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Hospital Negligence

Death of Infant Leads to HSE Compensation Settlement Approval

Following a tragic case where a baby passed away just ten month after being delivered at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, a High Court compensation action taken by the child’s mother against the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been settled in her favour.

Presiding Judge Justice Garrett Simons was made aware that the compensation settlement was agreed between Katelyn McCarthy’s mother Sharon McCarthy and the HSE following mediation talks. The precise terms of the settlement are to remain confidential as per the settlement agreement.

In 2014 Katelyn was referred to as Baby X in a documentary report that investigated the deaths of a number of babies at the hospital in Co Laois by the RTÉ Prime Time team. Legal counsel for Ms McCarthy, Alistair Rutherdale BL instructed by solicitor Roger Murray, told the High Court that informed Justice Simons that two investigations were conducted after this was aired. However, Katelyn’s parents were not made aware of the outcome(s) of this inquiry.

During the court hearing it was alleged that the finding opinions of an obstetrician were not sought quickly enough and that led to a failure to bring forward the child’s delivery by emergency caesarean section. These missteps lead to additional health complications for the baby. Ms McCarthy presented testimony, from a medical expert for the plaintiff, which argued that Katelyn should have been born before 2am. Along with this it was alleged that there was a failure to review the health of the foetus using a foetal blood sample. When the baby was finally born Ms McCarthy was told that the outcome was unavoidable by those physicians present.

The High Court was made aware that the HSE has also completed to separate reviews of Katelyn’s death which produced two separate reports, one in July 2009 and another in March 2012.Ms McCarthy was not no invited to participate in either investigation and there was no attempt to even make her aware that they had been carried out until 2014.

She told the court: “I subsequently heard of media coverage of certain deaths in Portlaoise Hospital and only learned at that time that Katelyn was one of these”.

Justice Simons gave his approval for the death at birth compensation settlement, and the division of a statutory mental distress payment which in this case was just over €25,000, as he commented that the death of baby infant Katelyn McCarthy was tragic.

The Judge went on to say that, as they had experienced the most significant emotional trauma, the solatium should be split between the parents Sharon and Thomas.




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€3m Medical Negligence Compensation for Girl Left Brain Damaged following Operation

The High Court has approved a €3m interim settlement for a girl who sustained significant brain injuries when, it is claimed, she was allowed to return home without the correct antibiotics  in the aftermath of a cranial surgical procedure.

14-year-old Chloe Flaherty, who was just 18 months old at the time of the operation, is now physically disabled and mentally challenged.

In 2009 she was permitted to leave Children’s University Hospital at Temple Street in Dublin. However, her treatment team did not ensure that the young child had antibiotic cover.  despite having required antibiotics up to the day of her discharge. The hospital has not accepted liability for Chloe’s injuries.

Chloe sued Children’s University Hospital, via her father Patrick Flaherty. Representing the family in court, Des O’Neill SC informed the Judge Justice Paul Coffey that Chloe’s brain operation included opening her skull. After surgery she was held in hospital for a period of ten days due to experiencing spikes in her temperature. During this time she was administered with intravenous and oral antibiotics.

Upon discharge she was not provided with an antibiotic cover or plan. she continued to suffer with temperature spikes. Her parents were assured that this was to be expected and were advised to give their child Calpol and analgesics. While this did address her temperature issues it did nothing for the the underlying situation that she was suffering from according to Mr O’Neill.

Tragically, just a week later Chloe was discovered lying on her side and “continued to fit for at least an hour” prior to being rushed to hospital by ambulance. It was discovered, at the hospital that she has sustained catastrophic brain damage which had left her physically disabled. As a result she has needed been mentally challenged and has been confined to a wheelchair since that time. The court was informed that she will need full time care for the remainder of her life.

It was alleged that the hospital allowed the child to return home without ensuring that she was free from infection, identifying the cause of her temperatures spikes, and failing to provide her parent with proper information in relation to recognising further infection.

The hospital refuted all of these claims.

Justice Paul Coffey remarked me that Chloe’s parents, Patrick and Samantha O’Flaherty, have “heroically kept Chloe’s needs to the forefront for the last 12 years” and have not been able to maintain a full-time job since the day that their  daughter was released from hospital. He added that he was happy to approve the interim settlement and gave his best wishes to the Flahertys.

Speaking outside of court solicitor for the O’Flahertys Ciaran Tansey said the settlement was the result of a 10-year battle. He added that it was one of the largest compensation settlements in the State. The case is due to be heard again in four years time with full liability accepted to provide for her care for the rest of her life.

He said: “That said, today’s settlement will never offer adequate recompense for Chloe and Samantha and Patrick. While she will be looked after financially, far more important is the care and love that has been offered to her for the past 12 years by the two people standing beside me, her the parents”.

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Sepsis Compensation for Donegal Woman

Caroline Cunningham, a Donegal woman who suffered with life-threatening sepsis after being sent home from Letterkenny University Hospital after delivering her first child, has settled her sepsis compensation claim with the Health Service Executive.

Ms Cunningham has decided to speak out in the hope she can warn other women about the risks of infection after undergoing a caesarean section. She was treated in hospital for 39 days after developing life-threatening sepsis. and then fought a four-year legal battle after the HSE denied any negligence.

A native of Strabrinna in Kilcar, ms Cunningham attended Letterkenny University Hospital in March 2016 to deliver her first child Emma. They were allowed to return home April 3, 2016 however, two days later Caroline began to feel ill and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Here it was discovered that she was suffering from severe pain and her C-section scar was red and inflamed. Due to this severe and deep-seated infection she ended up spending a further 39 days in hospital. During this time she was transferred to the intensive care unit of the hospital when her condition had deteriorated and it became life-threatening sepsis. Caroline underwent numerous surgeries to drain her wound.

Following hearing an expert opinion from a microbiologist, Ms Cunningham began legal proceedings in 2018 against Letterkenny University Hospital through her Solicitor, Jolene McElhinney of McElhinney & Associates Solicitors, Stranorlar. The microbiologist argued that Letterkenny University Hospital had behaved negligently on this occasion due to their failure to administer antibiotics at the time of C-section and for thereafter not identifying the appropriate antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading further.

Medical experts claimed that the antibiotics administered by Letterkenny Hospital not correct given the circumstances and could never have stopped the infection form getting worse and spreading. Due to this the patient’s condition developed into severe sepsis and she remained in hospital. During this time her new daughter who was at home being cared for by her husband and other relations.

Ms Cunningham also developed further complication with her lungs and suffered with pneumonia, empyema infection and bilateral plural effusions. Medical testimony linked the respiratory complications directly to the sepsis which she had developed. Additionally she had to undergo a number of plural taps which is a very painful treatment to remove fluid from her lungs. Ms Cunningham describes the fluid in her lungs as a feeling of a huge weight on her chest.

As her recovery progressed, Caroline was almost breathless as a result of the fluid on her lungs and often had difficulty sleeping at night. She even slept in an armchair due to the weight of the fluid on her chest.

The HSE admitted liability in December 2020 and was settled for an undisclosed amount before it went to court.


Ms Cunningham said: “This approach was a continuation of the poor treatment I received at Letterkenny Hospital. I hope that by going public about my case, other ladies who undergo a caesarean section will be fully aware of the risks of infection and know the infection can progress quickly and dangerously and that all women should be alert to the signs and symptoms.”

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Coombe Hospital Directed to Pay €35,000 Birth Death Compensation to Deceased Infant’s Family

The death of an infant just hours after his birth, due to medical negligence, had resulted in his parent winning a compensation claim for wrongful death against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital at the High Court.

Assumpta Sweeney and Jason Butler have been awarded €35,000 in wrongful death compensation. Their son Rory Jason Sweeney Butler died on November 19 2015 just after he was delivered at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. The legal action that was submitted sought compensation due to the alleged medical negligence that led to their son’s wrongful death of their child and the nervous shock and trauma they both suffered with in the aftermath of this.

The Coombe Hospital is no stranger to paying out compensation fees related to medical negligence at the time of birth. There have been multiple instances of this in the last 15 years or so.

