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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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