201504.22
0

Claim for the Failure to Treat Meningitis Resolved in Court

A young boy´s claim for the failure to treat meningitis has been resolved in court with the approval of a €3.7 million interim settlement of compensation.

Matthew McGrath was admitted to Wexford General Hospital on 27th May 2004 at the age of 17 months after it was noticed that he was uncharacteristically drowsy and vomiting fluids. Matthew was diagnosed with Haemophilus Influenza Type B – which is known to lead on to meningitis – and he should have been administered antibiotics.

Overnight, Matthew´s condition deteriorated and he was identified as being in shock. Despite medical guidelines recommending against it when a patient is in shock, Matthew underwent a lumbar puncture procedure to confirm suspected meningitis – due to which a compression of the spinal cord took place and Matthew is now permanently paralysed.

Due to the failure to administer antibiotics when Matthew was first admitted to the hospital, and the subsequent inappropriate lumbar puncture, Matthew cannot move his arms or legs and can only breathe through a ventilator. He spent the next two years of his life in hospital until his parents were eventually allowed to care for their son at home.

Through his mother – Cathy McGrath of Gorey in County Wexford – Matthew made a claim for the failure to treat meningitis against the HSE – alleging that, if he had been treated with antibiotics and given fluids at the time of his admission into Wexford General Hospital, he would not have suffered such devastating injuries.

After an investigation into the claim for the failure to treat meningitis, the HSE admitted liability and issued an apology to Matthew´s parents. An interim compensation settlement of €3.7 million was agreed, but first had to be approved by a judge before payment could be made.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, the circumstances of Matthew´s devastating and unnecessary injuries were related to Mr Justice Matthew Cross. Judge Cross approved the settlement, and adjourned the claim for the failure to treat meningitis for five years in order that reports into Matthew´s future needs can be conducted.

201504.15
0

Guidelines Could Prevent More Syntocinon Birth Injury Claims

The State Claims Agency has said that a consistent set of guidelines should be compiled for birth-inducing drugs to prevent more Syntocinon birth injury claims.

Syntocinon is the brand name in Ireland of oxytocin – a synthetic drug that is frequently used in maternity wards to induce labour and accelerate contractions. The benefits of Syntocinon are that the drug reduces the time spent in labour, prevents excessive bleeding and helps the womb to contract after childbirth.

However, when Syntocinon is administered, both mother and child need careful monitoring to observe any signs of an adverse reaction or foetal distress. Oxytocin is one of the top ten “high-alert medications” in hospitals, and the death of four babies at the Portlaoise Hospital has been attributed to the lack of adequate monitoring.

Children who survive the accelerated contractions have been known to suffer brain damage, and among a series of recent Syntocinon birth injury claims was one in February this year, in which an interim settlement of birth injury compensation amounting to €2.32 million was approved by the High Court.

The State Claims Agency – the authority that pays out when Syntocinon birth injury claims are resolved – recently conducted a study into the use of oxytocin in Irish hospitals, which showed that there is a lack of consistency in how the drug is administered and how the health of mothers and their babies is monitored.

The report revealed that staff at one maternity unit had no guidance on the drug´s use and that at another staff had to refer to a checklist. Thirteen hospitals had similar guidelines – although not entirely consistent, five hospitals had introduced protocols, three had introduced procedures and six relied on policies. Two of the hospitals provided no guidance at all on the monitoring of mothers and babies, and one failed to advise nursing staff on the dosage of oxytocin that should be administered.

Mary Godfrey – the clinical risk advisor at the State Claims Agency – said that the results of the survey were alarming and called for a consistent set of guidelines to be compiled for all birth-inducing drugs to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and to prevent more Syntocinon birth injury claims being made against the state.

However Ms Godfrey failed to comment on an important area of the report which revealed “No service obtains explicit written consent from women prior to starting them on the drug.” Informed consent is a vital issue for the State Claims Agency to address if it genuinely wishes to prevent more Syntocinon birth injury claims.

201503.05
1

HSE Found Liable in Hydrocephalus Brain Injury Claim

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has been found liable in a hydrocephalus brain injury claim after a hearing at the High Court.

Ava Kiernan started displaying the symptoms of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) when she was just a few months old. In April 2008 – when she was three months old – Ave was examined by a public health nurse, who failed to act on her mother´s concerns or arrange a follow-up examination.

Hydrocephalus is caused by spinal fluid “pooling” in the skull because it has failed to drain from the brain. It is most commonly identified in children under the age of one year by a rapid expansion of the head´s circumference or “soft spot” bulges appearing around the skull.

A follow-up examination would have identified a rapid growth in the size of Ava´s head, but her skull was not measured again until September 2008, when the measurement – which would have been conducted in time to prevent Ava from suffering brain damage – was performed incorrectly.

Due to the nurse´s failure to act and the subsequent errors in the measurement of Ava´s head, the pressure from the spinal fluid resulted in Ava suffering brain damage. She now suffers from physical and mental disabilities and, on her behalf, Ava´s mother – Ruth Kiernan from Duleek in County Meath – made a hydrocephalus brain injury claim for compensation against the HSE.

The hydrocephalus brain injury claim was contested by the HSE, and the case went to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross found in Ava´s favour after a hearing that lasted three weeks. He deduced that if Ava had been recalled for a second examination four weeks after the April head measurement, or the subsequent September measurement of her head in September had been performed correctly, Ava´s hydrocephalus would have been identified.

Judge Cross continued to say that Ava´s hydrocephalus could have been diagnosed and treated before it resulted in permanent brain damage where it not for the public health nurse´s failure to act on Ruth´s concerns and the medical negligence in the second measurement. The judge adjourned the hydrocephalus brain injury claim so that an assessment can be conducted to determine Ava´s future needs and an appropriate damages settlement.

201502.20
0

Judge Awards Compensation for a Pedestrian Hit by Car

A judge at the High Court in Limerick has awarded €177,630 compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car to a man who had a similar accident once before.

On March 5th 2010, Edmund Quinlan (72) of Garryspillane in County Limerick was walking from his home to the local pub for a drink and a game of cards with his friends, when he was hit and knocked down by a car whose driver had failed to see him due to the low sun.

Edmund was taken to hospital with extensive leg fractures and spent ten weeks with his leg placed in balanced suspension. His recovery was especially complicated as he had broken the same leg six years previously and the bone supporting a metal plate that had been inserted was shattered in the accident.

