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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 Apologises for Portlaoise Hospital Childbirth Negligence

Dr Philip Crowley – the National Director of Quality & Patient Safety at the Health Service Executive – has apologised on behalf of the HSE to four families who lost a child due to hospital childbirth negligence at Portlaoise Hospital.

The apology by Dr Crowley was made shortly before an RTE Prime Time television program was scheduled to be broadcast, which highlighted tragic failings in the standard of care at the hospital which led to four perinatal deaths during, or shortly after, the delivery of the babies.

The program – “Fatal Failures” – primarily focused on the story of Roisin and Mark Molloy from Tullamore, County Offaly; whose son Mark died shortly after being delivered on 24th January 2012.

Roisin and Mark had to fight a four-month battle before the hospital acknowledged that their son was still breathing when he was delivered – a condition that is required before an inquest can be held into a fatality.

The hospital´s own investigation into Mark Molloy´s death extended over twenty months – a delay which Dr Crowley described as “lamentable”. He also acknowledged that the Molloys had been deliberately misinformed when they asked questions about the death of their son.

A subsequent independent clinical review into Mark´s death reported “failures in the standard of care provided were casually linked to the foetal hypoxia damage that occurred [and the death of baby Mark]” and made recommendations to prevent such tragedies in the future.

However, as the RTE Investigation Unit discovered, the hospital childbirth negligence continued, and was responsible for the death of three more children due to foetal hypoxia. Two of the deaths were investigated internally, but the parents of the dead children were never advised of the outcomes.

The RTE investigators found that none of the measures that had been recommended following Mark Molloy´s death had been put into practice, and that there was an extreme shortage of midwives to provide as “safe” level of service.

Indeed, whereas the HSE recommends a ratio of one midwife for each twenty-eight women in the later stages of pregnancy, the Portlaoise Hospital had one midwife for every seventy-five expectant mothers – leading to “a lack of understanding of a deteriorating condition resulting in a failure to seek timely medical assistance”.

RTE investigators were also shown a letter written in 2006 by the hospital staff to the then Minister for Health Mary Harney and Minister for Finance Brian Cowen. In the letter concern was expressed over staffing levels at the hospital – a situation had been made clear to the hospital management, but no action had been taken.

The letter concluded by saying there was a “real fear” in the midwifery department that a mother or baby would die before the staffing issues were resolved.

The current Minister for Health James Reilly was invited onto the Today radio show, where he was asked about the hospital childbirth negligence that had taken place at Portlaoise Hospital.

The Minister said that the situation was “utterly unacceptable”, and that he planned to conduct a further investigation into the failings of care at the hospital and the deception that the parents of the dead children had experienced.

“I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to give me a report”, he stated, “It won’t take long and I will take action to make sure that this never happens again.”

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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.

Options to Compensate Women for Symphysiotomy Injuries to be Investigated by Judge

Judge Yvonne Murphy has been appointed by the Government to investigate the options available to compensate women for the symphysiotomy injuries they sustained from the childbirth procedure.

Dr James Reilly – the Minister for Health – announced this week that Judge Yvonne Murphy has been appointed to investigate feasible options to compensate women for symphysiotomy injuries they sustained during the controversial childbirth procedure that took place in Irish hospitals between 1940 and 1990.

Judge Murphy´s appointment comes shortly after the government went back on a pledge to allow Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin´s Private Members Bill through the Dail unopposed – a Bill which would have created a one-year window in the Statute of Limitations and allowed around 300 women who underwent symphysiotomy operations to claim compensation.

The U-turn occurred after legal advisors warned the Government that the Bill would face legal challenges in passed – particularly from the insurance companies liable to compensate women for symphysiotomy injuries, who had already accused the Government of “moving the goalposts” on claims for personal injury compensation.

The judge has been asked to recommend a means to compensate women for symphysiotomy injuries by February 2014, and the Health Minster said that if this were to be in the form of “ex gratia” payments, the Government would be prepared to contribute to the fund. It is also understood that Judge Murphy will be speaking with insurance companies to discover whether they would also contribute towards such a scheme.

Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with Tom Moran – Chairman of the support group Survivors of Symphysiotomy Ltd – welcoming the appointment of Judge Murphy. However, Sinn Fein´s health spokesman – Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin – said “The type of scheme outlined in the terms of reference offers the women no prospect of adequate compensation for what was so barbarically done to them nor the choice to pursue their rights in the courts.”