  • In 2013 it was ruled that dyskinetic cerebral palsy was sustained by an infant as a result of negligence at the time of birth in the hospital. A large compensation award was paid out to the boys family. As a result the hospital had to pay a dyskinetic cerebral palsy medical negligence compensation claim to the parent of the the then -10–year-old boy.
  • Birth negligence compensation of €15m was awarded to a Donegal family due to the injuries sustained by Eoin McCallig as he was being delivered. It was found that Eoin was deprived of oxygen during the birthing process.
  • Dara Brennan, who was born during November 2009, was awarded €65,000 hospital negligence compensation due to facial cut that occured when he was being born.

Richard Kean SC advised the Judge that the parent had suffered greatly following the “very tragic” death of their infant son Rory as a result of alleged hospital negligence. Liability was accepted by the defendant in the personal injury compensation claim.

The statutory compensation award was award by the presiding Judge Justice Eager. This compensation will be paid out to the family of the young boy who now live at Drimnagh in Dublin 12.


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Boy (6) Awarded €7m in Settlement for Mayo University Hospital Birth Negligence

Mayo University Hospital and the Health Service Executive have agreed to pay a €7m birth injury settlement to a now six-year-old boy in relation to his birth at Mayo University Hospital has settled his High Court action for €7m.

Following mediation  talk the boy, who cannot be named, was awarded the settlement.

It was claimed during the hearing by Denis McCullough SC, the legal representative for the boy, that this is the first legal action of its type in Ireland where it was claimed that a baby suffered a neonatal stroke. He added that medical experts consulted for the boy were of the belief that strokes like this can happen due to hypoxia ischemia. These claims were countered by the medical experts that testified on behalf the defendant.

Via hi smother, the boy had sued the HSE in relation to the circumstances of his delivery at the Mayo University Hospital in 2013. Ms McCullough had been attending the hospital for pre delivery consultation and had a number of scans conducted which indicated that amniotic fluid had reduced seriously and the foetus was particularly. It was claimed was alleged that a congenital abnormality was suspected, leading to the incorrect decision made to move the mother to a Dublin hospital.

However, it was found that the boy was not suffering from a congenital abnormality and the foetal compromise should have been diagnosed, resulting in the move to complete a quick delivery carried out. Along with this it was  claimed that too much time was permitted to pass during attempts to secure a bed in Dublin for the mother. As a  result the woman in the about to be transferred by ambulance when the decision was made to take her back. A CTG trace was begun and then cancelled as it was it was thought to be ‘grossly abnormal’. A caesarean section was used to deliver the infant.

After the delivery, the boy have to be intensively resuscitated and he was later brought to a Dublin hospital. The birth injury compensation action claimed that there was a failure to deliver the baby in a proper and timely and manner and a failure to diagnose the CTG abnormalities were inflicting damage to the baby or the situation required urgent intervention.

The HSE refuted this, saying that the boy experienced a stroke because of hypoxia ischemia, reduced brain oxygen caused by inadequate blood flow.

His parents said that they were happy with the injury compensation settlement, stating: “We are incredibly proud of our boy. He is a happy child”.

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Initial €2.1m Cerebral Palsy Compensation Settlement for Boy (11)

An initial compensation settlement of €2.1 million has been awarded to an 11 year old boy who has suffered with cerebral palsy since his birth at St Munchin’s Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick,in 2009.

Rory Pender from Kildysart, Ennis, Co Clare had sued the Health Service Executive in relation to the circumstances of his birth at the hospital. The High Court was informed that Rory has a condition know as spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This means that he can walk without assistance but has difficulty jumping and only learned to run in the last few years. He is unable to speak but attends school and has a special needs assistant.

As part of proceedings counsel for Rory, Alastair Rutherdale BL, informed the judge that a Zoom video mediation conference this month had resulted in a settlement with liability being conceded.

The payout includes an initial payment of €1.2 million in the case as well as €500,000 to be paid in general damages and €400,00 in past special damages. The case will be revisited in five years time so Rory’s future care needs will be assessed.

Rory, through his mother Catherine Pender, sued the HSE, arguing that Rory should have been delivered substantially earlier. Counsel for the Penders presented a medical expert who claimed that Rory the baby should have been delivered at 1am when in fact he was born one hour and forty nine minutes later on May 1, 2009.

Due to this delayed delivery, it was argued, an over-stimulation of labour by the use of oxytocin took place and there was also a failure to stop the oxytocin infusion and complete a medical assessment and do a fetal blood sample. The medical expert said that these would have led to an emergency caesarean section or instrumental delivery.

Along with these arguments it was said that there was an alleged failure to recognise the CTG abnormalities and an alleged failure to have CTG trained staff present due to the education processes.

Finally it was alleged that the baby suffered hypoxia during the final stages of labour and soon after birth the baby showed signs of respiratory distress and hypoglycemia. Following an MRI scan on January 7, 2010, when Rory was seven months old, his mother was informed for the first time he might have a brain injury. The boy was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The case was adjourned the case until May 2025. after Justice Kevin Cross approved the initial settlement.

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Mother of Two Takes Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim Against HSE

A breast cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim has been submitted against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by a 59-year-old mother of two due to a misdiagnosis she claims was committed by the group’s BreastCheck service.

Mrs Siobhan Freeney has claimed that a mammogram she had during June 2015 did not detect her breast cancer. The test in question returned an official negative result in relation to breast cancer. However, six months later it was Ms Freeney was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast. Due to this she has now initiated a compensation claim stating that the first mammogram should have resulted in a diagnosis of cancer. If this had been the cased, she alleges, additional assessments would have been conducted and her treatment would have started more quickly.

Legal counsel  for Mrs Freeny, Jeremy Maher SC told the court that the medical negligence compensation claim was taken due to the alleged delay in the diagnosis of Mrs Freeney’s breast cancer.

It was also alleged that Siobhan Freeney was not sent for additional assessment after the tests that were carried out at the mobile clinic in Gorey. They said that a triple assessment incorporating a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have been completed and identified the cancer if this the initial test had correctly returned a positive result.

The was an another claim submitted regard the claimed failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful way along with a failure to provide reasonable care skill and judgment when reviewing the results of the mammogram that was conducted on June 17, 2015.

The HSE refutes all these claims and has countered that the cancer would have been much smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy if the cancer has been discovered in the initial mammogram that was carried out.

The case continues.

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Erb’s Palsy Settlement for €400,000 for Girl

At the High Court an Erb’s Palsy settlement against the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) for €400,000 has been approved for a six-year-old girl who allegedly suffered a shoulder injury at birth.

As part of the birth injury compensation action it was alleged that when the young girl, Alice Hayes, was delivered by junior doctors excessive traction was applied. It was claimed she sustained a brachial plexus injury to her left shoulder and now has a shoulder condition which is referred to as Erb’s palsy. It was also claimed that during the labour an alleged incorrect determination was made of the position of the baby. It was alleged that, due to this incorrected determination, excessive downward traction was applied to the baby’s head.

Alice, of Anglesea Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, took the birth injury compensation action via her mother Norah McNulty, against the NMH in Holles Street, Dublin, over the antenatal care provided in the lead-up to her delivery, the management of her mother’s labour and the birth that took place on September 8, 2013.

The legal team acted for Alice, claimed that if Alice’s mother had been properly guided on the options for delivery in respect of the birth of her daughter and on the risks or benefits associated with the different options for delivery, she would have elected for a Caesarean section. These claims were denied by the defendants in the case.

Alice’s counsel, Dr John O’Mahony, informed the court she is doing well under the care of very supportive parents. The settlement was without admission of liability.

Presiding Judge Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good settlement and gave his approval for it.


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€2.5m for Brain Damage during Birth Compensation for Jack (4)

A €2.5m interim settlement has been awarded to a four-year-old boy left brain-damaged at birth won in court yesterday.

In addition to the award Letterkenny University Hospital apologised, at the High Court, for the failings that lead to Jack’s injuries. Hospital general manager Sean Murphy said he wished to express sincere apologies for the failings and the “consequential trauma suffered by him and you, his parents and his family. The hospital understands that neither this apology nor the financial compensation … can negate the continuing heartache that the McGahern Donaghey family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for you.”