On his discharge from hospital, Edmund sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car. Full liability for Edmund´s injuries was disputed by the driver that hit him, who claimed that Edmund had been drinking prior to the accident and that his intoxicated state contributed to his unsteadiness as he was walking along the road.

With issues over liability, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for Edmund´s case to be heard in court. However, the day before the hearing was scheduled to get underway at the High Court in Limerick, the allegations of Edmund having been drinking were withdrawn and the case was presented to Mr Justice Paul McDermott for the assessment of damages only.

At the hearing, Judge McDermott heard from Edmund´s surgeon – Dr Thomas Burke – that his patient had made a near-miraculous recovery from his leg injuries, but due to his increasing frailty he now resided in a nursing home. The judge said that Dr Burke should be proud of what he had achieved in his treatment of Edmund, who himself had been very stoical in dealing with the injuries he had sustained.

The judge awarded Edmund €177,630 compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car, which comprised of €115,000 general damages for his injury and suffering, and €62,630 special damages to pay for Edmund´s medical and nursing home costs.

201502.18
0

Interim Settlement of a Cerebral Palsy Claim Approved

An interim settlement of a cerebral palsy claim against the Kerry General Hospital has been approved in court in favour of a three–year-old girl.

Skye Worthington was born at the Kerry General Hospital on April 22nd 2011 after her mother – Colleen – had been administered with syntocinon to accelerate her labour. Colleen´s contractions thereafter became very strong, but a prolonged deceleration of Skye´s heartbeat went unnoticed and the baby was starved of oxygen in the womb.

Due the brain damage she suffered at her birth, Skye – now three years of age – now suffers from cerebral palsy. She has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes. An investigation into the circumstances of her delivery revealed that if Skye had been born fifteen minutes earlier, she would have suffered no injury at all.

Through her mother, Skye made a cerebral palsy claim against the Kerry General Hospital – alleging that, were it not for the negligence of the maternity staff, she would not have suffered a devastating birth injury. The hospital and HSE admitted liability and an interim settlement of the cerebral palsy claim was agreed pending an assessment of Skye´s future needs.

At the High Court, Skye´s patents and Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard a statement read to the court in which the HSE South/South-West Hospital Group and the maternity department of Kerry General Hospital apologised unreservedly for the errors that led to Skye´s birth injuries – an apology which Mr Justice Kevin Cross described as “out of the ordinary and very meaningful”.

The judge then explained to Skye´s parents that he was approving a €2.52 million interim settlement of the cerebral palsy claim and adjourning Skye´s case for three years. This meant that once the assessment of Skye´s needs had been completed, they could either request a lump sum final settlement of the cerebral palsy claim or – subject to legislation being introduced – annual periodic payments.

201412.15
0

Judge Denies Lump Sum Compensation Settlement

A High Court judge has denied a plaintiff a lump sum compensation settlement, saying that it would be catastrophic if he approved it and the money ran out later.

The plaintiff – Connor Corroon from Mallow in County Cork – had made his appeal to the High Court for a lump sum compensation settlement having twice previously received interim payments of compensation for birth injuries due to negligence.

Connor was born at the Cork City General Hospital in 1995 with cerebral palsy after having been deprived of oxygen in the womb. Now 19 years of age, Connor is permanently disabled, confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak.

Through his mother – Judith – Connor successfully made a claim for compensation against the hospital in 2010 and was awarded an interim settlement of €1.6 million. A second interim payment of compensation amounting to €475,000 was made last year while reports were being conducted into Connor´s future requirements.

Prior to this hearing, Judith had asked the court of her son´s behalf to approve a lump sum compensation settlement on the grounds that Connor had undergone more than twenty assessments in preparation for return visits to court, and that she wanted her son to be able to get on with his life and not have to continually undergo assessments.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Bernard Barton denied the application for a lump sum compensation settlement – stating that it would be catastrophic if the court authorised a final payment and the funds ran out. Instead, the judge approved a further interim payment of €1.45 million and adjourned Connor´s claim for another five years.

The judge explained his decision to the family by informing them that he – along with other judges presiding over this type of case – had just received a consultation paper from the Department of Justice relating to legislation for the introduction of structured periodic payments. A proposed Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill was hoped to be passed this year, but could become legislation within the next few months.

201411.06
0

Government Announces New Symphysiotomy Redress Scheme

The government has announced a new symphysiotomy redress scheme to compensate women who underwent symphysiotomy and pubiotomy procedures between the 1940s and 1980s.

Almost a year after the government´s U-turn on extending the Statute of Limitations for women who had undergone symphysiotomies and pubiotomies during childbirth, a new redress scheme has been announced for the estimated 350 survivors of the procedures.

The new symphysiotomy redress scheme consists of a three-tier compensation package which will pay damages to the survivors depending on the level of injury they sustained:

  • Women who can demonstrate that they underwent a symphysiotomy are entitled to recover €50,000.
  • Women who suffered significant disability as the result of a symphysiotomy will be able to claim €100,000
  • Women who underwent a symphysiotomy after giving birth by Caesarean Section are entitled to €150,000

Former High Court Judge Maureen Harding-Clark has been appointed to assess each claim and, to qualify for the new symphysiotomy redress scheme, victims have to apply before Friday 5th December (In exceptional circumstances, Judge Harding can extend the deadline by a further 20 working days).

Once a claim for symphysiotomy compensation is made, the women have twenty days to accept it; however, under the new symphysiotomy scheme, in order to receive the payment, the claimant must give up any High Court action that is in progress.

Currently there are more than 150 claims for symphysiotomy compensation before the High Court and, according to Marie O’Connor – chairwoman of Survivors of Symphysiotomy group – two dates for High Court hearings have already been fixed.

Ms O´Connor is not happy with the new symphysiotomy redress scheme and claims that the short time limit makes it “impossible for women to seek independent advice and to make a considered decision”. She recommends that the victims of symphysiotomy speak with a solicitor, apply for the maximum amount they entitled to under the redress scheme and continue with their legal action.

Mark Kelly – Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties – also expressed his displeasure with the proposals for symphysiotomy compensation. He said that the redress scheme falls short of what is required under Ireland´s human rights obligations.

