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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Settlement Approved in Claim for Medical Negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital

A €1.75 million interim settlement of a claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital has been approved at the High Court.

The claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick was brought by two-year-old Charlie Enright, whose mother Catriona was admitted to the hospital on August 19th 2013, thirty-seven weeks pregnant with her son.

After tests were conducted on Catriona, doctors made the decision to induce labour and administered Syntocinon. However, despite the well-chronicled side effects of Syntocinon, there was a failure to adequately monitor Catriona´s condition as Charlie suffered hyper-stimulation in the womb.

Due to the misinterpretation of a cardiotocography trace and the belated recognition of foetal distress, Charlie was born “flat” the following morning – unable to breathe by himself. The new-born child was transferred to Cork University Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an intra-cranial haemorrhage underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment on his head.

Despite the rapid action to prevent brain damage after his birth, Charlie is permanently disabled due to the lack of care his mother received prior to his delivery. On her son´s behalf, Catriona made a claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital against the Health Service Executive (HSE) – who, after an investigation into the claim, admitted liability for Charlie´s birth injuries.

Negotiations started to settle the claim for medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital; but, as Charlie´s future needs are not yet determined, a €1.75 million interim settlement of the claim was agreed to cover Charlie´s care and medical expenses for the next two years. To ensure that the interim settlement was appropriate, an approval hearing was scheduled for the High Court.

At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said that the interim settlement was a very good one. He approved the interim settlement and adjourned the hearing for two years, by which time Charlie´s future needs should have been determined and his mother will have the option of accepting a lump sum or assuring Charlie´s future care through a system of periodic payments.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Final Settlement of Cerebral Palsy Compensation Approved at Court

A €5.56 million final settlement of cerebral palsy compensation has been approved in favour of a girl who suffered brain damage due to her delayed delivery.

On 11th October 1999, Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital by emergency Caesarean section after becoming distressed in the womb. As there was no consultant being available to assist with the delivery, Mary´s birth was delayed by eighty minutes. Mary was deprived of oxygen during the avoidable delay and sustained brain damage – due to which she now suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

On her daughter´s behalf, Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo claimed a settlement of cerebral palsy compensation from Mayo General Hospital. In her legal action, Maura alleged that there had been a failure by the hospital to ensure a consultant was available once a deceleration of the foetal heart rate had been identified. The hospital´s negligence – Maura alleged – had led to the failure to deliver Mary in a timely manner.

In early 2014, an interim settlement of cerebral palsy compensation amounting to €1.5 million was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. Judge Irvine then adjourned the case for two years to allow time for a system of periodic payments to be introduced. As no such system has yet been introduced, Mary and her parents returned to the High Court last week to attend a hearing to approve a €5.56 final settlement of cerebral palsy compensation.

At the hearing before Mr Justice Peter Kelly, the court heard a statement read to Mary in which representatives of the Mayo General Hospital apologised for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. The judge approved the final settlement of cerebral palsy compensation – describing Mary as “heroic” for the challenges she has overcome so far in her life.

After her final settlement of cerebral palsy compensation had been approved, Mary gave a statement to the press in which she said: “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Judge Awards Compensation for a Swab Left Inside during Childbirth

A judge at the High Court has awarded €117,000 compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth to a mother who subsequently developed an infection.

Sarah Daly from Rathfarnham in Dublin gave birth to a healthy child at the Mount Carmel Hospital on April 22nd 2013. The event should have been a very happy experience for Sarah and her husband but, on April 25th, Sarah returned to the hospital complaining of extreme pain in her lower abdomen.

Despite Sarah having recently given birth, medical professionals at the Mount Carmel Hospital failed to conduct an internal investigation until April 28th. The investigation revealed the presence of a retained swab that had swollen to the “size of a plum”.

The swab left inside of Sarah was removed; but, due to a failure to prescribe her with antibiotics, Sarah developed an infection. After she recovered, Sarah sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth against her consultant doctor Valerie Donnelly and attending physician Charles Julian Dockeray.

The two defendants acknowledged liability for the Sarah´s injuries, but a settlement of compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth could not be agreed. Consequently, the case went to the High Court for the assessment of damages, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the High Court, Judge Cross awarded Sarah €117,000 compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth. The judge commented he believed the award to be “fair and reasonable” because what ought to have been a very joyous occasion for Sarah had become something that will live with her for the rest of her life.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

HSE Open Disclosure Policy Not Being Applied Claims Examiner

The Irish Examiner has published an Op-Ed in which it is claimed the HSE open disclosure policy has a long way to go before being put into practice.