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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.

Compensation Claim for Mismanaged Birth Resolved

A Dublin couple´s compensation claim for a mismanaged birth has been resolved out of court after the couple in question agreed to a settlement of €150,000 without admission of liability.

Jane Farren from Rathgar in Dublin was close to the birth of her third child, and had been admitted to the Rotunda Hospital on the 16th October 2008 due to a spontaneous membrane rupture. Jane was administered Syntocinin to induce her labour and, at 3.45am the following morning, a vacuum delivery was attempted.

Thirty minutes later, her daughter Molly was born by emergency Caesarean Section, but staff at the hospital could not resuscitate her, and Molly was declared dead twenty minutes later – due to which both Jane and her partner Feidhlimidh Wrafter suffered nervous shock.

Jane and Feidhlimidh made a compensation claim for a mismanaged birth against consultant gynaecologist Professor Fergal Malone and the Rotunda Hospital, alleging that both parties had failed to identify abnormalities in the foetal heart rate in time to act upon them; and that when the abnormalities were noticed, nursing staff at the hospital failed to act in a timely manner.

It was also claimed that the couple had been misinformed after Jane´s admission into the hospital regarding the health of the foetus, and that they were led to believe – after Molly´s death – that nothing could have been done to save Molly as the cause of death could not be explained.

Professor Malone and the Rotunda Hospital both denied their liability for Molly´s death and the couple´s nervous shock; however a settlement of the couple´s compensation claim for a mismanaged birth was agreed without admission of liability and the case was struck out at the High 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.

Judge Adjourns Claim for Failing to Act on Test Results

A High Court judge has adjourned a compensation claim for failing to act on test results after approving an interim settlement of compensation for an eight-year-old girl suffering from cerebral palsy.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told how Isabelle Sheehan was delivered by emergency Caesarean Section at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork in November 2004, after the results from an earlier blood test on her mother – Catherine – had shown a significant increase in the presence of antibodies which had the potential to react with those of Isabelle´s father, Colm.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross also heard that, had Catherine Sheehan´s paediatric consultant – Dr David Corr – referred Catherine to a specialist at the time the results were known, Isabelle could have been born earlier and the spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy she suffered at the time of her delivery could have been avoided.

Through her mother, Isabelle made a compensation claim for failing to act on test results against Dr Corr – who admitted that he had “made a mistake” and accepted liability for Isabelle´s injuries – and, at a hearing in October 2011, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved an initial €1.9 million settlement of compensation and adjourned the case for two years to allow for the introduction of a structured compensation payment system.

As two years had passed, and no system for structured compensation payments has yet been introduced, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved a further interim payment of €635,000 to provide Isabelle she will need for the forthcoming two years and adjourned her compensation claim for failing to act on test results once again.

The judge heard that, with assistance, Isabelle was keeping up with her classmates at her mainstream national school and that she was bright and intelligent. Mr Justice Kevin Cross closed the hearing by wishing Isabelle all the best 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.

Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries Could be Reduced by More Senior Doctors Claims Consultant

A leading hospital consultant has claimed that the number of cerebral palsy birth injuries could be reduced if more senior doctors were available to provide 24/7 cover for labour wards.

Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, was speaking at a special conference convened to hear from doctors, midwives, the legal profession and families on how preventable cerebral palsy birth injuries to babies could be reduced.

He said that the number of babies born with cerebral palsy birth injuries had not reduced in the past twenty years despite an increase in foetal monitoring and births by Caesarean section, and acknowledged that a percentage of babies born with cerebral palsy were due to mistakes by hospitals and medical staff which could have been prevented.

Dr Coulter-Smith told the conference that junior doctors are being asked to make decisions regarding the healthcare of the mother and baby without the necessary experience, and that “there needs to be 24/7 cover of labour wards by senior consultants to address this problem”.

However, the consultant continued, senior doctors are only required to work between 8.00am and 8.00pm under the terms of their current consultant contracts and, for the remainder of the time, they can be at home on call and only have come to the hospital when there is an emergency.

Dr Coulter-Smith explained that the Rotunda Hospital had tried to reduce the number of cerebral palsy birth injuries by setting up a second tier of experienced junior doctors who are available outside “normal” working hours. However, he admitted, this policy was contrary to the demands of the Health Service Executive, who want the Rotunda Hospital to reduce their medical staff.

