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High Court Approves €1m Birth Injury Compensation for 13-Year-Old Girl

A birth injury compensation action against the Health Service Executive has been settled for €1m in the High Court after a girl, now 13-years-old, was not diagnosed with a serious hip abnormality at birth. The condition was not being diagnosed for six years and the young girl, Nyomi Millea Melvey, now suffers from a permanent disability.

The father of the young girl, Colin Melvey,  told the court that Nyomi is only able to walk for a period of three to five minutes before her hips become locked into position. He said his daughter has done really well considering the challenges she faces, but she has to work harder because of her disability. Mr Melvey went on to say that Nyomi will also require at least three hip replacement operations throughout her life.

The condition that Nyomi suffers from, known as bilateral hip dysplasia was diagnosed she was six-years-old and it was alleged that the options to address this were extremely limited due to the failure to diagnose this earlier.

Nyomi’s Legal Counsel, Mr Liam Reidy, spoke in the High Court saying that she was born with the condition where both hips were displaced, but that this was not diagnosed by the physicians present at the birth. Nyomi, they said, had been medically examined by medics on different times and there was an alleged failure to recognise the abnormality that she displayed.

Taking the failure to diagnose compensation action through her mother Wendy Millea, Nyomi sued HSE for compensation. Ms Millea had received antenatal care during her pregnancy at Waterford Regional Hospital. Nyomi was born on January 20, 2005, with bilateral hip dysplasia and the attending medical staff failed to recognise the condition. The conditions was not recognised until February 2011.

Additionally it was argues that there was a failure to recognise the underlying hip problem from simple observations despite the physical appearance of the infant and worries made known by her mother along with an alleged failure to refer her for evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon (or a suitably qualified professional healthcare person).

The claims were denied by the HSE.

Mr Justice Paul Butler approved the settlement of €1,000,000 in birth negligence compensation.

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