A six-year-old boy who was taking a birth injury compensation action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to his birth at Mayo University Hospital has settled his High Court action for €7m.
The boy, who cannot be named order of the court, was awarded the settlement after mediation between the parties. Mr McCullough said medical experts for the boy claimed that strokes can be caused by hypoxia ischemia. However these claim were refuted by experts for the defendant. According to the legal representative for the boy, Denis McCullough SC, this is the first legal action of its type in Ireland where it was claimed that a baby suffered a neonatal stroke.
The boy had through his mother sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at the Castlebar hospital in 2013. She had attended the hospital and had a number of scans which showed seriously reduced amniotic fluid and a small foetus. it was alleged that a congenital abnormality was suspected, leading to an inappropriate plan to transfer the mother to Dublin.
However, the child was not suffering from a congenital abnormality and the foetal compromise should have been identified and a quick delivery carried out, it was alleged. Along with this it was claimed an excessive amount of time was allowed to expire during attempts to secure a bed in Dublin for the mother and she was transferred to an ambulance but then taken back out as it was too late for such a transfer. A CTG trace to monitor the baby was begun and it is claimed it was grossly abnormal but was discontinued. A caesarean section was used to deliver the boy.
Following his birth, the boy underwent intensive resuscitation and he was later transferred to a Dublin hospital. The legal action said that there was an alleged failure to deliver the baby in a proper and timely and manner and an alleged failure to recognise the CTG abnormalities were causing damage to the baby or the situation required urgent intervention.
The HSE had, in order to refute this, argued that the boy suffered a stroke because of hypoxia ischemia – reduced brain oxygen caused by inadequate blood flow.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross, in approving the birth injury compensation settlement said: “We are incredibly proud of our boy. He is a happy child”.