Following a complaint by the Survivors of Symphysiotomy group to a UN Human Rights Committee earlier this year, Mr Kelly said the committee recommended that the “perpetrators of symphysiotomy” should be brought to justice and the victims should receive “fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation on an individual basis”.

Mr Kelly alleges that the new symphysiotomy redress scheme fails to meet the criteria of the UN Human Rights Committee on two counts – that it does not address compensation on an individual basis, and that payments made under the redress scheme are made without admission of liability by the state.

201408.20
0

Man Awarded Injury Compensation for Bin Lorry Accident

A man from County Wicklow, who suffered a severe brain injury when being run over by a Dublin City refuse truck, has been awarded almost €5 million injury compensation for a bin lorry accident.

Padraig Hearns (39) from Hollywood in County Wicklow had been enjoying a night out in Dublin´s Temple Bar area in April 2007, when he was assaulted in Sycamore Street. Dazed and confused, Padraig was lying on the street when he was run over by a bin lorry operated by Dublin City Council.

As a result of the bin lorry accident, Padraig – a former Mr. Ireland who had been working as an air steward for British Airways – suffered a fractured skull and severe injuries to his arm and eye. He remained in hospital recovering from his injuries for several months – the first week spent in an induced coma.

Due to the brain injury sustained in the accident, Padraig now lives at home – being cared for by his parents and siblings. He will never be able to live independently again nor be able to work in any meaningful employment.

On Padraig´s behalf, his parents made a claim for injury compensation for the bin lorry accident against Dublin City Council. The Council denied their liability for Padraig´s injuries on the grounds that it was not the operators of the bin lorry that were to blame for Padraig lying on the floor in front of the refuse truck.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart found in Padraig´s favour. The judge noted that Dublin City Council had ignored its own by-laws not to collect commercial waste in the Temple Bar area between 12:00pm and 6:00pm – implemented three months before the accident.

Judge Peart said “It makes complete sense from a public safety point of view that these large refuse trucks would not be permitted to try and negotiate their way through an area such as the narrow and crowded streets of Temple Bar when so many people are present”.

He added that the local authority had a duty of care to have a man outside of the refuse truck when it moved off to ensure that it was safe to do so. In the judge´s opinion, Dublin City Council had breached that duty of care by failing to notice Padraig lying in the street beneath the wheels of the lorry.

Mr Justice Michael Peart awarded Padraig €4,885,888 injury compensation for the bin lorry accident, which included €350,000 for pain and suffering, €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date and €3,485,000 for future care costs. The judge added that he would be awarding legal costs in favour of Padraig as well. The proceedings were adjourned for mention until October 8th.

201408.05
0

Woman Allowed to Claim for Adverse Reaction to Steroids

A Cork woman has been granted permission to pursue her claim for an adverse reaction to steroids against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer after a High Court hearing.

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork started taking the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 when it was prescribed for her by her GP Dr. Michael Madigan and her consultant Dr. MG Molloy to treat vasculitis – a condition which damages blood vessels and causes a rash.

After using the steroid, Lorna developed a more serious condition – Avascular Necrosis – which results in the interruption of the blood supply causing bone tissue to die and the bone to collapse. By 2001, Lorna had to have both knees and a hip joint replaced. She is now confined to a wheelchair and relies on morphine to manage the continual pain she suffers.

Having sought legal advice, Lorna made a claim for the adverse reaction to the steroids; alleging that its manufacturer – Pfizer – had failed to provide adequate warning in the literature accompanying the tablets that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and that the company had failed to warn her about drinking alcohol when taking the steroid.

Lorna also made a claim for an adverse reaction to steroids against the estate of Dr Madigan (who died in 1999) and the Southern Health Board – who employed Dr Molloy at the Cork University Hospital – alleging that both doctors were negligent in prescribing the treatment for her, had failed to investigate her symptoms appropriately or suspect that she was developing Avascular Necrosis.

All three defendants denied their liability for Lorna´s adverse reaction and, in a pretrial motion, lawyers representing Pfizer attempted to get Lorna´s claim for an adverse reaction to steroids thrown out on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her claim.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham dismissed the application to strike out Lorna´s action – finding that the time lapse was excusable because Lorna had undergone multiple surgeries recently and had found it impossible to brief her solicitors. Judge Birmingham also noted that Avascular Necrosis is a well-established but rare side effect of Deltacortril and he said the case would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

201406.20
0

Interim Obstetrician Negligence Compensation Payment Approved

A High Court judge has approved a further interim payment of obstetrician negligence compensation in favour of an eight-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Luke Miggin of Athboy, County Meath, suffered brain damage prior his birth on 26th February 2006 at Mullingar General Hospital due to consultant obstetrician Michael Gannon failing to act on decelerations of the child´s heart rate recorded on CTG traces taken throughout the day.

Luke has cerebral palsy due to the obstetrician´s negligence, is confined to a wheelchair and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

Liability for Luke´s birth injuries was admitted by Mr Gannon and the Health Service Executive in 2010 and, in January 2011, an interim settlement of obstetrician negligence compensation was approved by Mr Justice John Quirke, pending the introduction of legislation to allow for a structure settlement to be put in place.

However, with no such legislation yet available, Luke´s mother – Emily – had to return to court to have a further interim payment of obstetrician negligence compensation approved; where she was commended for her patience by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who apologised for successive Ministers of Justice failing to deliver on their promises of periodic payments.

The judge approved a second interim obstetrician negligence compensation payment of €580,000 to add to the €1.35 million interim payment Luke received in 2011. The payment is in respect of Luke´s care for the next three years, after which time Emily Miggin will have to return to court once again for a further interim payment of compensation or to have the terms of a structured settlement approved.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine expressed her frustration at not being able to approve a final settlement of obstetrician negligence compensation, and commented that the ongoing litigation prevents families such as the Miggins from getting on with their lives.

201406.03
0

Meningitis Medical Negligence Claim Resolved at Court

A County Wicklow teenager´s meningitis medical negligence claim for compensation has been resolved after a High Court hearing at which her settlement of compensation was approved.

Laura Kavanagh (18) from Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow had fallen ill on 29 January 1998 at the age of thirteen months with a high temperature and severe fatigue. Her mother – Simone – had telephoned the surgery of Dr Frank Malone and Dr Paul Crean in Greystones in County Wicklow to communicate her daughter´s condition and had been told to keep an eye out for a rash.

