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Judge Approves Interim Settlement of Compensation for an Avoidable Delayed Birth

A judge at the High Court has approved an interim settlement of compensation for an avoidable delayed birth in favour of a six-year-old boy.

The claim for compensation for an avoidable delayed birth was made by the mother of a six-year-old boy from Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon, who was born at Sligo General Hospital in May 2010.

It was alleged in the claim that a CTG trace taken at 5:30pm showed signs of foetal distress. However, rather than arrange his emergency C-Section delivery within a reasonable timeframe, his birth was avoidably delayed by more than two hours.

As a result of the avoidable delay, the boy was starved of oxygen and born with cerebral palsy. He now lives in Canada with his family and, although being described in court as a sociable and happy child, he suffers from a right-sided deficit.

Through his mother, the boy claimed compensation for an avoidable delayed birth. Acting on behalf of Sligo General Hospital, the Health Service Executive (HSE) was quick to acknowledge responsibility for the boy´s birth injuries and negotiations began to settle the claim.

During mediation, as well as discussing how much compensation for an avoidable delayed birth the boy was entitled to, senior HSE officials apologised to the family for the failings that led to the avoidable delay and explained how the failings happened.

It was agreed that the HSE should pay an interim €740,000 settlement of compensation to cover the costs of the boy´s past care and the care he will need over the next five years. As the claim was made on behalf of a child, it was presented to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court for approval.

At the approval hearing, Judge Cross was told the circumstances of the boy´s birth and the details of the interim settlement of compensation. In addition to praising the boy´s parents for the care they had provided over the past six years, he also commented of the HSE´s cooperation in resolving the claim.

Saying that an apology and an explanation was “absolutely something to be encouraged”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of compensation for an avoidable delayed birth and adjourned the case for five years to allow reports to be compiled on the boy´s future needs.

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