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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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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.

Claim for the Inappropriate Use of Syntocinon Heard in Court

The High Court has heard details of a claim for the inappropriate use of Syntocinon during labour, which resulted in a baby being born with kinetic cerebral palsy.

On 20th July 2007,Patrick Brannigan was born by emergency Caesarean Section at Cavan General Hospital after his mother had been administered Syntocinon to speed up her labour (you can read about the risks associated with Syntocinon here).

The synthetic drug was administered despite a CTG trace showing that Patrick was in distress in the womb and, rather than help facilitate his delivery, the Syntocinon had the effect of depriving Patrick of oxygen.

Patrick was born suffering from dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Now seven years of age, Patrick is confined to a wheelchair and has no means of communication. He is cared for full-time by his parents and will never be able to lead an independent life.

Through his mother – Niamh Brannigan of Castleblayeny, County Monaghan – Patrick made a claim for the inappropriate use of Syntocinon during his mother´s labour, alleging that medical staff at Cavan General Hospital mismanaged his birth.

Cavan General Hospital acknowledged that the drug should never have been administered when there were signs of foetal distress and apologised to the family. A €2.1 million interim settlement of Patrick´s claim for the inappropriate use of Syntocinon was agreed, subject to approval by a judge.

Earlier this week at the High Court in Dublin, the circumstances leading up to Patrick´s birth were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross heard that Patrick is a cheerful, good humoured boy before approving the interim settlement of compensation.

The judge then adjourned the claim for the inappropriate use of Syntocinon for three years in order that reports could be compiled into Patrick´s future needs. It is hoped that legislation is passed within the next three years in order that a periodic payment structure can be used to resolve Patrick´s claim for the inappropriate use of Syntocinon.

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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.

Syntocinon Medical Negligence Claims a Concern for Experts

Experts from the State Claims Agency and the Rotunda Hospital have agreed that consistent guidelines are needed to reduce Syntocinon medical negligence claims.

Syntocinon is a brand name for oxytocin – a synthetic drug used prior to childbirth to induce labour or accelerate contractions. The benefits of Syntocinon are that they reduce the amount of time a mother is in labour and helps the womb to contract if a birth is necessary by Caesarean Section.

There are many risks involved with the use of Syntocinon; and, when the drug is administered, both mother and baby need monitoring to avert complications such as an adverse reaction or foetal distress. There are also many circumstances in which the administration of Syntocinon is dangerous to mother, baby or both.

Syntocinon is classified as a “high-alert medication” and has been attributed to the death of four babies at the Portlaoise Hospital due to inadequate monitoring. Syntocinin medical negligence claims have resulted from inadequate monitoring at other hospitals; and, in November 2013, a couple from Rathgar in Dublin were awarded €150,000 compensation for nervous shock after their baby died at the Rotunda Hospital.

When children have survived, but have been brain damaged during the delivery process, the settlement of medical negligence Syntocinon claims has been significantly higher. Jamie Patterson was awarded an interim settlement of €1.58 million compensation for cerebral palsy in May last year, while Skye Worthington´s €2.32 million interim settlement of cerebral palsy compensation was approved last February.

The State Claims Agency – the agency that pays settlements of medical negligence Syntocinon claims made against the HSE – recently commented on a report conducted on the use of Syntocinon in Irish hospitals. The report showed significant inconsistency in how the drug is administered – inconsistencies which, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, Master of the Rotunda Hospital, described as “putting unborn children at unnecessary risk”.

The report revealed that maternity staff at one Irish hospital received no guidance on the use of Syntocinon – including the dosage that should be administered to expectant mothers – and that two maternity units provided no guidance on the monitoring of expectant mothers and their babies.

Mary Godfrey – the State Claims Agency´s clinical risk advisor – commented that the report showed the need for consistent guidelines to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and to prevent Syntocinon medical negligence claims being made against the HSE.

Ms Godfrey´s comments were echoed by Dr Coulter-Smith who – speaking on Newstalk´s Lunchtime Show – said “The issue with each of the maternity units having their own rules on its use means doctors moving from one to another don’t have common set of guidelines to follow.”

What both medical experts failed to comment on was one alarming discovery in the report which read “No service obtains explicit written consent from women prior to starting them on the drug.” The State Claims Agency and Irish Hospitals will also have to address the issue of “informed consent” if they wish to see a reduction in Syntocinon medical negligence claims.

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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.