Several hours later, Laura´s condition had deteriorated and Simone Kavanagh rang the surgery again – on this occasion speaking with Dr Crean, who said he would make a house call after surgery due to Simone not having transport available.

Three and a half hours later, Dr Crean arrived at the Kavanagh´s home and diagnosed a bowel infection. He left two suppositories and told Simone to call him back in the morning if Laura´s condition had not improved. The following day, Simone called the surgery requesting a home visit, but later cancelled the call as Laura seemed to be looking better.

However, the next morning Laura once again was very ill, and Simone was able to get an on-call doctor to visit straight away. He immediately admitted Laura to hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe meningitis.

As a result of the illness, Laura lost her hearing, and through her mother she made a meningitis medical negligence claim for compensation against Drs Malone and Crean, alleging that Dr Crean had failed to diagnose meningitis and that there had been a failure to attend Laura in good time, ensure proper care or any continuity of care.

The two doctors denied Laura´s meningitis medical negligence claim, however agreed a €5 million settlement of meningitis medical negligence compensation without admission of liability.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that if Laura had been admitted to hospital when Dr Crean misdiagnosed her condition as a bowel infection, it was likely that Laura would not have lost her hearing.

The judge was also told that after Laura lost her hearing, she learned to communicate through sign language and lip reading – but has a moderate intellectual disability. Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of Laura´s meningitis medical negligence claim, saying that it would never give Laura the life she was meant to have.

201405.07
0

Judge Approves Bus Accident Serious Injury Compensation

A Spanish student´s €9 million settlement of bus accident serious injury compensation has been approved by a judge after a hearing at the High Court.

On 4th February 2009, Carlos Tesch – who was then twelve years of age – was walking along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, with a group of friends, when he dashed out into the road in order to avoid other youths who had allegedly verbally threatened the young Spaniard and his friends previously.

As Carlos ran into the road, he was hit by a bus coming up from behind him, and Carlos suffered severe head injuries – including a fracture to the base of his skull – which has left him unable to walk or speak and reliant on his parents – Hans and Mar Tesch – for his primary care.

Through his father, Carlos made a claim for bus accident serious injury compensation against Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus denied its responsibility for Carlos´ injuries, stating that the driver had been travelling at 40Km/h in a 50 Km/h zone and that he could not have foreseen a child running out into the road.

An earlier High Court hearing had determined that Dublin Bus should be considered 70 percent liable for Carlos´ injuries because the driver had been distracted by a passenger shortly before the accident, and – after the decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court – the case returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, the circumstances of Carlos´ accident with the bus were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who also heard how Hans Tesch had given up his managerial position to care full-time for his son and has twice taken him to China for stem cell treatment.

The judge was also told how Carlos attends the Spanish Institute during school hours and – approving the €9 million settlement of bus accident serious injury compensation – Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she was fully aware of what parents had to give up to maximise the situation for their children in cases of such catastrophic injuries.

201405.06
0

Court Resolves Injury Claim for Fall from Roof at Work

The High Court has approved the settlement of an injury claim for a fall from a roof at work, in favour of a County Wicklow man who suffered devastating brain injuries in the accident.

Paul O’Brien (50) of Glenealy, County Wicklow, was on the first day of a roofing contract on 18th July 2012, when he went to descend from the roof of the house in Bray as it had started to rain. As he attempted to get onto the ladder that was leant up against the side of the house, the ladder slipped on the timber decking floor it had been placed upon, and Paul fell to the ground.

Paul suffered a significant head injury in the accident, and now has limited short-term memory which will prevent him from ever working again. Through his wife – Sandra O´Brien – Paul made an injury claim for a fall from a roof at work against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin – alleging that Lyons failed to provide a safe place of work or suitable scaffolding and ladders to enable him to carry out his work safely.

It was also claimed that the ladder that was provided to descend from the roof was unsafe and unfit for that purpose – it had not been fastened to the property on which Paul was working – and the combination of an alleged unsuitable ladder and the wet timber decking on which it had been placed presented a treacherous means of exit from the roof.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that – prior to being given this temporary roofing contract – Paul had been unemployed for a number of years following the collapse of the construction industry in Ireland. She also heard that Sandra O´Brien had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband; but an out-of-court settlement of Paul´s injury claim for a fall from a roof at work had been agreed amounting to €1.5 million.

Judge Irvine approved the settlement, stating that it was a good one when taking into account that Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor had the case gone to court. She added that she sympathised with the position of the O’Brien family and then closed the hearing.

201402.14
0

Delayed Birth Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A €4 million settlement of delayed birth injury compensation has been approved in favour of a thirteen year old girl at the High Court in Dublin.

Katie Martin from Trim in County Meath was born at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin in November 2000 after her mother – Fiona – had arrived at the hospital very early in the morning complaining of having irregular contractions.

A CTG trace was performed on the expectant mother and – according to Katie´s solicitor – the trace produced abnormal readings that indicated Katie was being starved of oxygen in the womb. However, it was nearly an hour and a half before an emergency Caesarean Section was organised and, when Katie was born, she had suffered a cardiac arrest and displayed no signs of life.

The medical team were able to resuscitate Katie, but she had suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen prior to her delivery which has left her requiring constant care for the rest of her life.

Katie made a claim for delayed birth injury compensation through her mother against the Coombe Hospital – which denied its liability for her injuries, and argued that Katie was starved of oxygen in the womb before her mother arrived at the hospital, and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent her brain damage.

However, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was informed that a €4 million settlement of compensation for a delayed birth injury had been negotiated without admission of liability from the hospital, and that the case was before her for approval of the settlement.

The judge was told the circumstances of Katie´s brain damage – and that the hospital had prepared a full defence against the claim – before approving the settlement and commenting that it was a good one considering that the Coombe Hospital had contested the claim.

201402.13
0

Car Crash Passenger Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of car crash passenger injury compensation, with a value of €10 million, has been approved by a High Court judge after a hearing in Dublin.

Lydia Branley (28) from Kinlough in Country Leitrim sustained devastating injuries in September 2010, when a car she was travelling in as a passenger left the N4 slip road  at Ballisodare at a speed of 150km/hour, crashed through two road barriers, hit a pole and ended upside down in a stream.