Jack, of Killygordon, Co Donegal, had taken the legal action against the Health Service Executive via his mother over the circumstances of his birth on August 5, 2015. It was alleged there was a failure to recognise the maternal heart rate was being recorded instead of the foetal heart rate. In addition to this it was claimed there was an alleged failure to recognise the loss of the foetal heart rate during the active second stage of Ms McGahern’s labour.

Finally, it was further claimed there was a failure to adequately or accurately assess, diagnose or follow up on the baby’s heart rate during labour. The court heard liability was conceded in the case last month. Jack’s parents Denise and Seamus were in court as the apology was read aloud and the interim settlement reached after mediation was approved.

Jack McGahern Donaghey’s mother, Denise McGahern, spoke after the hearing of her relief at the end of a ‘very tough battle’ to win justice for her son, who has cerebral palsy. She said: “”With this interim settlement Jack will get the best support and care and help that he needs. This has been a very stressful time for our family. Although the interim settlement has been achieved today, it has been a very tough battle over the last three years between us and the HSE, causing us anxiety and worry. Whilst the apology from the HSE is welcome, we are saddened and weary of the legal process and struggle to understand why it took this legal road to bring about an explanation and produce an apology.”

She added that they would like lessons to be learned from what occurred at the time of Jack’s birth and they never wanted “this tragedy to be visited on any other family”, going on to say that Jack is a wonderful little boy “who is the light of our lives” and the interim settlement will allow them to move on positively from “what has been an horrendous ordeal”.

Gabriel Gavigan SC, representing Jack, requested that the case be adjourned for 10 years when the court will be asked to make an assessment of Jack’s future care needs. In giving his approval for the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the bulk of the money will go toward Jack’s ongoing care.

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14-year-old Brain-damaged Boy Settles Compensation Claim with HSE for Record €23m

A last once-off payment of €20m had been agreed in a maternity delivery injury compensation settlement between and Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 14-year-old boy who claims he sustained permanent brain damage during his birth in a Cork hospital.

Lee Gibson of Carrigaline, Co Cork, has cerebral palsy. He cannot speak and requires a wheelchair to move around. This award means that a record €23m the total paid to the young boy and the birth injury compensation settlement against the HSE is the largest to date in the State for this type of legal action.

As part of the submission for compensation, it was claimed that Lee suffered many injuries to his brain due to a lack of oxygen and the impact of an untreated infection sustained by his mother. It was also claimed that there was delay of between 91 and 106 minutes prior to delivery by emergency caesarean section once the decision to go proceed with one had been taken. There was also a claim that there was failure to deal with the case as an emergency case and to give a concise explanation for what happened. The claims were not accepted but liability was later admitted in the case.

As he was approving the final figure, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly praised the teenager’s mother, Aileen Gibson. He said: “Lee makes the best of a life that is possible because of the care of his mother, grandmother and other family support.”

In 2015 an interim settlement payment of €2m was approved for Lee and, subsequently, in 2017 a further interim payment of €1m was transferred to his family.

Ms Gibson, speaking after final approval was given for sum of compensation, said that the day was bittersweet. She said: “I must say that today is bittersweet. All the money won’t change what has happened to Lee. We will have to live with that pain forever.”

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12-year-old Boy Awarded €10.5m Birth Injury Compensation Settlement

A €10.5million birth injury compensation settlement has been awarded to Samuel Forde (12) who took a legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) with regard to the manner his delivery at Sligo General Hospital in August 2006.

Submitting the medical negligence action on his behalf Samuel’s mother Deborah Forde, through legal representative Des O’Neill SC, claimed that he (Samuel) was not swiftly diagnosed and treated for his condition prior to delivery. He added that there was a perceived failure to admit Mrs Forde to hospital on August 19, 2006 so that she could be observed and treated accordingly. Finally, he said that the pregnancy was allowed to go on too long beyond the due date resulting in the failure to deliver the baby at the proper time.

Legal counsel for the HSE denied all of these allegations.

At the High Court Justice Kevin Cross was informed how Mrs Forde had attended a check up on August 15, 2006 which had shown anything unordinary. However, when she went for a further review two days later, as she felt she was in labour, a CTG was applied to observe the baby’s heartbeat . Mrs Forde, who now resides at Glenview Park, Grange, Co Sligo was then told that she could return home after a number of tests were carried out.

When a midwife checked in by phone with Mrs Forde on August 20 she (Mrs Forde) said that there was little movement she was told to attend the hospital immediately. A CTG and checks were carried out again and Samuel was delivered via cesarean section August 20,2006. Following delivery he had to be intubated.

The High Court in the High Court was told that Samuel has cerebral palsy from birth which has totally impacted his life. He now requires lifelong care.

The Forde family submitted a legal action once Samuel’s medical card was withdrawn a few years ago.

After the approval of the compensation settlement Solicitor David O’Malley for the Fordes said the family longed for their son to live his life “as happy and as included as possible. Hopefully the financial settlement can bring him that stability. Mediation was a very effective mechanism to resolve this case”.

Justice Kevin Cross said the Fordes had tended to their son’s needs “over and above”.

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€710,000 Prescription Error Compensation agreed between HSE and Women (69) who Suffered Stroke

A €710,000 prescription error compensation settlement has been agreed between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 69-year-old woman, Mary Moss, who suffered a major stroke after she was discharged from a hospital without her blood thinning medication.

In addition to the €710,000 settlement, which was approved at the High Court, yearly care for the rest of her life in the region of €250,000 a year will also be made available. The HSe also issued an apology which was read out in the High Court.

The HSE said sorry to Ms Moss and her family, through a court statement, for all “shortcomings” that took place during the treatment she received at Sligo University Hospital. They said they regretted the huge upheaval that this has caused to the life of Ms Moss and her family.

Des O’Neill SC, legal representative for Ms Moss, advised the Judge that she had suffered a stroke in 2010 but had recovered from this. However, in February 2018 she had suffered another ‘episode’ and her anti-thinning medication was changed in hospital. However, this new medication was not included in the prescription that she was given upon discharge. This mistake went unrecognised she experienced a stroke six weeks later having left without her prescribed anticoagulants. Mrs Moss is now disabled.

Ms Moss is currently recovering at the National Rehabilitation Hospital and her family hope to bring her home to Ballymote, Co Sligo, as soon as they can. Her daughter Leanne Moss, speaking  outside court, that she was happy to know that everything her mother needs will paid. She said that this would help her family hugely as her mother is confined to a wheelchair suffering from left side paralysis since the stroke.

Roger Murray, solicitor for the Moss family said: “Thanks to a successful mediation, the family can now concentrate on getting the best possible care for their mother, and moving her home to the west where she is happiest.”

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Autistic Teenager Agreeds €7.25m Injuries at Birth Settlement with Hospital

€7.25m injuries at birth compensation has been awarded in favour of a 13-year-old autistic boy at the High Court in relation to the suffering he underwent at the time of his birth at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Dublin on July 30, 2005.

Finn Phillips, who is on the autism spectrum, was legally represented .in court by Jeremy Maher SC. Mr Maher said Finn was taking the legal action due to the protracted labour and difficult birth which, it is claimed, were the cause of Finn’s autism. In addition to this he said that this was a test case as this issue had never been looked into by a court in Ireland, the UK “or anywhere”.

Taking the legal action through his mother Lisa Marie Murphy, Finn’s legal team told the court that he is on the autism spectrum due to problems which occurred during his birth at the hospital. The National Maternity Hospital did not accept these claims.

A ventouse delivery was use for Finn’s birth and it is claimed he was unnecessarily exposed to both asphyxia and trauma from the vacuum extraction. The Judge was told that this resulted in Finn being unnecessarily exposed to their possible long term effects. The injuries he experienced, it was claimed, incorporated developmental delay and autism. Court was told that there was an alleged failure to handle Finn’s mother’s labour appropriately and an alleged failure to use appropriate steps in the required time limits. Lastly there was a claim from his legal counsel that Finn experienced an excessive number of pulls and he had also been allegedly subjected to excessive tractions.

Finn’s mother Lisa Marie Murphy said: ” (her son) is a wonderful boy. He would have been a fantastic man if everything had gone according to plan. Now we can make strides to help him be the best man he can be,” she said. The settlement means as parents we don’t have to worry, Finn’s care is there. It means we can go privately for his care.”