The HSE open disclosure policy of communicating to patients and their families when “things go wrong” with the standard of healthcare delivered to them has been in force since November 2013. Yet, according to an editorial opinion published in the Irish Examiner, although the policy is good in theory, it is not being put into practise in Ireland´s hospitals.

The author of the Op-Ed, Catherine Shanahan, supports her claim that the HSE open disclosure policy is not being applied with details of seven high profile medical negligence claims from 2015. These cases demonstrate how the Health Service Executive is failing to own up to mistakes and forcing patients families to go to court to get the truth about the standard of care they received.

The case of Gill Russell is possibly the one most people will remember because of the subsequent actions of the State Claims Agency. Gill was born in 2006 suffering from cerebral palsy after a “prolonged and totally chaotic” delivery during which he was starved of oxygen in the womb. It was not until 2012 that the family received an apology from the HSE and an interim settlement of compensation was approved.

Due to the fact that no system of periodic payments has been introduced, Gill´s family returned to the High Court in December 2014 and were awarded a €13.5 million lump sum settlement – the largest ever award of compensation for cerebral palsy. The State Claims Agency appealed the value of the settlement and, in November 2014, the appeal was rejected. Yet the State Claims Agency plans to take the case to the Supreme Court – depriving Gill´s family of much needed funds to pay for his care.

Other cases used as examples that the HSE open disclosure policy is not being applied included the case of Skye Worthington, whose family waited almost four years before receiving an apology for their daughter´s mismanaged birth, and Katie Manton – another little girl who suffers from cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth. In Katie´s case, her parents waited four years for an admission of liability and seven years for an apology. The apology was described as “too little, too late” by Katie´s father.

Throughout the remaining examples in Ms Shanahan´s article, it becomes abundantly clear that the HSE open disclosure policy is not being applied and the volume of money devising the policy and distributing booklets to patients and medical professionals has just been another huge Health Service waste at the expense of the taxpayer.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Award of High Court Compensation for Cerebral Palsy Upheld on Appeal

An award of High Court compensation for cerebral palsy has been upheld on appeal, but the case may still have to go before the Supreme Court to be resolved.

On 12th July 2006, Gill Russell from Aghada in County Cork was born suffering from dyskinetic cerebral palsy following a “prolonged and totally chaotic” delivery at the Erinville Hospital. On her son´s behalf, Karen Russell made a medical negligence compensation claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and, after liability had been admitted, Gill was awarded an interim settlement of High Court compensation for cerebral palsy.

In December 2014, the medical negligence compensation claim against the HSE was resolved €13.5 million – the largest ever award of High Court compensation for cerebral palsy. The HSE appealed the settlement of the claim – arguing that Mr Justice Kevin Cross had used a lower rate of interest than was traditionally used in Irish courts to calculate the return to investment of the lump sum.

However, earlier this week at the Appeals Court, a three-judge panel upheld the settlement of High Court compensation for cerebral palsy. The judges said that using the higher rate of interest would result in a catastrophically injured person having to take “unjust and unacceptable” risks with the investment of the lump sum to ensure their financial security.

One of the three-judge panel – Ms Justice Mary Irvine – said it was not the courts´ function to decide how a claimant was likely to invest their award for the purposes of determining its value. She added that the Russell family and the HSE would not be in this position had the government not failed to introduce legislation that would permit structured periodic payments.

The decision of the Appeal Court judges is unlikely to resolve the medical negligence compensation claim against the HSE. Warning that the calculation of High Court compensation for cerebral palsy set a precedent that could cost the State Claims Agency and the insurance industry up to €10 billion over the next decade, the HSE has indicated that it will take the case to the Supreme Court.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Organisation Calls for more Openness in Hospital Negligence Claims

The Medical Injuries Alliance has repeated its call for “Duty of Candour” legislation so that there is more openness in hospital negligence claims.

The Medical Injuries Alliance is an organisation that works with patients injured by medical mistakes to get answers about how the injuries occurred. Among the organisation´s objectives is the promotion of studies that help to understand the why medical mistakes occur, so that safety improvements in Irish hospitals can be made.

In order to meet their objectives, the Alliance has repeatedly called for politicians to introduce “Duty of Candour” legislation – legislation that would promote openness in hospital negligence claims by forcing healthcare professionals and Irish hospitals to admit when medical mistakes have been made, to explain why they happened, and to issue an apology immediately.

The Alliance has already issued a statement on its website that “the duty of candour in hospitals and doctors should be placed on a statutory footing, entitling injured patients to an accurate account of how they came to suffer medical injury in Irish hospitals”, and, to repeat its call for more openness in hospital negligence claims, the message has now been taken to the press.