The driver – Martin Kearney from Balinoo in County Mayo – and a second male passenger were thrown clear from the vehicle as it crashed; but Lydia – who had been wearing a seatbelt – had to be cut from the wreckage of the BMW Coupe and was taken unconscious to Sligo General Hospital.

Lydia was later transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where she remained in a coma for nine months. When she came out of the coma, Lydia discovered that she had lost the use of her arms and legs and the ability to communicate by speech.

Kearney – who had just got his license back after a previous five-year driving ban – was convicted for dangerous driving causing serious harm, and in June 2012 given a six-year jail sentence and banned from driving for twenty years.

Through her father, Lydia made a car crash passenger injury compensation claim against Martin Kearney and his father Michael Kearney in his capacity as owner of the car. Liability was accepted and a negotiated compensation settlement of €10 million was agreed.

Because of Lydia´s condition, the settlement of car crash passenger injury compensation had to be approved by a judge and, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told the circumstances of Lydia´s injuries and how Lydia will require full-time care for the rest of her life.

Describing the €10 million compensation settlement as “excellent” as she approved it, the judge said “It does not give back Lydia her life. Nothing will, but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.”

201311.27
0

New Symphysiotomy Compensation Plan Announced

The Government has proposed a new symphysiotomy compensation plan after its U-turn on extending the Statute of Limitations for women who underwent the procedure between the 1940s and 1980s.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly announced in a press conference that Judge Yvonne Murphy has been asked to examine the feasibility of a compensation scheme for women who underwent the controversial childbirth procedure, and who have been left with permanent injuries such as incontinence, difficulty with walking and chronic pain.

Judge Murphy has been asked to compile a series of compensation options for review in February 2014, to “assist in finding closure” for the women affected by the operation. Dr Reilly said that the Government would contribute to an ex gratia scheme if that is the symphysiotomy compensation plan recommended, and it is understood that Judge Murphy will be meeting with insurance companies to explore whether they would contribute towards such a scheme.

Originally Dr Reilly had said he would not oppose a private members bill introduced into the Dáil by Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin to allow a one-year window for the affected women to make claims for symphysiotomy compensation; however the Government were then told that such a move could result in a legal challenge by the insurance companies who would have been liable for compensating the women.

Sinn Féin’s health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin criticised plans to keep the statute of limitations in place. He said “The type of scheme outlined in the terms of reference offers the women no prospect of adequate compensation for what was so barbarically done to them nor the choice to pursue their rights in the courts.”

However Chairman of the support group Survivors of Symphysiotomy Ltd – Tom Moran – welcomed the announcement of a new symphysiotomy compensation plan. His comment was “We welcome this decision to appoint the judge and we hope it leads to women finally being given a chance of some kind of closure.”

201311.26
0

Interim Payment of Compensation for Cerebral Palsy Approved

A High Court judge has approved an interim payment of cerebral palsy compensation for a 12 year old girl who sustained birth injuries due to the negligence of an obstetric consultant.

Roisin Conroy was born at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portloaise on 14th November 2001, four days after her mother – Mary Conroy of Portlaoise, County Laois – had attended the hospital, believing that her waters had broke. Mary was sent home after being reassured that everything was okay but, three days after attended the clinic of Dr John Corristine – her private consultant obstetrician – and, following an ultrasound at the clinic, Mary insisted she be admitted into hospital.

A CTG scan conducted at the hospital failed to indicate any sign of contractions, and Mary was advised to take a bath. However, there was insufficient hot water was available at the hospital so Dr Corristine prescribed Mary with some medicine to induce labour. Thereafter, Dr Corristine was not present during Mary´s labour or Roisin´s birth the next day.

When Roisin was born the following morning, she suffered seizures soon after her birth and was transferred to a neo-natal unit in Dublin. However, her condition failed to improve and Roisin was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy – due to which she is permanently disabled and can only communication using eye movement.

Mary blamed herself for Roisin´s condition, and insisted on having her next two children delivered by Caesarean Section. Both Mary and her husband Kevin gave up work to look after Roisin, believing what the hospital had told them that nothing could have been done to avoid the tragedy and that the couple had just been unlucky.

An investigation was launched into the circumstances Roisin´s birth after the couple had spoken with a solicitor and, with evidence of negligence against both the hospital and the obstetric consultant, Kevin and Mary made a claim for cerebral palsy against both the Health Service executive (HSE) and Dr Corristine on their daughter´s behalf.

Both the defendants denied their responsibilities for Roisin´s injuries for almost two years until – five weeks before a scheduled court hearing – the hospital and Dr Corristine admitted that errors had been made in the management of Mary´s pregnancy which led to Roisin suffering birth injuries.

An interim payment of compensation for cerebral palsy amounting to €2.3 million was negotiated between the parties and, at the High Court in Dublin, the interim payment of compensation for cerebral palsy was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

The family also heard an apology read to them by an HSE representative and Dr Corristine, after which Ms Justice Mary Irvine adjourned the case for two years so that an assessment of Roisin´s future needs can be made and to allow time for the introduction of a system of structured compensation payments.

201311.20
0

Second Interim Cerebral Palsy Compensation Payment Approved

A High Court judge has approved a second interim cerebral palsy compensation payment for a young girl who was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy in 2004 due to the negligence of her mother´s consultant.

Isabelle Sheehan (now 8 years of age) was born at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork on November 29th 2004 by emergency Caesarean Section, after a blood test on her mother – Catherine – had revealed an alarming rise in the presence of certain blood group antibodies.

Unfortunately, Catherine Sheehan´s consultant doctor – Dr David Corr – had failed to refer Catherine to an expert in foetal medicine, who would have identified potential difficulties with the pregnancy due to a clash between the antibodies in Catherine´s blood and those of her husband – Colm Sheehan.

When Isabelle was born, she was in a poor condition and was diagnosed with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Through her mother, Isabelle made a claim for compensation for the negligence of the consultant doctor, who admitted liability for Isabelle´s injuries when the case was first heard in October 2011.

At the original hearing, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved an interim cerebral palsy compensation payment of €1.9 million, and adjourned the case for two years in the hope that a structured compensation payments system would be in place to assure a life time of care for Isabelle.

However, as no legislation has yet been passed in Ireland which would allow a structured system of compensation payments, the case was back in front of Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who heard that a further interim cerebral palsy compensation payment of €635,000 had been agreed between the parties to provide the care that Isabelle needs for a further two years.