Mediation talks had taken place last Monday and Justice Kevin Cross was informed that a settlement was being brought before the court for final approval. In approving this settlement, Justice Cross said he was satisfied to hear it had been come to and he gave his best wished to Finn and his family all the best for the future.

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High Court Approves €32m Medical Negligence Compensation Settlement to Boy (9)

A record €32 million medical negligence compensation has been awarded to a nine-year-old boy, Benjamin Gillick, who suffered permanent brain damage after medics made a delayed diagnosis of infection following surgery when he was a baby.

It is the largest settlement in a case of this kind to be approved by the Irish courts. However, Benjamin’s parents, Miriam and Andrew Gillick, told the court that they believed the money was not a sufficient amount. They said: “It leaves us with a shortfall that will be imposed on ourselves or our children, or possibly our grandchildren.”

It brings to more than €32m the total amount of the award after an interim settlement of €7.4m three years ago.

Presiding Judge Justice Kevin Cross stressed that only a fraction of the money, less than €500,000 was compensation for the catastrophic injuries caused to Benjamin and that the majority of the award is for the cost of Benjamin’s complex treatment, educational and accommodation needs for the remainder of his life.

In approving a final settlement offer of €25m, following a €7.4m interim award made three years ago, he said “When the headlines come to be written it should be noted that no one is getting a bonanza”.

Justice Cross said that Benjamin would only have received around €450,000 in relation to general damages for the injuries he had suffered. The remainder of the money to be paid by the Children’s University Hospital at Temple Street will cover the costs of his future treatment.

The judge said the reason the figure was so high in this case was because “thankfully he has a higher life expectancy and would have to be cared for long after his parents have departed”. The judge said it was very difficult to predict what will happen in 60 years’ time.

The boy’s father, Andrew Gillick, spoke in Court of his concern that the money was insufficient due to rates of return on investment in England, now reside. He went on to say that had the case been decided in England, Benjamin’s award would have been in the order of €45m due to the costs of carers, therapies, aids and appliances, transport and schooling.

Benjamin, who is one of identical twin boys, was born prematurely in Dublin and later underwent a procedure at 11 months at Temple Street Children’s Hospital to drain fluid on the brain. A shunt was inserted but he later returned to hospital vomiting and unwell.

The court heard that a shunt infection is a known complication of the procedure and the cause of the negligence was that for up to three days this possibility was not investigated. The court was told that Benjamin suffers with cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic, and cannot communicate verbally.

Benjamin, of Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod, Dublin, but now living in London, had sued The Children’s University Hospital, Temple St, Dublin, in relation to his treatment in April 2011.

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€268m Compensation Pay Outs for Medical Negligence State Claims Agency in last Two Years

The overall amount of compensation handed out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) for hospital and medical negligence claims amounts to more than half a billion euro from in the last two years.

A response to a Dáil question included previously unreleased figures. Minister for Health Simon Harris provided the figures which indicate that the amount of of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in 2018 was €268.45m for hospital and medical negligence cases – an increase of €18.6 million – or 7.5% – on the €249.77m paid out in 2017. This leaves the total amount of compensation for hospital and medical negligence handed over in 2017-18 to €518.2m.

The figures were released by the State Claims Agency (SCA) for a response to a Dáil Question from Michael McGrath T.D., Fianna Fáil’s Finance spokesman. It also said that the highest sum handed over in 2018 for was €15.5m to an individual suffering with cerebral palsy.

Injury compensation legal actions made in relation to birth/pregnancy negligence or cerebral palsy accounted for seven of the top ten hospital or medical negligence payouts in 2018. The figures indicate that, in the 7 cerebral palsy cases, a complete amount of €60.3m compensation was paid out in order to give adequate treatment for the people involved for the rest of their lives.

The other entries in the top ten were cases involving cluding a pay-out of €6.3 million for a clinical procedure at surgery and a separate payout of €5.9m under the same auspices.

The lowest amount handed over in the top ten was €4.37m relating to a clinical procedure in the Gynaecology service.

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Blood Transfusion Negligence Compensation of €1.26m Awarded at the High Court

At High Court today a man, who is living with an advanced liver disease, is to get compensation of more than €1.26 million due to contracting Hepatitis C from a contaminated blood transfusion administered to him when he was just a toddler.

The man, who was awarded a provisional compensation award of €647,000 from the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal when he was 20-years-old, appealed to the High Court in relation to an additional compensation figure of €200,000 that was awarded to him in 2018. The man is now over 40-years old and is married with young children.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton , in a judgment released earlier this week, increased the €200,000 award by threefold to a sum of €620,642 while also increasing the tribunal’s general compensation award from €150,000 up to €220,000. This was in relation to the effects of decompensated cirrhosis of the liver – advanced liver disease – inflicted by the Hepatitis C virus.

The man said that he believed the award did not take into account the vicious consequences decompensated cirrhosis has had on his life. Consequence that will continue to affect him for the remainder of his life including shortening it and the likelihood he will develop liver cancer at some point in the future. He was also was seeking compensation in relation to some childcare costs arising from his inability to assist with childcare. His wife has a full time role in a senior position, is not due to retire anytime soon, so they have had to hire a permanent childminder.

In his final judgment, the judge noted that the man contracted Hepatitis C due to a contaminated blood transfusion given to him as a young child in the 1980s when he was being treat in hospital in relation to a different medical condition which was successfully treated.

However, during his teenage years, the Hepatitis C illness began to impact on his life and restrict his health. At one point he had to decline a promotion to an important position and had to retire from gainful employment when he was just 20 years old.


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Wrongful Death Trauma Compensation of €28,000 Awarded to Dead Woman’s Niece

It has been decided that largest part of a €28,000 wrongful death compensation payment it to be made to a deceased 89-year-old woman’s niece.
The woman passed away in 2009 due to a bacterial infection in 2009.

Once €7,890 for funeral expenses are accounted for the niece is to receive the should get the rest of the compensation awarded according to the decision of Judge Justice Garrett Simons. A settlement offer of €28,000 was made, and accepted, in 2015. Subsequently the High Court was then asked to decide if the offer was fair. Sadly, the deceased woman’s sister – who was a dependent, died since the offer was made. Due to this, in August 2016, the court had to come to a decision as to whether the compensation settlement should paid in its entirety to the niece.

The niece originally submitted the wrongful death compensation claim against the nursing home where her aunt had been living before her death and the Dublin hospital where she was treated just before she died. The complete compensation sum being claimed was €33,290.

The Court was told that the woman died as a result of a bacterial infection which led to diarrhoea and colitis developing. The coroner noted the official cause of death as “health care-acquired” clostridium difficile infection.

Before her death, the woman was living in a care home up until a month before her death. In October 2009, she was unwell and was taken to the Dublin hospital for some medical attention. She was sent back to the care home in early November. However, she was readmitted to the hospital on November 23 just a few hours before she died.

Her niece file the compensation claim action due to severe mental distress she suffered as a result of her aunt’s passing. The defendants refuted the claims that were made.

Judge Simons said that he believed that the step to take in this instance would be to direct the full amount of compensation to be given to the niece as sole surviving statutory dependent. He told the court that he felt the €28,000 settlement to be fair.

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Birth Injury Causing Death Compensation Case results in €200k for Parents

St Lukes Hospital, Carlow/Kilkenny and the Health Service Executive have issues an official apology to the parents of a Ali Dowling Crowe, who passed away two weeks after her birth, due to the manner of her delivery at the hospital.

Legal representative for Ali’s parents,  Patrick Treacy SC, informed the court that she had sustained brain damage at the time of her delivery due to a ‘near total deprivation of oxygen’.

Sharon Dowling and Brian Crowe, Ali’s parents, were read a letter of apology to the High Court, from the HSe and the hospital which stated that both bodies “express an unreserved apology to you and your family for the failings in the care afforded to your child Baby Ali in the course of her birth at this hospital on January 17, 2015. We extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family arising from her subsequent death on February 1st, 2015.”

