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HSE Settles Cerebral Palsy Legal Action for €1.9m with Woman (20)

A woman, aged 20, who suffers from cerebral palsy who sued the HSE to relation to the treatment administered to her during her delivery has settled her cerebral palsy action with an interim payout of €1.95m at the High Court.

Despite being born just 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister in Wexford General Hospital, the High Court was told that Shauni Breen has cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is restricted to a wheelchair. There was an alleged failure to recognise it was a high-risk labour at the time.

Currently living in Meadowbrook, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co Cork, Ms Breen had  taken the legal action against the HSE in relation to the events that occurred at the time of her delivery on December 30, 1997. Before the delivery, when the twins were just 33 weeks and three days, their mother Marie Foley was taken to Wexford General Hospital at 5am in the morning.  Just after this Ms Breen’s twin sister Nicole was born healthy at 6.10am. Following this, it claimed that the labour for Shauni lasted approximately 40 minutes and was handled in a negligent manner. Ms Breen’s legal representative claimed there was no anaesthetist present nor a full supporting present and prepared for every possible outcome.

The HSE denied these claims in the High Court and argued that management of the birth complied with standard best practice and was consistent with normal procedures in Irish maternity units at the time of the birth in 1997.

It was argued by Ms Breen’s legal team Counsel that she (Ms Breen) displayed an abnormal presentation and, due to this. should have been delivered by caesarean section within 15 minutes of the birth of her sister. However, due to complications experienced Ms Breen had to be resuscitated and was transferred to a different hospital.

Judge Kevin Cross approved the 1.9m cerebral palsy compensation settlement and it as stated that Ms Breen will return court in five years’ time when her future care needs will be assessed.

Ms Breen’s Legal team told the Hight Court that the care by her mother to Ms Breen throughout her life had been extraordinary and Counsel said the young woman was currently doing well.