He added that he hoped the Health Service Executive would pay attention to the message from the conference because State compensation payments for cerebral palsy birth injuries each year amounted to €45million – equivalent to the Rotunda Hospital´s annual budget.

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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.

Support Groups Disagree over Compensation for Symphysiotomy Operations

Groups representing the victims of medical procedures carried out in Ireland between the 1940s and 1990s, to aid childbirth as an alternative to a Caesarean Section, have publicly disagreed about the right path to take in order to recover compensation for symphysiotomy operations.

Following a meeting with Minister for Health James Reilly at the beginning of the month, Patient Focus and SOS Ltd issued a joint statement in which they supported a proposal by James Reilly to determine compensation for symphysiotomy operations through a negotiated mediation with a judge rather than litigation in the courts.

However, speaking at a Survivors of Symphysiotomy emergency general meeting in Dublin, chairperson Marie O´Connor declared that the proposed scheme is exploitative and they do not want to be involved in it – stating that the system proposed by James Reilly “seeks to buy their silence”.

Comparing it to a Magdalene-type solution, Ms O´Connor claimed that Minister Reilly´s proposals were based on the draft findings of the Walsh Report due to be published in the autumn, in which it was determined that the majority of the symphysiotomy operations that were carried out were “medically acceptable” at the time.

Ms O´Connor said that Minister Reilly is yet to openly admit that a wrong had been committed and called on the government to proceed with legislation removing the Statute of Limitations for symphysiotomy claims, which first passed its Private Members Bill stage back in April, but has since failed to progress to committee stage.

Survivors of Symphysiotomy are seeking compensation for symphysiotomy operations of between €250,000 and €450,000 for each victim and have argued that, by not acknowledging that hospitals and medical practitioners were negligent when performing symphysiotomy procedures, the government is denying victims access to justice and a “fair and equitable” settlement of their 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.

Hospital Obstetric Negligence Compensation Claim Settled at Court

The family of a girl, who sustained brain damage at birth when a locum doctor failed to recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section, have had their hospital obstetric negligence compensation claim settled at the High Court.

Sonya Butler, a native of Dunmore in County Waterford was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005 after a healthy pregnancy and was looking forward to giving birth to her first child. However, her consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and the hospital´s two other obstetric doctors had all been permitted to take annual leave at the same time, and the hospital had employed a locum – Mahmud Khbuli – to cover for them.

Sadly, Dr Khbuli did not recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section during Sonya´s pre-operative examination and, when Sonya´s daughter – Alex – was delivered, she had experienced a lack of oxygen in the womb which resulted in the little girl suffering brain trauma and she was born tetraplegic.

In a legal action taken on her behalf by her mother, Alex made a hospital obstetric negligence compensation claim against the hospital, Dr Bermingham and Dr Khbuli; claiming that the hospital was negligent by failing to employ a sufficient number of adequately trained and competent medical staff to supervise her delivery, that Dr Bermingham should not have taken leave when the family had chosen private treatment and that Sonya´s pre-operative examination by Dr Khbuli was substandard.

At the High Court, the Health Service Executive (HSE) agreed that errors were made which should never have occurred and an apology was read out to the family on behalf of Waterford Regional Hospital. The court was informed that the action against Doctors Bermingham and Khbuli had been dropped and medical negligence compensation of €1.4 million had been agreed as an interim settlement of the family´s chospital obstetric negligence compensation claim.

The compensation figure is to be reviewed in two years, when Alex’s future care needs have been assessed and there may be the option of a structured settlement.

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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.

One Step Closer to Compensation for Symphysiotomy Survivors

The prospect of compensation for symphysiotomy survivors moved one step closer last night when the second stage of Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Private Members Bill to introduce a one year window in the Statute of Limitations passed through the Dáil unopposed.

Many of the women who underwent symphysiotomy and pubiotomy procedures without their knowledge or consent were in the Dáil to hear the Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesman introduce his Bill by saying “Lifting the statute bar – unanimously recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice in June 2012 – would obviate procedural battles and ensure unfettered access for all to the courts. Judges here have no discretion in relation to the statute bar, as they do in other common law jurisdictions”.

The issue that faced the survivors of symphysiotomy procedures – carried out in Ireland between the 1940s and 1990s to aid childbirth as an alternative to a Caesarean Section – is that their right to claim compensation for symphysiotomy injuries was time-barred by the Statute of Limitations. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin´s proposed legislation would open a one-year window to enable claims for compensation for symphysiotomy survivors to be processed through the courts.