The Dowling, who live in Ballyraggert, Kilkenny had taken the legal action against alleging that Ali suffered brain damage during to her delivery on January 17 2015 as a result of an acute near total hypoxic ischemic insult during labour. Ali passed away on February 1.

It was claimed that Ali’s delivery was delayed by 20 or 35 minutes and that a subsequent failure to interpret a CTG suitably and take the appropriate step for remedial action occurred. The court was told that there an admission, in part, in the case in relation to the CTG trace.

Outside the court Ali’s parents said in a statement that they never thought that rather than celebrating the birth of their beautiful daughter, they would be attending her funeral. They said: “Instead of calling loved ones telling them our much anticipated and longed for first born had arrived, we had to impart the devastating news that our baby was dead. On that day our lives changed forever and will never be the same again. We are broken but we choose to live in hope and we will try to get on with our lives, knowing that Ali is in our hearts, our angel in heaven guiding and protecting her parents and two sisters.”

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon, in approving the settlement,  said she was pleased there has been an apology  and wished the family all the best for the future.


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Calls for Irish Government to Consider Swine Flu Vaccination Compensation Scheme

 Marc MacSharry and Clare Daly, two opposition TDs, have called on the Government to “do the right thing” and provide mediation or a redress scheme in relation the swine flu vaccine controversy where a number of those who received the vaccine suffered from serious side effects.

Mr MacSharry, a Sligo-based TD commented that the State’s dealings on this issue so far have been unacceptable and added that “the State Claims Agency (SCA) has spent over €2m rigorously defending discovery (of documents) in these cases alone”.

The Government’s inability to react to the controversy has been labelled as “extraordinary” following the release of significant international studies, including an Irish submission, which showed potential connections between Pandemrix and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

The Government fully indemnified and approved the drug in 2009 to swiftly move it into service, the same as in many other European countries. The drug manufacturers GSK made this a precondition of producing it. The ramifications of this for the Irish taxpayer are that the State then became liable for any of the possible side effects from Pandemrix. So far the State has fully contested all compensation claims submitted in relation to the drug.

The High Court is currently hearing a major test case that could lead to another 100 further cases.

Mr McSharry TD has urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris to quickly bring in a round of mediation talks to those who experienced the side effects of the drug.

Along with these calls the campaign organisation Sound (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder) said it is important that effective supports are provided to children and young adults dealing with narcolepsy due to the side effects of the drug.

Co-founder of Sound Tom Matthews said “Sound has always stated that it is not anti-vaccine, and that the Pandemrix scandal was a result of the State rushing to get whatever vaccine it could and that it was acting with the best intentions. We believe it is way past time for the State to finally step up on this issue and to fulfil the duty of care it is morally bound to provide to these children and young adults.”

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Boy Receives Compensation for Birth Injury Claim

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.

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Woman Awarded €5 Million Compensation in Medical Misdiagnosis Case

A woman who was left disabled for life as a result of a medical misdiagnosis has been awarded €5 million in compensation for her injuries.

Bernadette Surlis (60 years of age) made a misdiagnosis negligence claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the treatment she received at Sligo General Hospital in 2013. The claim was recently settled for a settlement of compensation of €5 million.

In November 2013, Ms Surlis attended Sligo General Hospital suffering from a headache and vomiting fits. Although staff at the facility diagnosed her with a dilated left pupil on her eye, she was designated as “category three” in triage and left to wait for treatment for another three hours.

When medical staff finally saw her, they inspected her for evidence of glaucoma. Finding none, they discharged her. However, she returned the following day when the severity of her condition was “appreciated for the first time”.

Ms Surlis, who lives at Drinaum, Strokestown in Co Roscommon was transferred to Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital on November 5 as she suffered a hemorrhage and severe/permanent injury. She now needs permanent care, and in unable to live independently. Senior Counsel, Mr Cush, said the opinion of experts was that her condition will only slightly improve over the course of her life. She is aware of the severity of her condition, and the implications that it will have on her quality of life. Ms Surlis has difficulty communicating but can do so with the assistance of her family members. Ms Surlis has three grown children and four sisters living nearby her, who shall all aid in caring for her.

In relation to the claim, Mr Cush stated that had Ms Surlis been properly and quickly diagnosed and treated in November 2013, she would not have suffered the injuries. He advised the court that liability was accepted by the HSE. Expert medical consultants stated that if she had been sent to Beaumont when she first attended the hospital in Sligo, it is likely that she could have been treated properly and made a full recovery.

Bernadette Surlis is now restricted to a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home. Mr Justice Kevin Cross was advised that the misdiagnosis negligence settlement means she may realise her wish to return home in the future.

Judge Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the medical negligence settlement was a “reasonable and very good one” and that he hopes it will lead to Ms Surlis returning to live at home.

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Young Boy Receives Brain Damage Compensation

A young boy has received compensation for brain damage he sustained before he was born after his mother was involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.

In February 2009, while Roisin Hammel was on her way to have her final pregnancy scan before her son, Cian, was born, she was involved in a motor incident which saw her thrown from the seven-seater vehicle in which she had been travelling. The driver of the car was uninsured. The incident occurred near Manhanagh, Co. Wexford.

As a result of the accident, Cian Hammel had to be delivered by emergency Caesarean section in hospital. Due to his mother’s accident shortly before he was born, Cian was born with severe brain damage. The boy now has troubles walking and is unsteady on his feet and also has difficulties with language.

As Cian’s mother was a minor at the time of the accident (she was 17 years of age), Cian sought the Baby Injury Compensation action through his grandmother Ann, Cian Hammel of Ford Court, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford. He sued the driver of the car, Simon Jordan, of Monaseed, High Fort, Gorey, Co Wexford.

The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which handles compensation claims for victims of uninsured driving, was also sued as a result of the accident.
The court was told that the car which was driven by Mr Jordan allegedly went out of control and flipped over, causing Cian’s mother, who was in a rear seat, to be flung from the vehicle. Senior Counsel Rosario Boyle told the court that Roisin, who was studying for her Leaving Cert, had accepted a lift from Simon Jordan to attend her final scan.

Additionally, it was alleged that Mr Jordan had overtaken another vehicle, despite it not being safe to do so. Forensic examination further revealed that he was driving at an excessive speed given the weather conditions. These claims were denied by the defendant.

Ms Boyle said Ms Hammel was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. However, the MIBI later acknowledged that, had she been wearing a seat belt, the consequences for Cian would not have been better.

She said Ms Hammel’s waters broke and, due to this, she had to have an emergency caesarean section in hospital due to foetal distress. Ms Hammel, counsel said, was told to prepare for the worst and when Cian was delivered. He had to be resuscitated and there was multi-organ failure shortly after he was delivered.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the baby injury compensation settlement of €7.5 million. The judge stated that he hoped it will provide for Cian’s needs for the future, and wished the family well.

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Increase of 20% Seen in Value of Compensation Claims Made Against State

Last year has prove another busy and expensive year for the State in relation to personal injury claims, as the overall amount of money paid out in compensation claims against the State rose to €2.2 billion. This represents an increase of nearly 20% in comparison to 2015.

The figures were revealed in a report released by the State Claims Agency at the end of September this year. It provides even more evidence that the cost of the compensation claims taken against the State has continued to increase.

By the end of last year the approximate cost of outstanding compensation actions against the State had grown by €400m to €2.2 billion, an increase of 22 per cent, during the 12 months of 2016.

Notable Figures from SCA’s Report
• 8,900 legal compensation actions were classified as pending against the State at the end of 2016. This figure was just 6,000 in 2011.
• A 24% increase, from the 2015 figures, in legal actions was experienced.
• There were approximately 2,300 legal actions against the State during 2016.

Alongside the above, there were several other reasons for the increase. These include a recent Supreme Court ruling, which stated that compensation sums paid to anyone who successfully sues for damages should be higher as the returns on the cash they are due to receive have fallen. This resulted in increased amounts awarded in compensation.

The State Claims Agency is the body is responsible for managing legal cases brought against the State. The State Claims Agency, established in 2001 handles personal injury, clinical negligence and property damage claims taken against State bodies. It is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

The NTMA is responsible for the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) and New Era, which oversees commercial State companies.

