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.