Last week an article appeared in the Irish Times commenting on a cerebral palsy claim that took nine years to resolve due to a lack of openness in hospital negligence claims and alleged “stonewalling” by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The article concluded by saying that duty of candour laws were introduced in the UK last year, and that similar legislation is clearly needed in Ireland.

In response to that article, a letter from the Secretary of the Medical Injuries Alliance – Joice McCarthy – was published. In the letter, Ms McCarthy agreed with the comments within the article and made her own observations that many victims of hospital negligence are forced to take legal action to get the answers to the questions that healthcare professionals and hospitals are unwilling to give.

Ms McCarthy commented that patients who have been through the legal process describe it as a stressful and protracted experience, and she alluded to the recent “shabby episode” in which there was a disagreement between the HSE and the State Claims Agency about who was responsible for delays in settling a six-year hospital negligence claim. Ms McCarthy concluded her letter:

“Instead of blaming any particular State organisation, or indeed having different State organisations blame one another for the current difficulties, it is high time politicians simply acted to introduce a legal duty of candour in order to fix what seems to be a glaringly obvious problem”.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

HSE Medical Negligence Apology “Six Years Too Late”

The parents of a girl who died shortly after her birth have rejected the HSE medical negligence apology given at her inquest as being “six years too late”.

Caoimhe was born to Joan and John Mulcair at the Midland Regional Hospital in Limerick on 11th February 2009. Joan and John were overjoyed at the birth of a daughter that they had been trying to conceive for four years; but, soon after baby Caoimhe´s birth, it was noticed that she was not crying as new born babies should. Caoimhe was taken to the hospital´s special care unit, but died in her mother´s arms thirty-nine minutes after being born.

Joan and John made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Midland General Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE), claiming that a failure to act on a deceleration in the foetal heart rate had resulted in Caoimhe´s brain being deprived of oxygen. The HSE denied that Caoimhe´s death was attributable to medical negligence until December last year, when the family´s claim for medical negligence compensation was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Last week, a jury at Limerick courthouse returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure after hearing that a deceleration of the foetal heartbeat had been recorded during Joan´s labour, and death was due to a lack of blood and oxygen supply to the brain. During the inquest hearing, Joan and John were read an HSE medical negligence apology by Collette Cowan, the chief executive of the Midland Regional Hospital.

However, after the inquest had concluded, John told reporters that he and his wife rejected the HSE medical negligence apology as it had come “six years too late”. John explained to reporters that there had been no HSE medical negligence apology during the time that the couple had been battling the HSE for compensation, and said that it was a disgrace that the HSE had put “an ordinary decent family through the pain and torment we had to endure for over six years”.

A spokesperson for the HSE later said medical negligence claims were not handled by the HSE but by the State Claims Agency. However, the “passing of the buck” did not impress one Irish Times columnist, who described the treatment that Joan and John had received as a “shabby episode” and who wrote: “A common interest links the HSE and the claims agency and there has been a persistent pattern of denial, prevarication and years of unnecessary delay in dealing with medical claims. The public and aggrieved patients deserve better. So do the vast majority of medical professionals.”

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Settlement of Birth Injury Brain Damage Claim Delayed for 18 Days

The High Court has approved the €9 million settlement of a birth injury brain damage claim after negotiations continued for eighteen days into the hearing.

Alex Butler was born “blue and lifeless” at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005, after a locum covering for her mother´s consultant obstetrician failed to identify complications with the birth and avoidably delayed Alex´s delivery by ten minutes.

Due to being deprived of oxygen in the womb, Alex suffered severe brain damage. Although Alex is described as having a “bright personality with a huge intelligence”, she is tetraplegic, mostly confined to a wheelchair and will require permanent care for the rest of her life.

On her daughter´s behalf, Sonya Butler made a birth injury brain damage claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE acknowledged liability for Alex´s birth injuries in 2013 and an interim payment of compensation was made in lieu of a structured settlement system being introduced.

The case was adjourned for two years to allow for the introduction of a structured compensation payment system, but with the necessary legislation not yet passed, the birth injury brain damage claim was heard again at the High Court by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

The hearing commenced with Alex and her parents hearing an apology from a representative of Waterford Regional Hospital. Thereafter it deteriorated into a disagreement of how much compensation for her avoidable devastating injuries Alex was entitled to.

Negotiations continued for eighteen days until an agreement was reached. Approving the €9 million settlement of Alex´s birth injury brain damage claim, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said the settlement was reasonable and sensible – but, after the approval of the settlement, Alex´s parents said they were shocked that negotiations had taken so long.

Sonya Butler criticised the State Claims Agency´s approach to negotiations and told reporters “They fought tooth and nail. They basically want Alex to have an existence, not a life. They want her to scrape by with the bare minimum rather than her having the life that she should have had.”