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Medical Negligence Solicitor Urges for Medical Reform

A prominent medical solicitor has urged for medical reform while speaking at a medical negligence conference in September.

The joint Managing partner at Callan Tansey Solicitors, Roger Murray, was speaking at a medical negligence conference when he announced some shocking statistics related the medical negligence failures in Ireland. Mr Murray, legal expert, announced that around 1,000 unnecessary deaths happen annually every year due to medical negligence.

As a solicitor who has been involved in many medical negligence compensation cases, Mr Murray said that though injured patients and families do have empathy for medical professionals who make mistakes “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.

Mr Murray called for thorough investigations into the practice of the healthcare professionals when mistakes do happen. He referred to many inquest situations where families learned that desktop reviews had been completed following a death. However, results were not sent to appropriate staff, leaving the family in limbo. He called this a “vital learning opportunity that had been missed”.

Mr Murray said 160,000 hospital visitors experience injuries due to human mistakes and errors. He said that believes that there is “no compo culture” to be witnessed when it comes to medical negligence compensation actions in Ireland. He went on to claim that what we are seeing in the legal system is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.

During his speech, he went on to say that the most commonly experienced incidents relate to surgery (36 per cent) medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent) and gynaecology (7.5 per cent). He added that he feels that not all those injured in medical incidents report it. The HSE is notified of 34,170 “clinical incidents” annually and, of these 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate of less than 1.7 per cent.

Mr Tansey was speaking at the Pathways to Progress conference on medical negligence, which was attended by solicitors, medical professionals and patients. The conference was held in early September.

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Woman Sues Mater Hospital in Hospital Fall Claim

A woman has made a claim against the Mater Hospital in a hospital fall claim following an incident in which she fractured her spine.

In April 2015, the woman-who has remained anonymous-attended the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin for a routine gastroscopy. The procedure was deemed a success, and she was taken to her ward to recuperate from the procedure. She was due to leave the hospital later that day. Nurses initially tended to her as she started to come out of the general anaesthetic. However, while she was still recovering from the anaesthetic’s effects, her nurses left, and she was left alone on the recovery unit. Still disoriented from the procedure, the woman attempted to get out of bed. Doing so, she fell, fracturing her spine due to the harsh impact on the floor.

Due to the severity of her injuries, the woman spent a further month at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. Eventually, she was transferred to the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital in Clontarf to receive specialist treatment for her fractured spine. She remained at the Clontarf hospital for a further three months undergoing physiotherapy before being removed by her daughter to be cared for at home.

The woman, who prior to her fall had lived an independent life, now requires full-time care. Her daughter is now responsible for assisting her in simple daily tasks. The woman has to wear a lumbar brace at all times and uses a Zimmer frame for walking. Due to the circumstances surrounding her injury, the woman sought legal counsel. She then made a hospital fall injury claim against the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, alleging that the hospital had failed to adhere to its own falls prevention policy.

The hospital denied liability for her injuries, so the case was brought to the Circuit Civil Court. It was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe. The judge was informed that the due to injury in the hospital fall the woman was “no longer the woman she previously was”. He was also told that the woman had required hospital treatment previously following a fall at her home in November 2014, and the hospital should have reasonably been aware of this and monitored her closely.

Judge O´Donohoe heard evidence from the recovery unit´s Head of Nursing, but said “what speaks volumes to this court is that the ward nurse who attended the plaintiff was not called to give evidence.” The judge also accepted the evident of an expert witness who testified the Mater Hospital had failed to comply with its standard falls prevention policy.

After considering all of the evidence at hand, the judge found in favour of the injured woman. Judge O´Donohoe said the gastroscopy had a good outcome but tragically things changed for the worse. Initially awarding the woman €58,500 in settlement of her hospital fall injury claim, the judge granted a stay pending a possible appeal on the proviso a partial settlement of €30,000 was paid immediately.

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State Claims Agency Report Reveals Clinical Negligence Data

The State Claims Agency has published a report revealing the most common clinical incidents in Ireland and the cost of settling clinical negligence claims.

The report-entitled “National Clinical Incidents, Claims and Costs”-reveals the most common clinical incidents in Ireland and the case of settling clinical negligence claims in the period between 2010 and 2014. Its lead author Dr Dubhfeasa Slattery states that its purpose is to help improve patient safety by analysing national data on clinical incidents in Ireland. The hope is that by studying the results, a “learning health system” can be developed that provides safer care.

The report reveals that more than 206,000 clinical incidents in Ireland were reported to the State Claims Agency over the five year period. Not all of these reports were attributable to medical negligence, and therefore not all resulting in clinical negligence claims. The incidents were divided into five major categories – Medicine, Surgery, Maternity Services, Disability Services and Care of the Elderly.

In the Medicine category-which had the most clinical incidents reported-the prevailing adverse outcomes of negligence were attributable to a delay or failure to diagnose and treat. This most often occurred in a high-stress setting, such as the emergency room. Other common claims were made due to the incorrect medicine or dosage of medicine being prescribed or administered, and serious soft tissue damage – typically caused by bed sores due to a lack of nursing care.

The delay or failure to treat was again the leading cause of adverse outcomes. in the surgical category, too. However, in both in the Surgery category and the Maternity Services category the high percentage of adverse outcomes attributable to faulty equipment and missing or misplaced clinical records was alarmingly large.

The leading clinical incidents in Ireland in the Maternity Services category were post-partum haemorrhages and perineal tears. Issues with medication (such as incorrect dosage or errors in prescriptions) and serious soft tissue damage dominated the clinical incidents in the Disability Services and Care of the Elderly categories. A further 66,000 medical incidents were reported to the State Claims Agency during the period being investigated that were not regarded to be of a clinical nature.

It is difficult to obtain a clear grasp on the number of clinical negligence claims made during the period and the cost of settling them, as the figures quoted in the report (2,873 claims and €288 million in settlement costs) are misleading. They included claims made during the period not settled during the period, and pre-2010 claims settled between 2010 and 2014. They were also inflated during 2012 by DePuy hip replacement claims, the Lourdes Redress scheme, and by the volume of claims made for unnecessary symphysiotomy procedures.

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4,100 Victims of Foetal Valproate Syndrome Linked to Epilim in France

Claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant have been made in France on behalf of up to 4,100 children with foetal valproate syndrome.

Epilim is the Irish trade name of the French anti-epilepsy drug Depakine which is widely used to treat epilepsy. It uses the active ingredient sodium valproate to control electrical activity in the brain, and is also effective in treating bipolar disorder, migraines, and chronic pain. It was first introduced in France in 1967,  and in the first concerns regarding birth defects in babies were made my medical professionals in France in the 1980s, it was introduced in Ireland under the name Epilim in 1983.

In the 1980s,  claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant were being investigated in France. It was alleged that the sodium valproate entered the bloodstream as valproic acid, which caused foetal congenital and development issues. However, the evidence of birth defects due to taking Epilim was considered inconclusive, and the drug continued to be prescribed to pregnant mothers. It has been alleged that these claims were covered up to prevent any “unnecessary anxiety”.

It was only in 2006 that the French manufacturers of the drug – Sanofi – told leading medical professionals that they had evidence that sodium valproate may have adverse effects. They advised the medical profession to warn pregnant mothers of the potential risks of taking the drug.

Research conducted several years later by France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – found the majority of doctors and pharmacists were unaware of the risks associated with Epilim, and many pregnant mothers were still receiving the drug. The research prompted the inspectorate to conduct a small scale study in the Rhone-Alpes region last year, where a much higher than expected rate of birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant was discovered.

France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) looked deeper into the issue and researched the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken Epilim during their pregnancies. ANSM identified up to 4,100 children suffering from foetal valproate syndrome. Furthermore, they discovered hundreds of Epilim-related stillbirth and cases of miscarriages.

ANSM´s study has resulted in the families of those affected by the adverse effects of sodium valproate to seek legal counsel. They formed a class action in order to jointly make claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim. The families claim that Sanofi did not do enough to adequately inform the medical profession of the risks associate with the drug. It also claims the drug manufacturer failed to put adequate warning on its packaging.