After hearing that Isabelle is “bright and intelligent” and keeping up with children in her mainstream national school class with the help of a home assistant, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the interim cerebral palsy compensation payment, adjourned the case for a further two years and wished Isabelle a very good future.

201310.28
0

Man Settles Claim for Workplace Head Injury

A man, who suffered a severe head trauma when a meat conveyor bench fell on him, has settled his claim for a workplace head injury after a hearing at the High Court.

Hany Boles from Cahir in County Tipperary worked as a knife washer in the AIBP meat processing factory in Cahir when, in May 2007, he was instructed to assist a colleague who has loading a meat conveyor bench onto two trolleys in order to move it elsewhere within the processing plant.

As 49-year old Hany and his colleague loaded the meat conveyor bench onto the trolleys, the bench slipped and fell on him while he was crouching beneath it; striking him on the head and causing a severe head trauma. Hany received hospital treatment immediately following the accident but, because of the nature of his injury, the High Court heard that Hany has not been able to work since.

Hany made a compensation claim for a workplace head injury after seeking legal advice on the basis that he had been asked to perform a task for which he had not been trained or instructed adequately and because of his employer´s negligence he had suffered the injury.

His employers denied their responsibility for Hany´s head injury and claimed that the accident had occurred because of Hany´s own lack of care. However Hany´s legal advisors pursued his compensation claim for a workplace head injury and the case went before Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill at the High Court in Dublin.

After hearing testimony from both parties, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill found in Hany´s favour and said that he believed Hany´s account of how the meat conveyor bench accident had occurred. He commented that the accident had a major impact in Hany´s life, but that his employers had adopted an “antagonistic approach” to Hany´s situation.

The judge also criticised AIBP for recording a “trivialised and an inaccurate account” of the accident into the company’s accident reporting system and chastised the defence´s counsel for suggesting that Hany had been “malingering” since 2007. Awarding Hany €257,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for a workplace head injury, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill commented that the defendants had got this case “completely wrong”.

201309.17
0

DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Case Put Back Again

The twice-postponed DePuy ASR hip replacement court case has been put back in date again – this time after a change of plaintiff and a ruling about referring to the DePuy recall as evidence.

The first Federal DePuy ASR hip replacement case was delayed again last week after the parties in McCracken -v- DePuy (Case No 1:11 dp 20485) were allowed additional time by U.S. District Judge David A. Katz for discovery to take place and to deal with other legal matters.

The first `Bellwether` DePuy ASR hip replacement case has now been rescheduled for September 24th, and will revolve around the hip dislocation sustained by Ann McCracken (57) from Rochester in New York, which is alleged to have been due to metal particles displaced by her DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System causing the soft tissues around her hip to decay.

Ann had a DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System implanted in August 2009, but had to undergo revision surgery in January 2011 after she had suffered her dislocated hip. In October 2011, Ann had to undergo further surgery to insert a device restricting the movement of her hip, which has reduced her mobility and will result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker – resulting in another hip replacement operation in the future.

The latest delay is due to Judge Katz agreeing that the worldwide recall of the DePuy hip replacement systems should not be referred to in court – not only because the DePuy ASR hip replacement case to be heard on its individual merits, but DePuy´s lawyers successfully argued that any reference to the DePuy recall at trial might prevent other companies from voluntarily withdrawing potentially dangerous medical devices because of the legal consequences.

One of the purposes of this first ‘Bellwether’ DePuy ASR hip replacement case is to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopaedic´s defence. If Ann´s case – and others still to be scheduled among the `Bellwether’ trials – results in a yardstick for compensation settlements, DePuy Orthopaedics are likely to negotiate settlement offers with the 7,800 plaintiffs also attached to this DePuy ASR hip replacement case through the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL).

If no compensation yardstick is established by the juries in each of the trials – or if there are both positive and negative verdicts returned – all of the remaining DePuy ASR hip replacement cases will be referred back to the US District Courts in which they were originally filed – each to be heard individually and prolonging the how long it will take for each plaintiff to receive a fair settlement of DePuy hip replacement injury compensation.

This second scenario would also have an impact on plaintiffs in Ireland who have made a claim for DePuy hip replacement injury compensation, as each DePuy ASR hip replacement case in Ireland would then have to go through the court process.

201309.13
0

Compensation for Injury Caused by Broken Chair Awarded in Court

A Canberra woman, who made a claim for compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work, has had her claim resolved in court for more than AU$1 million.

Terry Anne Downie was employed as a team leader for the Community Information and Referral Service in the Australian Capital Territory when, in June 2002, she purchased furniture for her office from the ex-government furniture outlet – Fyshwick – including a chair for her own use at work.

In October of the same year, Terry Anne was sitting on the chair while using the telephone when two legs of the chair snapped and she fell to the floor. A co-worker who saw the accident said that she heard a loud crack and then witnessed Terry Anne struggling to get up.

Terry Anne was taken to hospital, where scans revealed that a bulging disc inflamed by the accident was in contact with a nerve root. Doctors were unable to fix the injury and Terry Anne – now 51 years of age – suffers from ongoing pain, mental illness, sexual dysfunction and a permanent sensation, described in court, of ants under the skin of her legs.

In 2005, Terry Anne was paid Au$190,000 in worker´s compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work but also made a private claim for personal injury compensation against the chair´s importer – Jantom – claiming that the product was faulty when it was supplied to Fyshwick. Terry Anne´s employers also made a claim against Jantom to recover the amount of worker´s compensation they had paid her.

At the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, Judge Master David Harper found in favour of Terry Anne and her employer after hearing expert evidence that plastic moulding on the base of the chair had failed in a catastrophic manner when two of five supporting spokes had broken.

The judge said “Terry Anne has many years ahead of pain and depression. Her life is very different to the life she could have expected if it had not been for her injury. Her enjoyment of life, and the kind of life she is able to lead, have been altered immeasurably.”

He awarded her Au$933,030 compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work plus a further Au$112,000 in special damages to cover her medical expenses. Terry Anne´s employer was also able to recover the compensation already paid to Terry Anne and the costs of raising the claim for an injury caused by a broken chair at work.

201308.12
0

Airline Offers Compensation for Plane Crash Survivors

Asiana Airlines has offered an initial payment of compensation for a plane crash to the 288 survivors of Flight 214 that crashed on its approach to San Francisco International Airport last month.

