An 11-year-old boy, who cannot be named, who brought a compensation action against the Children’s University Hospital Temple Street, Dublin due to an alleged delay in the diagnosis of and treatment of a brain tumour has settled his High Court action for €7.5m.
Representing the young boy and his family in court, John O’Mahony SC (appearing with Cian O’Mahony BL) informed the High Court that he and his clients were of the opinion that there had been “three missed opportunities’ ‘ to identify the brain tumour.
Mr O’Mahony informed the High Court that his client was initially taken to Temple Street hospital on July 31, 2012 – when he was just two years old – as he was suffering with some weakness in his left upper and lower limbs. He added that the parents made those tending to their son aware of the worries caused by the young child’s frequent falls. However, physicians sent them home and informed them that they would review his condition again a year later.
However, the boy’s parents grew concerned in relation to reduced movements on the child’s left side and he was again referred to the hospital in January 2013. At this point in time an MRI scan was arranged and was due to take place a number of months later.
His parents became extremely worried when he began drooling from his mouth and dragging his left foot and returned to the hospital on March 8, 2013. They were informed that an MRI scan was due to be completed later that year in May. They returned home. However, they contacted the hospital again a few days later and were asked to attend the hospital for an MRI scan on March 14. The results of this scan indicated that there was a brain tumour present. This results in the child having two surgical procedures and chemotherapy.
In the legal action that was taken it was alleged that the hospital failed to complete an adequate assessment of the boy’s condition when he was brought to the hospital initially on July 31, 2012 along with a failure to conduct a full neurological review. In addition to this it was alleged that the boy dragging his foot when he walked was attributed to leg length inequality. Finally it was alleged that there was a failure to arrange for an MRI scan in July 2012. This, it was claimed, cost the boy the chance to undergo surgery when the best possible outcome was possible.
Legal counsel for the hospital denied the claims and argued that, as it was a slow-growing tumour that the boy was suffering with, a delay should not have resulted in exacerbating his condition and would still have had to undergo a surgical procedure to remove it.
The settlement was made with no admission of liability.
The boy’s legal representative informed Judge Justice Kevin Cross that the child is extremely happy and is adored by his loving parents.
The judge, as he was giving his approval for the delayed diagnosis compensation settlement, expressed his opinion that it was a very good settlement and gave his best wishes to the boy and his family for the future.