In light of the French legal case, the Disability Federation in Ireland has called on the government to conduct an audit of children diagnose with foetal valproate syndrome. The organisation claims the scale of the problem in Ireland should be identified in order that adequate support measures are provided for families. Epilim’s label still does not carry a warning to pregnant mothers in Ireland. If a member of your family has been affected by foetal valproate syndrome, and you would like to know more about claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant, you should speak with a solicitor.

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Family Awarded Compensation for Son Disabled Due to Birth Negligence

A family has been awarded compensation for birth negligence by hospital staff which left their son severely disabled, after a nine-year-long battle with the HSE.

In May 2006, a baby boy was born Kerry General Hospital via emergency Caesarean Section. Due to the negligence of the staff at the facility, several errors were made during his birth. The baby’s birth was delayed by two hours for no justifiable reason, and the consultant obstetrician was not made aware of an abnormal foetal heartbeat. Staff further failed to identify the possibility of foetal hypoxia. No action was taken on a CTG trace indicating foetal distress, despite the potential for serious adverse effects.

Due to the avoidable delay in his birth, the boy suffered from oxygen deprivation in the womb. This resulted in life-altering brain damage. He later underwent assessment for disabilities, and was diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy. He has always depended on full-time care from his parents. He is unable to speak and is confined to a wheelchair. He will continue to need this level of care attention for the rest of his life. Despite the clear negligence of the staff and their obvious series of errors, the HSE failed to admit liability for nine years. During this time the boy´s family had to care for him on their own, out of their own pocket, without the support they were entitled to by the state.

After being threatened with aggravated damages by the family’s legal team, the HSE finally admitted liability for the birth negligence claim early last year. An interim settlement of €2.7 million compensation for brain damage at birth was awarded after being rushed through the court system for approval. Earlier this month, the family was back in court for the approval of a final lump sum settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth. The final sum was negotiated, and now amounts to €15 million. As the compensation was for a minor, the amount had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in the boy’s best interests. The sum of compensation was described as “commercial common and legal sense” by presiding judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

Judge Kelly paid tribute to the boy´s parents for the care of their son, and added while no money would compensate the boy and his family, it was the only form of redress the law could provide. He approved the settlement of compensation for the boy. He hoped it would give peace of mind that there is a fund to care for the boy´s needs into the future. As the boy is a ward of court, the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth will be paid into court funds and managed by court authorities.

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Judge Approves Compensation in Birth Negligence Claim

A judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a young boy who suffers from cerebral palsy due to negligence surrounding his birth.

A baby boy (now six-year-of-age) was delivered at the Sligo General Hospital in May 2010. A CTG trace had been taken at 5:30pm, and it is alleged that it indicated the boy was suffering from foetal distress syndrome. However, no emergency Caesarean section was arranged and his delivery was delayed by two hours.

The delay meant that the boy suffered from a lack of oxygen in the womb, and suffered from brain damage. He underwent medical assessment for disabilities, and he was diagnosed with suffering from cerebral palsy. The boy, originally from Ballagharderreen, Co. Roscommon, his family have since moved to Canada.

Acting on her son’s behalf, his mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Sligo General Hospital and the Health Service Executives (HSE). The HSE quickly admitted liability and initiated negotiations concerning a settlement of compensation. They also offered a formal apology to the boy and his family for their failings, explaining why there was a delay in delivery.

The negotiations resulted in a €704,000 interim settlement of compensation, which should provide for the child’s care over the next five years. The case then proceeded to the High Court of Dublin such that the settlement could be assessed by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross heard the circumstances of the birth and the reasons behind the delayed delivery. He further heard that the young boy was a “bright and sociable” child. Whilst praising the boy’s family for the care they provided him over the past six years, he also commended the HSE’s cooperation and provision of an explanation. Judge Cross proceeded to approve the settlement. The case was adjourned the case for five years for the next settlement to be assessed.

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High Court Awards Interim Settlement of Compensation for Birth Negligence

The High Court has awarded an interim settlement of compensation for birth negligence to the family of a young boy who was born severely disabled due to a delay in his mother having a Caesarean section.

The claim for medical negligence compensation was made by a mother on behalf of her disabled child from Bantry, Co. Cork. Born in March 2010 at the Cork University Maternity Hospital, the boy sustained severe birth injuries after an alleged failure to correctly interpret the results of a CTG scan.

The scan showed that the boy was suffering from foetal distress syndrome, but these results were not correctly processed by medical professionals at the facility. As the staff did not believe the foetus was in danger, there was a delay in performing a Caesarean section. Consequently, the boy suffered from a lack of oxygen in the womb. He contracted hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in utero, and was subsequently born with severe brain damage.

The boy, now six years old, is blind and unable to speak. He also suffers from daily seizures. His parents and extended family provide constant care for him, and he receives additional support from the Jack and Jill Foundation.

After seeking legal counsel, and acting on her son’s behalf, the boy’s mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). Though the HSE denied the allegations of negligence, saying that their medical staff had done the best that they could in the circumstances of his birth, they agreed to pay an interim settlement of compensation of €1.35 million without admitting liability. The settlement allows for an assessment of the boy’s condition and future care needs.

As the claim was made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be approved in court before it could be awarded to ensure that it was in his best interests. The case was heard at the High Court in Dublin byMr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge was told of how hard it was for the boy’s family to get compensation for the delayed Caesarean section, and of their relief that the process was over. He further heard in the entire family’s dedication in providing the boy with his constant daily needs. Wishing the family the best for the future, Judge Cross approved the settlement and adjourned the case for three years for future assessments of compensation to be made.

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Mother Receives Compensation for  Vasa Praevia Birth Complications

The mother of twin boys has made a claim for medical negligence on behalf of one of her sons, who was left disabled due to failure to diagnose complications due to vasa praevia complications surrounding their birth.

In October 2010, twin boys were delivered at Cork’s University Maternity Hospital  by an emergency Caesarean Section. However, one of boys was declared healthy, his brother suffered foetal distress in utero and as such was very weak after he was born. The baby required extensive antenatal care. After undergoing further medical assessment, he was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. The birth complications were due to vasa praevia, which is a condition in which the foetal blood vessels are near the internal uterine opening. This puts them at risk of rupturing during labour, thus causing harm to the baby.

After seeking legal counsel, the twins’ mother, acting on behalf of her second child, made a claim for medical negligence compensation for the failure to diagnose vasa praevia complications during her pregnancy. The woman, who has remained anonymous but is known to live in Midelton, Co. Cork, alleges that earlier scans revealed that one of the placentas was low-lying, one of the critical indicators of vasa praevia. However, this information was never acted upon by medical professionals.

The defendants-the Health Service Executives (HSE) and Cork University Maternity Hospital – denied that they were liable for the birth injury. They claimed that it was not standard practice to conduct further scans or tests to eliminate the risk of vasa praevia complications, and thus their staff were not negligent. Despite this, both parties agree to pay an interim sum of compensation without admitting guilt on their part.

As the claim was made on behalf of a minor it had to be approved by a High Court judge before any settlement could be awarded to ensure it was in the child’s best interests.The approval hearing was held earlier this week at the High Court of Dublin.The judge was told about the circumstances of the pregnancy and birth by the plaintiff, and what medical staff could have been done to prevent the boy’s injuries.

The court was also informed of the young boy’s progress in spite of his difficult condition. In 2014, he received a National Children of Courage Award. His friends and family had also raised funds for him to fly to the United States for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, which allowed him to walk for the first time. However, he still requires therapy for speech and language acquisition.

The interim settlement was approved by the High Court. The case was then adjourned for five years, after which an additional assessment will be conducted.

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HSE Offers Compensation to Bereaved Parents Without Admitting Liability

A settlement of compensation has been offered to bereaved parents by the HSE for the death of their newborn daughter, without offering an admission of liability.

A baby girl was born on the 15th July 2010 at the Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital. She was her parents’ fourth child, but their joy was tragically short-lived. Just six hours later, their baby had died due to severe blood loss.

The couple–who have wished to remain anonymous-were originally from Ballyneety in Co. Limerick. They claim that their baby had been born fit and healthy, but had died as a direct consequence of medical negligence and mismanagement of the situation. They state that, if their baby’s rapid blood loss had been noticed in time by hospital staff, their baby would have had much better chances of survival. The blood loss was later deemed to be due to the cutting of the umbilical cord.