Three people died in the crash – two from injuries sustained in the accident and a third who was tragically run over by a fire truck racing to the plane´s assistance – which is suspected to have occurred due to the plane from Seoul approaching too low and clipping a seawall at the perimeter of the airport.

Following the accident 181 passengers were taken to hospital where forty-nine still remain in a serious condition. Due to the number of passengers that sustained major spine injuries, doctors believe several patients could be permanently disabled.

Investigators from the US National Transportation Safety Board are yet to confirm the exact cause of the accident; however Asiana Airlines has already made a preliminary offer of compensation for a plane crash to all the survivors for the emotional trauma they suffered.

The offer of $10,000 is a preliminary amount offered under US law, and – under the Montreal Convention – is not conditional on passengers waiving their right to claiming further compensation for a plane crash.

The final value of future compensation settlements may not be known for many months and will depend on whether the passenger is a citizen of the United States (in which case US levels of plane crash compensation apply) or whether they have to claim compensation for a plane crash from the airline under the Montreal Convention.

201307.08
0

Settlement of Passenger Brain Injury Claim Approved in Court

A woman, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when the car she was travelling was involved in a car crash, has had the settlement of her passenger brain injury claim approved in the High Court.

Rhona Murphy (34) was just twenty years of age when, in February 1999, she was travelling as a front seat passenger in a car which attempted to undertake a slower moving vehicle on the Galway to Headford Road.

Rhona, who comes from Newcastle in County Galway, was lucky to survive the crash after the driver of the car in which she was a passenger lost control of the vehicle and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction.

As a result of the traumatic brain injury suffered in the car crash, Rhona had to abandon her studies which she hoped would lead to a career in teaching and now has to take heavy medication to help with her memory and balance. She has been cared for since the accident by her father.

Through her father, Rhona made a claim for passenger brain injury compensation against the driver of the car, alleging that the driver had been driving at an excessive speed in a reckless, dangerous or careless manner.

Liability for the passenger brain injury claim was admitted and, at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an offer of 3 million €uros had been made in settlement of the claim which the family were prepared to accept.

After hearing the circumstances of Rhona´s injury, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of her passenger brain injury claim, stating that it was a good offer considering there was a doubt that Rhona was wearing a seatbelt at the time and had knowingly entered a vehicle which was being driven by somebody who had consumed a significant amount of alcohol.

201306.07
0

Court Approves Interim Cerebral Palsy Compensation Settlement

An interim cerebral palsy compensation settlement has been approved in the High Court for a thirteen-year-old boy who sustained irreversible brain damage during his birth.

Ryan Brennan from Cahir in County Tipperary was born at St. Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel in January 2000; hours after abnormalities had been discovered in the foetal heart rate tracing. Following his delivery, Ryan had to be resuscitated and later in the day suffered seizures.

It was claimed by Ryan´s parents – Lorraine and Raymond – that Ryan suffered irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy due to a failure to act by the hospital´s consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – and that Ryan´s injuries could have been avoided if staff at the hospital had acted with greater diligence.

On behalf of their son, the Brennans made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation against Dr Powell and the Health Service Executive (HSE) for alleged negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract.

The two defendants denied responsibility for Ryan´s injuries but, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an interim cerebral palsy compensation settlement of €1.7 million had been agreed with the HSE without admission of liability and that the claim against Dr Powell could be struck out.

The interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy is for two years to allow for reports on Ryan´s future needs to be conducted and to allow for the possible introduction of a periodic payment system. After commenting that the settlement was ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement.

201305.04
0

Compensation Settlement for Cerebral Palsy Approved in Court

A ten-year-old boy, who alleged through his mother that he suffered foetal distress due to a hospital´s mismanagement of his birth, has had an interim compensation settlement for cerebral palsy approved at the High Court.

Jamie Patterson from Drimnagh in Dublin was born in November 2002 at the city´s Coombe Hospital after his mother – Teresa – had been administered the drug Syntocinon to help start her contractions.

However, the hospital allegedly failed to take into account that the administration of the drug could cause foetal distress without careful monitoring, and Jamie was born with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia.

Through his mother, Jamie – who is unable to talk and can only communicate through body language and facial expressions – made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation on the grounds that Coombe Hospital failed to exercise a proper standard of care for Jamie and his mother.

The claims were denied by the hospital but, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill heard that an interim compensation settlement for cerebral palsy of €1.58 million had been agreed between Jamie´s legal representatives and the Health Service Executive.

The judge also heard that the interim compensation settlement for cerebral palsy was made without admission of liability. Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill approved the settlement – saying that it was an extremely prudent settlement – and adjourned the case for two years while an assessment is made of Jamie´s future needs.

201304.24
0

Claim for Birth Injuries due to Lack of Staff Resolved in Court

The family of a girl who suffered brain damage at her birth due to hospital obstetric negligence have had their claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff resolved at the High Court in Dublin.

Alex Butler (8) from Dunmore East, County Waterford, was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005; however, due to the hospital´s failure to have an adequate number of properly trained competent medical staff to deal with the Alex´s delivery, and to ensure that an adequate and properly competent obstetrician was available, Alex´s delivery was delayed by twelve minutes – during which time she suffered brain damage which led to permanent tetraplegic injury.

Through her mother – Sonya – Alex made a claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff at the hospital, alleging that her consultant obstetrician had been allowed to take leave at the same time as the hospital´s two other obstetricians and that the hospital had employed a locum obstetrician without ensuring that he competent. It was further claimed that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment was substandard and there was a failure to recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section.

The High Court heard that the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability for Alex´s injuries, and the claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff against the consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and locum obstetrician – Mahmud Khbuli – were dismissed. A representative from Waterford read out an apology for the mismanagement of Alex´s birth and accepted that the mistakes that were made should never have happened.

The Court also heard that an interim settlement of Alex´s claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff amounting to €1.4 million had been agreed upon between the HSE and Alex´s parents. The compensation settlement is to be reviewed again in two years when an assessment of Alex´s care needs for the future has been made, and by which time it is hoped that the option of a structured settlement is available.

201304.17
0

Statute of Limitations for Symphysiotomy Claims to be Set Aside

The Statute of Limitations for symphysiotomy claims moved one step closer to being set aside last night in order to allow surviving victims of symphysiotomy and pubiotomy procedures to claim compensation for their injuries.