High Court Approves Compensation for a Mismanaged Birth at Waterford Regional Hospital

The High Court has approved a €2 million interim settlement of compensation for a mismanaged birth at Waterford Regional Hospital in favour of a four-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.

On July 9th 2010, Kevin Dunphy-English from Mooncoin in County Kilkenny was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital “neurologically compromised”. Kevin spent twenty-four days in intensive care, has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and can only walk short distances. Doctors say that he will be reliant on a wheelchair when he grows older.

Through his mother – Jane – Kevin made a claim for compensation for a mismanaged birth at Waterford Regional Hospital. In the legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) it was noted that a foetal blood sample had been taken at 1:40am and that a deceleration of the foetal heart rate was recorded at 2:30am.

It was alleged that if a further foetal blood sample had been taken subsequent to the deceleration of the foetal heart rate, a decision would have been made to intervene in Kevin´s birth earlier. A subsequent investigation into Kevin´s birth found that his cerebral palsy injury could have been prevented if he had been delivered an hour earlier.

The HSE accepted that there had been a mismanagement of Kevin´s birth at the Waterford Regional Hospital by failing to deliver him in good time. The HSE conceded liability in Kevin´s claim and settled claims made for nervous shock by both of Kevin´s parents. The claim for the mismanaged birth at Waterford Regional Hospital then proceeded to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

Prior to the High Court hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross met with Kevin in his chambers. The judge was told that Kevin is doing well at pre-school and it is hoped he will be in a mainstream class when he goes to school full time. Judge Cross described Kevin as “a lovely little lad”, and he commended the efforts that the boy´s parents had put in to raising him.

Judge Cross awarded Kevin €2 million as an interim settlement of compensation for a mismanaged birth at Waterford Regional Hospital, and adjourned the case for five years so that an assessment of Kevin´s future needs can be conducted. Once the assessment is completed, Kevin´s parents will have the choice of a lump sum settlement or a structured settlement if legislation is passed in time to allow for 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.

Claim for an Erb´s Palsy Injury due to Hospital Negligence Resolved in Court

An eleven-year-old girl´s claim for an Erb´s Palsy injury due to hospital negligence has been resolved in court without an admission of liability from the National Maternity Hospital.

Keelan Murray was born at the National Maternity Hospital in January 2004 after being diagnosed with shoulder dystocia during her delivery – an emergency condition in which the shoulders fail to clear the pubic symphysis.

Shoulder dystocia can result in brachial plexus nerve damage if excessive force is used to free the shoulders, and although damaged brachial plexus nerves can heal themselves over a period of time, in Keelan´s case, the injury was permanent.

Now eleven years old, Keelan from Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow, does not have full control over her right arm and has had to adapt to use her left arm for many ordinary tasks. She has also had to learn how to write using her left hand.

Keelan underwent surgery in 2012 to repair the nerve damage, but the operation was unsuccessful. Through her mother – Sharon – Keelan made a claim for an Erb´s Palsy injury due to hospital negligence alleging that traction had been used facilitate her delivery despite the diagnosis of shoulder dystocia.

The National Maternity Hospital denied liability for Keelan´s injury but a settlement of Keelan´s claim for an Erb´s Palsy injury due to hospital negligence amounting to €250,000 was negotiated without an admission of liability.

As Keelan is still a legal minor, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge before the case could be closed, and consequently Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told about the circumstances of Keelan´s birth and the failed operation at a High Court hearing.

The judge heard that Keelan is a bright young girl who participates in sports activities in spite of her disability and he said that it would be prudent to accept the settlement of compensation without an admission of liability. Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement and wished Keelan well for the future.

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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.

Court Approves Third Interim Settlement of Claim for Birth Injuries Compensation for 19-Year-Old

A third interim settlement of a claim for birth injuries compensation has been approved at the High Court after a judge refused a request for a final payment to be made.

Nineteen-year-old Connor Corroon from Mallow in County Cork was born on February 6th 1995 at the Cork City General Hospital having been starved of oxygen in the womb. As a result of the hospital´s negligence, Connor now suffers from cerebral palsy and is permanently disabled.

On her son´s behalf Judith Corroon made a claim for birth injuries compensation against the hospital and, in 2010, Connor became the first plaintiff to be awarded an interim settlement of compensation instead of a lump sum payment pending legislation to introduce a system of periodic payments.

Connor received a second interim settlement of his claim for birth injuries last year and was due to receive a third interim settlement as legislation for periodic payments is yet to be introduced. On Connor´s behalf, Judith requested that this third payment be a final lump sum settlement her son has to undergo a series of assessments prior to the interim settlements being approved.