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Woman Awarded €140,000 Compensation for Vaginal Swab Left behind after Birth of Child

A woman has been awarded €140,000 compensation for a vaginal swab left behind after the birth of her child that resulted in severe physical and emotional trauma.

On 24th December 2012, Claire Lalor from Swords in County Dublin gave birth at the National Maternity Hospital after a difficult labour. Claire was discharged three days later, but returned to the hospital on January 2nd and January 9th with concerns about a pain in her lower abdomen and an unpleasant smell coming from her vagina.

On neither visit to the hospital was Claire examined internally and, during her visit on 9th January, she was prescribed antibiotics to deal with a suspected infection. Claire continued to experience pain, while the unpleasant smell worsened. She returned to the hospital again on 16th January, and on this occasion it was discovered that a vaginal swab had been left inside of her after the birth of her child.

The swab was removed, but Claire continued to experience pain. She returned once more to the National Maternity Hospital on January 18th, but was discharged the same day after being diagnosed with post-natal depression. However, on her return home, Claire´s condition worsened and she started suffering from chills, sweating and diarrhoea.

Claire was taken to the Beaumont Hospital where she was diagnosed with C.difficile – a bacterial infection that had developed as a result of unnecessarily being prescribed antibiotics. Once she had recovered from the infection, she sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a vaginal swab left behind after the birth of her child.

The National Maternity Hospital acknowledged responsibility for the errors that had led to the pain Claire had experienced as a result of the swab being left inside of her, the unpleasant smell that had developed due to the hospital´s error, and the C.difficle infection that had developed due to being unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics.

However, the extent of Claire´s emotional trauma was contested. The hospital argued that the psychological injury she was claiming was attributable to post-natal depression rather than the consequences of the swab being left behind inside her. With no agreement over how much compensation for a vaginal swab left behind after the birth of her child Claire was entitled to, the case went to the High Court for the assessment of damages where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross agreed with the National Maternity Hospital that the difficult labour prior to the birth of Claire´s child made it more likely that she might suffer from post-natal depression, and that her continuing symptoms of emotion trauma may have had some origin in her underlying disposition.

However, Judge Cross said that were it not for the negligent post-natal care that Claire had received, she would have recovered from any post-natal depression quicker and was “entirely appropriately extremely distressed” by the episode relating to the swab. The judge awarded Claire €140,000 compensation for a vaginal swab left behind after the birth of her child, commenting that he believed she was a truthful witness when giving her evidence.

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If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in hospital, you should be entitled to receive compensation. Unlike most personal injuries, when you claim compensation for a birth injury in hospital, your claim is not dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland and has to be resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the negligent medical practitioner´s insurers or through the court system. Compensation settlements for a birth injury in hospital tend to be substantial and, to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for a birth injury in hospital, you are advised to speak with an experienced hospital negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Judge Calls for Structured Payment Systems for Hospital Negligence Compensation Settlements

A High Court judge has called for the introduction of structured payment systems for hospital negligence compensation settlements.

Over the years, a number of high-profile High Court judges have commented that legislation needs to be passed to enable structured payment systems for hospital negligence compensation settlements. Mr Justice John Quirke, Ms Justice Mary Irvine and Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill have previously said that settlements of hospital negligence compensation can be a lottery when they are awarded on the basis of the anticipated life expectancy of a catastrophically injured plaintiff.

Last month another high-profile High Court judge, Mr Justice Bernard Barton, added his voice to those calling for structured payments systems for hospital negligence compensation settlements when presiding over O’Neill vs National Maternity Hospital – a case in which the National Maternity Hospital wants to make an interim settlement of compensation, but the “next friend” of the plaintiff wants a full settlement.

The case revolves around a young girl, who was born at the National Maternity Hospital in 2007 suffering from cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence. Although liability has been admitted by the National Maternity Hospital, the case was before Judge Barton because the two parties cannot agree on how much hospital negligence the child is entitled to.

There are considerable differences of opinion between how much should be awarded for the girl´s future needs and future loss of earnings, and the National Maternity Hospital proposed an interim settlement of compensation with a review to be conducted over the next ten years to obtain a more accurate settlement figure. The girl´s “next friend” (her mother) declined the interim settlement on the grounds of the potential psychological harm she might suffer during ten years of assessments.

Both parties – and Judge Barton – agree that if structured payments systems for hospital negligence compensation settlements were introduced, it would be a far better way to resolve disputes over how much compensation a catastrophically injured plaintiff should receive. The negotiations continue under the watchful eye of Judge Barton, and it is hoped that an agreement settlement of hospital negligence compensation can be reached in the near future.

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