The case of a young boy who was starved of oxygen shortly before his birth-and was left severely disabled as a result-has been settled in the High Court.
Coombe Hostpial, Dublin, has issued an apology to Eoin McCallig (four years of age) and his family, from Dunkineely in Co Donegal, for injuries the young boy sustained at birth. They further apologised for the difficult position in which it has put his family and all those who care for him. A €15 million settlement of compensation for the error has been approved in the High Court.
In response to the statement, Eoin’s father, Anthony, said the family could forgive the error. However, he further stated that they could not reconcile themselves with the way HSE treated their family and others who suffered similarly during the process of seeking compensation.
Mr McCallig feels that there must be a “better way” of handling cases involving seriosuly injured children than through litigation actions lasting years to a “bitter end” and last-minute settlement attempts. He told the High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that something has to change to prevent other families suffering as his did.
He said that the HSE has spent €800m over the last ten years fighting these compensation cases. Mr McCallig felt that this money could be put to better use.
Mr McCallig stated that the birth injury settlement of €15m would never change what happened to Eoin, but it would provide some peace of mind for the family as they knew that Eoin would now be taken care after if anything happened to them.
The court was told that staff at the Coombe Hospital, stopped monitoring Eoin’s heart rate at 9.30am on the morning of his birth. Eoin’s parents believe that if he had been monitored after this, it would have seen he was in distress before he was deliver at around 11.30am. Due to his distress, Eoin was deprived of oxygen in the 20 minutes leading up to his delivery. This rendered him permanently disabled.
It was argued that if Eoin had been monitored and delivered earlier, he would not have suffered such catastrophic injuries. The court was told Eoin was a very smart boy, but he is unable to walk or talk. He has learned to communicate with other people using only with his eyes and facial expressions.
In a media statement released through their solicitor, Michael Boylan, Eoin McCallig’s parents said the Coombe Hospital settlement was welcome but the family “would hand this €15 million settlement back in a heartbeat if Eoin could get back what was robbed from him in those two precious hours before his birth”.
Due to Eoin being a minor, the settlement of compensation had to be approved of a High Court judge to ensure that it was in Eoin’s best interests. Mr Justice Peter Kelly approved the settlement, and wished Eoin the best for his future.