged failure to deliver the baby in a proper and timely and manner and an alleged failure to recognise the CTG abnormalities were causing damage to the baby or the situation required urgent intervention.

The HSE had, in order to refute this, argued that the boy suffered a stroke because of hypoxia ischemia – reduced brain oxygen caused by inadequate blood flow.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, in approving the birth injury compensation settlement said: “We are incredibly proud of our boy. He is a happy child”.

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Child Abuse Compensation Claims Against Scouting Ireland Probable Following Report’s Publication

A report has revealed that Scouting Ireland  was conscious that there was a high chance of sexual abuse compensation claims being made against it as far back as 2018.

These revelations come following a report revealed the systematic failure of Scouting Ireland to prevent child abuse and ensure the safety of its members.

On December 10th, 2018, former board chairperson of Scouting Ireland, Aisling Kelly informed a group of senior Scouting Ireland volunteers that there was a chance that legal actions submitted against the organisation linked to “extensive, prolonged, and at times organised child sexual abuse”.

It has been reported in The Irish Times that Scouting Ireland recently agreed a compensation settlement in excess of €100,000 for a man who alleged he was sexually abused when he was a member of the CBSI as a child. In addition to this Scouting Ireland has moved to move aside a fund of €2.5 million to pay forthe costs of legal claims and cases from survivors.

The report, complied by child protection expert Ian Elliott, revealed the outcomes and recommendations It was commissioned to complete by Scouting Ireland and showed up the extent of the historic abuse at the scouting groups and described how the act failed to act in the interests of the young children iun their care.

Scouting Ireland issued a public apology to the victims following the publication of the report. Scouting Ireland ChairAdrian Tennant said that since learning of the abuse scandal Scouting Ireland had moved to “own” responsibility for addressing the past failings of the group

The report referred to the environment of the scouting groups in Ireland which showed widespread “cronyism” and an absence of adequate governance. This, it claimed, allowed cases of child abuse to go unreported to the proper authorities. Scouting Ireland was labelled a “seriously dysfunctional organisation”, with “sex offenders dominating the leadership for decades”. The report said that there was a “systematic failure” of the organisations to maintain appropriate records of reports of alleged child abuse allegations.



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Delayed Diagnosis Leads to €12m Hospital Negligence Compensation Settlement for Girl at High Court

Approval has been given for a a €12 delayed diagnosis compensation settlement at the High Court in relation to a legal action initiated by a 9-year-old girl.

The settlement was made in favour of the girl, Robyn Kilgallon, in relation to her contracting bacterial meningitis after she was not admitted to Sligo General Hospital. She took the medical negligence action due to the care she received she was taken to Sligo General Hospital A&E Department for treatment on 1 February 2011, when she was aged just 10 months.

Even though she presented, following a GP referral, to the hospital in an extremely poorly condition on February 1, Robyn’s parents were advised to bring her home. This was despite her symptoms including a high temperature, vomiting, her body had gone floppy and her eyes rolling in the back of her head As her condition failed to improve over the next 24 hours they returned to the hospital again.

At this point in time she very ill, unresponsive and had already suffered a seizure. The decision was taken to admit her to an ICU unit. Soon afterwards she was transferred for specialist treatment to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast as there were no beds available in Crumlin or Temple Street in Dublin.

In Belfast Robyn was diagnosed as having contracted Meningococcal Meningitis a form of bacteria that affects the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and spent a number of days in an isolation unit. Sadly, despite the treatment she got in Belfast, Robyn had already suffered significant brain injuries.

Robyn took the hospital negligence action through her mother, Cabrini Fallon of Caltragh Road, Sligo. She claimed the HSE had been negligent on grounds including that there was a failure to admit and treat her for suspected bacterial infection. It was alleged that the failure to admit Robyn when she first presented allowed the condition to progress unchecked resulting in her suffering brain damage.

Liability in the action was admitted and Robyn’s counsel Alistair Rutherdale Bl, instructed by solicitor Donnacha Anhold told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that the matter had been resolved following a mediation between the parties.

Robyn, who is now ten years old, has complex medical and physical needs, suffers from significant development delay and has difficulty communicating with others and moving. She will require assistance for the rest of her life.

Counsel said that there is a good chance that if Robyn been admitted and had antibiotics administered when she first presented at the hospital she would not have suffered the catastrophic injuries that have changed her life forever.