Symphysiotomy and pubiotomy operations were carried out on mothers during childbirth from the 1940s until the 1990s in order to increase the size of the pelvic outlet to aid childbirth as an alternative to a Caesarean Section – often without the mother´s consent or knowledge.

The procedure involved cutting the cartilage between the pubic bones and breaking the pelvis – an operation which frequently left the mother in extreme pain, incontinent and with impaired mobility. Many women did not even know that they had undergone the procedure until their medical records were reviewed years later.

Due to the two-year Stature of Limitations for making personal injury claims in Ireland, nearly all of the women who underwent a symphysiotomy or pubiotomy have been time-barred from claiming compensation for injuries caused by a symphysiotomy or pubiotomy procedure.

Now, thanks to a Private Members Bill introduced into the Dáil by Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, women who underwent these procedures may have the opportunity to claim compensation for symphysiotomy injuries.

The Bill proposes that a one year window be allowed in the Statute of Limitations for symphysiotomy claims in order to allow women to recover compensation for symphysiotomy injuries through the courts. Last night, the Bill passed through its second stage in the Dáil and will now move onto committee stage.

Speaking in the Dáil, Health Minister Dr. James Reilly said the coalition would not oppose the proposed legislation to set aside the Statute of Limitations for symphysiotomy claims and received a warm reception when he announced that he would ensure closure for the survivors of symphysiotomy by the end of the year.

A spokesman for Dr. Reilly announced later that the Government is also examining how best to meet the health and social needs of women affected. The final Walsh Report, expected soon, should go some way to assisting the Government with the final drafting of the legislation which will temporarily set aside the Statute of Limitations for symphysiotomy claims.

201303.13
0

Settlement of Quadriplegic Injuries Compensation Approved

A man left with quadriplegic injuries and with severe brain damage following a road traffic accident has had a €6.5 million settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation approved in the High Court.

Alan Kavanagh (41) from New Ross, County Wexford, sustained his injuries when he and his daughter were involved in a head-on collision with a van errantly driven by Liam Toohey of Nenagh, County Tipperary in November 2004.

Having suffered multiple fractures and brain damage which left him in a quadriplegic condition, Alan is totally dependent on others for nursing care, is unable to feed himself and is confined to a wheelchair. Fortunately, the only injury suffered by Alan´s daughter in the accident was a broken finger.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Alan had made a claim for quadriplegic injuries compensation through his brother against Toohey and the owner of the van involved in the accident – John Heffernan, a haulage contractor, also of Nenagh, County Tipperary. Liability for Alan´s injuries had been accepted and the case was before the judge for assessment of damages only.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Alan was currently living in a nursing home for the elderly which was not suitable for his needs; however a settlement of €6.5 million had been proposed which would provide financial security for the rest of Alan´s life and enable him to have the level of care he required.

After hearing evidence from Alan´s partner and mother of his daughter – Loretto Power – that the family was happy with the settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation, Ms Justice Mary Irvine gave the settlement her approval – saying that it was an excellent settlement which gave Alan the best chance of meeting his future needs.

201303.12
0

Woman Awarded Compensation for Injuries from Symphysiotomy

A woman, who underwent a symphysiotomy procedure at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 2000, has been awarded €591,297 compensation for injuries from symphysiotomy by the High Court.

Tracey Nelson (45) from Navan in County Meath underwent the procedure prior to the delivery of her second child, when medical staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda failed to correctly diagnose the symptoms of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

After suffering for many years with the physical discomfort from the symphysiotomy, Tracey underwent surgery in 2004 to stabilise her condition and again, in 2007, had to have a spinal cord stimulator fitted – since when Tracey has been relatively free of pain.

However, as Tracey related to Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court, she has also suffered emotionally due to the negligence of the medical staff who failed in their duty of care to manage her pregnancy.

Tracey told the court she had developed fibromyalgia – where she had constant pain in her muscles and joints – and due to the pain, started to drink alcohol heavily. This resulted in the break-up of her marriage and, in turn, to depression.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital denied their liability for Tracey´s injuries, but Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill ruled that he was satisfied from the medical evidence there was a failure to diagnose SPD on February 2nd when Tracey attended the hospital complaining of pain in the pelvic area.

The judge said there was no doubt that the “primary cause” of Tracey´s physical and psychological injuries was the negligence of the HSE and “terrible consequences” of it. “I am quite satisfied that the failures in this regard fell substantially below the standard of care to be expected of doctors practising obstetrics in a maternity unit such as Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda,” he said.

Awarding Tracey €591,297 in compensation for injuries from symphysiotomy, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said that he was also satisfied the doctors and midwives who attended Ms Nelson were “oblivious” to her SPD condition and consequently took no precautions to prevent the risk of avoidable injury during the course of her labour.

201302.04
0

Coombe Hospital Liable in Catastrophic Birth Injury Claim

A High Court judge has found the Coombe Women´s Hospital in Dublin negligent in a catastrophic birth injury claim brought against it by a ten-year-old boy.

The claim for catastrophic birth injury compensation was made by Fiona Murphy of Malahide, County Dublin, on behalf of her son Eoin (10) following the events of his birth on 12th July 2002.

Eoin had been born suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia which an investigation into the catastrophic birth injury claim determined had begun two or three minutes before he was delivered.

However, rather than resuscitating Eoin within minutes of his birth, a delay of seventeen minutes occurred due to a paediatric registrar not being available and, as a consequence, Eoin sustained irreversible brain damage and now suffers from severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy .

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that, had the hospital acted with reasonable care for Eoin’s welfare, there was no reason why he should not have been effectively ventilated by the time he was nine minutes old which would have prevented his injuries from occurring.

Finding the Coombe Women’s and Infants’ University Hospital liable for Eoin´s injuries, the judge said “the delay was unacceptable and the hospital was negligent in failing to ensure the child received the type of intubation and ventilation mandated in the first 10 minutes of his life”.

Eoin´s catastrophic birth injury claim has now been adjourned for the assessment of damages.

UPDATE May 2013: Eoin was awarded an interim settlement of €1.9 million in compensation for catastrophic birth injuries in May 2013, with his case adjourned for a further two years when a review of his future requirements will be conducted.