The Government had already indicated that they would not oppose the proposed Private Members Bill, and Health Minister Dr. James Reilly received a warm reception when he announced that he would ensure that legislation to allow compensation for symphysiotomy survivors would be put in place by the end of the year. “Actions must bring closure for those who have been harmed, and who we cannot give back their lives,” he said. “But we can ensure resources flow to them and not elsewhere.

A spokesman for the Department of Health believes some work needs to be done on the drafting of the legislation for it to pass through the committee stage and into law, but Dr. Reilly indicated in his speech that he would brief the Government further once he receives the final independent Walsh Report.

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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.

Failed Sterilisation Compensation Awarded by High Court

The High Court has awarded a mother €100,000 for failed sterilisation compensation after the son she was never supposed to have died after only six months of life.

Karen Hurley-Ahern (41) from County Limerick, underwent the sterilisation operation in February 2001 after finding from her GP that she had an unusual blood-clotting disorder that would pose a risk to herif ever she were to fall pregnant again.

The operation was carried by gynaecologist Dr Victor Moore at the Tralee General Hospital, but in April 2002 Karen became pregnant once more and, after a difficult pregnancy, gave birth to baby Samuel on 10th October 2002 – six weeks prematurely and by emergency Caesarean section.

Samuel experienced severe abnormalities which were unrelated to Kare’s sterilisation operation, and stayed in hospital for six months – kept alive by a series of life-support machines. In April 2003, Samuel experienced a severe heart attack and Karen and her partner – Garrett Ahern – made the difficult decision to turn off the life-support machines.

After seeking legal guidance, Karen and Garrett began a claim for failed sterilisation compensation against Dr Moore and the Southern Health Board (now the Health Service Executive), for the pain and trauma the couple had been through due to the unsuccessful sterilisation procedure.

Dr Moore and the HSE did not accept liability – alleging that the operation had been performed correctly and the couple had been advised that there was a chance of failure. However, in the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Sean Ryan ruled in favour of the now-separated claimants – recognising that Samuel’s disability was not as a result of the failed sterilisation procedure, but stating that Karen had suffered to a major extent due to the defendant´s negligence.

Awarding Karen €100,000 in failed sterilisation compensation, Mr Justice Sean Ryan stated that the award was in respect of the worry she had suffered when she found she was pregnant, the pain of childbirth, the distress of Samuel’s illness and distress after his death. However, no compensation award was made to Garrett as – according to Mt Justice Sean Ryan – while he had undoubtedly endured emotional trauma, there was no evidence Garrett had sustained a defined psychiatric injury.

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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.

Compensation for Hospital Mismanaged Birth Approved in Court

A woman, who was starved of oxygen at birth and has suffered a lifetime of learning difficulties, has had a settlement of compensation for her hospital mismanaged birth approved at London´s Royal Courts of Justice.

Susanne Turner (45) from Wittersham in Kent was born at Buchanan Street Hospital in St Leonards-on-Sea after a delayed Caesarean operation due to neither a surgeon nor an anaesthetist being available to perform the procedure at the time. Due to this, Susanne was deprived of oxygen in the womb, unable to breathe independently when she was born and suffered severe brain damage.

Susanne´s parents – Christopher and Sandra – brought up Susanne without assistance, and unaware that they were entitled to claim compensation for the hospital mismanaged birth, until they read a magazine article which explained Susanne´s rights to compensation.

When they sought legal advice about their situation, Christopher and Sandra discovered that – as Susanne did not have the mental capacity to bring a claim for hospital mismanaged birth compensation herself – they were still within the time frame allowed to sue the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority for the negligent situation which had occurred in 1967.

After reviewing the claim for hospital mismanaged birth compensation, South East Coast Strategic Health Authority quickly admitted their liability for Susanne´s birth injury and, at the Royal Courts of Justice, issued a formal apology for the mismanagement of Susanne´s birth.

Approving the settlement of compensation for hospital mismanaged birth, which will take the form of annual payments and a lump sum payment to pay for a specially-adapted home for Susanne, judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies paid tribute to Christopher and Sandra´s “love and devotion”. The settlement is estimated to be worth 4.2 million pounds and will provide Susanne with the care she needs for the remainder of her life.

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