Presiding judge Kevin Cross said that he was happy to approve the compensation settlement figure, and praised Robyn’s parents for the great work they have been doing in raising their daughter.


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BreastCheck Misdiagnosis Allegation as Woman (59) Sues HSE

A breast cancer misdiagnosis case has been submitted against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by a 59-year-old mother of two who claims that the failure of the BreastCheck service to identify her cancer led to a delay in her treatment.

The woman in question, MS Siobhan Freeney, has informed the court that she is of the belief that the mammogram which was carried on her by the BreastCheck service in June 2015 did not produce the correct results. The service communicated the results of the test with in her in letter, shortly after the test was conducted, that informed her there was not cancer identified.

However, less that six months later Ms Freeney was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast after a subsequent test. Due to this Ms Freeney has submitted a legal action which alleges that first mammogram should have returned a diagnosis of cancer which would have led to more assessments being conducted.

Jeremy Maher SC, representing Ms Freeney in court, told the court that the BreastCheck service provided by the HSE caused a delay in treatment when they failed to diagnose Ms Freeney’s cancer in the initial test. He went on to say that the legal action was being submitted due to the delayed diagnosis. Ms Freeney’s breast cancer was not finally diagnosed until December 2015.

There were additional claims submitted say that Ms Freeney was not referred for additional assessment after the tests that were completed at the mobile clinic in Gorey. It was alleged that, if a correct result had been returned, a triple assessment including a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have been conducted and identified the cancer.

aLong with this was was claimed that:

  • There was a failure to failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful fashion .
  • There was a failure to use reasonable care skill and judgment when examining her mammogram on June 17, 2015.
  • There was an a failure to recognise features in her mammogram of her right breast taken that June could have been cancer.

The HSE refuted all pf the claims and said, if it had of been identified in the initial mammogram, the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy.



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Family of Woman Kept on Life Support due to Eighth Amendment Awarded €1.5m Settlement

A €1.5m settlement including expenses has been awarded to the family of a deceased young mother who was pregnant and kept alive on life support due to doctors’ concerns about the Eighth Amendment.

Ms Natasha Perie (26) was pronounced brain dead during November 2014 when she was 15 weeks pregnant. She had been kept alive on life support for an another four weeks after this due to doctors’ concerns in relation to the Eighth Amendment – which has since been repealed – for the foetus. Life support was turned off once her family obtained High Court orders to that end on December 26, 2014.

The final settlement was awarded for negligence in care at Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar and €1.3m of it will be paid to Ms Perie’s two children, who are now aged 11 and nine. Her father Peter Perie initiated a legal action for damages for his two grandchildren (Natasha’s children) now aged 11 and 9, in relation to the loss of their mother. Both children, who have different fathers, had been living with their mother in Mr Perie’s home but, since her death, have been residing with their respective fathers.

The HSE admitted liability in the case but did not accept the extent of damages sought, some €3.2m. The State Claims Agency offered a settlement of some €1.5m on behalf of the HSE. Nervous shock claims by seven family members were settled on an earlier occasion and Ms Perie’s daughter received €150,000 in those proceedings.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy heard the bigger fatal dependency case, which started yesterday, after a mediation was unsuccessful in securing agreement and the €1.5m offer made earlier this week was not accepted.

An apology had been made public by the HSE for the family last November from the Mullingar hospital and the HSE in relation to problems with Ms Perie’s care at the hospital in late 2014. She was confirmed brain dead days after her admission there on November 27, 2014, but was then placed on life support.

Testimony was made to Justice Murphy, from members of his extended family and the children’s fathers and relevant medics, in relation to the effect on the children of seeing their mother on life support. Dr Frances Colreavy said Ms Perie’s eyes did not close properly. She said nurses advised her that the children, especially the then six-year-old girl, were upset, with both refusing to make contact with their mother. Th current state of the girl was referred to as “inconsolable”. A care specialist also told the Court that both children would need live-in nannies until they left home. The judge expressed concern about that and certain other aspects of the legal action.

However yesterday morning, in the aftermath of mediation talks, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was asked by Jonathan Kilfeather SC, instructed by Gillian O’Connor solicitor, of Michael Boylan Litigation, to give his approval the €1.5m offer.


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