At the High Court, Judith told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that she wanted Connor to be able to get on with his life and not have it constantly interrupted for assessments by different experts. She felt that Connor was “in a fishbowl” each time experts came to assess his needs and said that she was hoping Connor would be able to go to college despite his disability.

However Judge Barton denied Judith´s request for a lump sum payment; stating that were he to approve a full and final payment and the funds ran out later in Connor´s life, it would be catastrophic for Connor. The judge approved a third interim settlement of Connor´s claim for birth injuries compensation – explaining that he had recently received a consultation paper relating to the proposed Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill.

The Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill is an act of legislation proposed by the Department of Justice that aims to introduce a system of periodic payments next year. The judge said that a periodic payment system would be in Connor´s best interests, and he adjourned the hearing for a further five years.

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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.

Government Launch Scheme for Women to Claim Symphysiotomy Compensation

The government has launched a scheme for women to claim symphysiotomy compensation for operations conducted without their consent or knowledge between the 1940s and the 1980s.

Almost twelve months after the government performed a U-turn on extending the Statute of Limitations in order that women who had undergone symphysiotomies and pubiotomies during childbirth could claim symphysiotomy compensation, a new scheme has been launched to compensate the estimated 350 survivors of the procedures.

The new scheme to claim symphysiotomy compensation consists of a three-tier program which will pay compensation to the survivors depending on the level of injury they sustained:

  • Women who underwent a symphysiotomy and did not suffer any long term consequences are entitled to claim €50,000.
  • Women who suffered a recorded disability as the result of a symphysiotomy operation will be able to recover €100,000
  • Women who underwent a symphysiotomy subsequent to giving birth by Caesarean Section are entitled to €150,000

Maureen Harding-Clark – a former High Court Judge – has been appointed to consider each claim and, to qualify to claim symphysiotomy compensation, survivors have to submit their application for compensation before Friday 5th December. Judge Harding has the authority to extend the deadline by a further 20 working days in exceptional circumstances.

Once a claim for symphysiotomy compensation has been considered and valued, survivors have twenty days in which to accept Judge Harding´s assessment. However, under the terms of the compensation scheme, in order to receive the payment, the plaintiff must withdraw from any High Court action against the state that is in progress.

Currently there are more than 150 High Court actions in progress and, according to Marie O’Connor – chairwoman of Survivors of Symphysiotomy group – dates for two hearings have already been set. Ms O´Connor is unhappy with the new scheme to claim symphysiotomy compensation and says that the short time limit for applications makes it “impossible for women to seek independent advice and to make a considered decision”.

There has also been opposition to the scheme from Mark Kelly – the Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. Mr Kelly says that the scheme falls short of what is required under Ireland´s human rights obligations on two counts – that it does not address compensation on an individual basis, and that payments made under the scheme are made without admission of liability by the state.

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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.

Interim Payment of Compensation for Birth Injuries at Waterford Regional Hospital Approved in Court

A High Court judge has approved a €2 million interim payment of compensation for the family of a child who suffered birth injuries at the Waterford Regional Hospital due to the negligence of medical staff.

In January 2010,Dylan Kenny was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital after an avoidable delay in his delivery which left him deprived of oxygen in the womb. Dylan now suffers from cerebral palsy, has difficulty communicating and is unable to walk independently.

On behalf of their son, Dylan´s parents – Claire O´Brien and Lloyd Kenny -made a compensation claim for birth injuries against the Waterford Regional Hospital, alleging that there had been a failure to monitor Dylan´s foetal heart rate during Claire´s labour or act within a reasonable time to signs of foetal distress and hypoxia.

It was claimed that Dylan´s birth injuries would not have been so severe had medical staff at the Waterford Regional Hospital been more diligent and, in June this year, the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted that errors had been made in the management of Claire´s labour, acknowledged liability for Dylan´s birth injuries and issued the family with an apology.

Mr Justice John Cook at the High Court was told that the case was before him for the approval of a €2 million interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries at Waterford Regional Hospital, and heard that the interim settlement was to provide care for Dylan for the next three years.

Within the next three years, an assessment will be carried out on Dylan´s future needs and a further interim payment of compensation for birth injuries at Waterford Regional Hospital will be applied for if a structured compensation scheme has not been introduced.

After hearing that Dylan´s parents were satisfied with the interim payment, and preferred it to the lump sum settlement requested by the State Claims Agency, Judge Cook approved the interim payment and adjourned the case.

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