The couple consulted a medical negligence solicitor and subsequently made a claim for compensation against the Health Service Executives (HSE). In the claim, they allege that the manner in which their daughter’s umbilical cord was cut was unsafe. They claim that when she was raised above the placenta so that the baby could be untangled from the afterbirth, the staff did not adequately clamp the cord. This lead to an extreme and rapid loss of blood.

The Health Service Executive, however, presented an alternate version of events and denied that they were liable for the newborn’s death. However, without admitting liability, an offer of €98,000 in compensation was made to the couple. The HSE said that this was to compensate for the extreme shock and trauma they suffered after losing their baby.

Before the settlement could be awarded it first had to be approved by a judge. The case was by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the Dublin High Court.  The judge heard the disputed evidence that the HSE was responsible for the baby’s death due to mismanagement of her birth. He was told that, after she had been raised and the cord cut, she became listless and floppy, dying just six hours later. 

After representatives from the HSE read a statement of regret, Judge Cross approved the compensation settlement. He proceeded to add his offer his sympathies to the bereaved couple.

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Hospital Trolley Accident Case Settled in Out-of-Court Agreement

A case in which a man fell off a hospital trolley while he was asleep was won compensation from the HSE after the case was settled in an out-of-court agreement.

In September 2015 when Anthony Whelan, a sixty-four year-old caretaker from Tallaght, attended the nearby Adelaide and Meath Hospital to seek medical assistance for post-operative pain. The hospital admitted Anthony overnight under observation, and a second operation was scheduled for the following morning to investigate the pain.

Anthony was taken to an overnight ward in a hospital trolley.The medical staff quickly realised that there was no bed available to him. As such, he was brought to a corridor near a nursing station, with screens around him to afford him the privacy to sleep.

Whilst he was sleeping, Anthony rolled off of the trolley and landed hard on the bases of the screens that surrounded him. An x-ray was immediately taken to investigate if he sustained any damage. It showed that there was no apparent damage to his chest or back, but the staff still administered a dose of painkillers before moving Anthony to a private room.

The next morning, Anthony was operated upon as planned. Once he recovered, he sought the advice of a solicitor and proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation. He alleged that, whilst he was staying at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, he did not receive an adequate level of care. He claimed that the trolley was not adequate for him to sleep on, and thus the hospital was liable for his accident.

Despite acknowledging the accident, the hospital disputed the amount of compensation Anthony was claiming, as they claimed x-rays showed that he had not been seriously injured. As such, the case was scheduled for an assessment of damages at the Circuit Civil Court. There, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was informed that the parties had settled upon a compensation settlement, as well as the payment of costs. The judge was also informed that District Court was now responsible for the case.

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New Legislation to be Made to Deal with Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland

Health Minister Simon Harris has announced the foundation of a new office which will create legislation to change the way medical negligence claims are made in Ireland.

The Health Minister´s intentions to establish a new National Patient Safety Office were announced at the State Claims Agency´s first annual “Quality, Patient Safety & Clinical Risk Conference” at Dublin Castle on Monday.  The minister hopes that this will help with current legislation, and will advance further to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy.

At the conference, Mr Harris said that the new office would “lead a program of significant patient safety measures”. He stated that the hoped the office would review how adverse medical events are disclosed to patients and their families and the process for claiming medical negligence compensation in Ireland.

The National Patient Safety Office will be led by a team of experts, and would report directly to the Department of Justice and Equality. Mr Harris outlined the roles of the new office, which include: setting up a national patient advocacy service, introducing a patient safety surveillance system, and establishing a national advisory council for patient safety. These will streamline the procedure for making medical negligence claims in Ireland.

The National Patient Safety Office will also be responsible for accelerating the progress of the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill. However, until the EU has finished its own work on its review of European-wide data protection standards, enactment of the bill may not be possible.

The conflict between the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill and the EU review is due to the bill containing measures to protect patients´ private healthcare information while simultaneously aiming to create a national network of healthcare data. This databank of health information will be used by experts to improve the provision and management of healthcare services throughout Ireland.

The Health Minister also stated that he intends to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy. Prominent legal figures and patient safety experts have lobbied the government for many years for a legal duty of candour to be introduced to improve the manner in which legal proceedings are processed in Ireland.

Some have claimed that the HSE´s 2013 national guidelines for open disclosure have been largely unacknowledged, as there still exist many hospitals who have not adopted the policies. They further claim that former Health Minister Leo Varadkar missed an opportunity to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy in the Civil Liberty (Amendment) Bill 2015.

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Child Left Permanently Disabled Due to Medical Negligence

A child has been awarded €2.6 million as an interim settlement of compensation for injuries he sustained due to medical negligence while attending his local hospital. He was left with lifelong disabilities due to the negligence.

In August 2012, Eoghan Dunne-who was eleven months old at the time of the incident-was admitted to the Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe. Eoghan-originally from Co. Offaly-was suffering from severe respiratory distress and an elevated heart rate. He was kept under observation of medical staff, and within twelve hours his condition had become so severe that it was deemed necessary for him to be transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin.

At the Dublin hospital, Eoghan went into septic shock and suffered from a heart attack. His brain was starved of oxygen, and as a consequence he sustained severe brain damage. After further medical investigation, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Furthermore, he was left with severe visual impairments and an inability to walk or talk. Eoghan remained in hospital in hospital for nearly half a year after the heart attack. Upon returning home, he became entirely reliant on his parents and requires twenty-four hour care. He will need this level of attention for the rest of his life.

An investigation was launched into the nature of Eoghan’s injuries. The report produced showed that he had received substandard care whilst at the Portincula Hospital. The review alleges that the facility was not prepared for cases such as Eoghan’s, and that they failed to give him antibiotics, as is normally required according to the HSE’s policies regarding sepsis. Additionally, the transfer to Temple Street was unnecessarily delayed because of a lack of “competent staff” at the facility.

Ronan and Teresa, Eoghan’s parents, sought legal counsel in the hopes of claiming compensation for their son. They decided to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the HSE and the Portiuncula Hospital, alleging that their son would not have sustained as severe injuries had the hospital acted appropriately. However, the HSE denied that they were liable and a court hearing was scheduled.

Shortly before the case was due to be heard in court, the HSE decided to concede liability for the claim and offered an interim settlement of compensation such that an adequate assessment of Eoghan’s needs could be made. Before this could be awarded, it was subject to approval by the High Court of Dublin as the claim was made on behalf of a minor.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw the approval hearing. The circumstances of Eoghan’s case were presented to him, as was the extent of care that Eoghan needed form his parents. The judge readily approved the settlement. He added that, had the HSE conceded liability earlier, Eoghan could have afforded treatment at a more critical stage. The interim settlement amounts to €2.4 million, and assessments are currently underway to finalise the next settlement.

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Mismanaged Birth Injury Case Adjourned by High Court

A case of injures due to mismanaged birth has been adjourned by the High Court due to the full extent of the injuries sustained by the child not being known.

In 2013, Catriona Enright was admitted to the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick when she was thirty-seven weeks pregnant with her son, Charlie. After an initial medical examination, Catriona was put into an induced labour, for which the doctors administered Syntocinon. Even though the drug has well documented side effects and potential risks to the foetus, the medical staff still failed to adequately monitor Charlie’s condition in utero. Due to the drug, Charlie suffered from hyper-stimulation in the womb.

The morning following her admittance to hospital, Catriona delivered Charlie. He was born unable to breathe without assistance, a condition often described as “flat” in newborn children. This was due to doctors’ misinterpretation of a cardiotocograpphy trace and delayed diagnosis of foetal distress. Due to his condition, Charlie was then transferred to Cork University Hospital for further care. He was later diagnosed with an intra-cranial haemorrhage. He then underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment.

Despite the treatment, Charlie sustained permanent brain damage due to the mismanagement of his birth. Acting on behalf of her son, Catriona made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executives for the lack of care she received before her son’s delivery. The HSE conducted an investigation and subsequently admitted their liability for Charlie’s injuries.

The two legal teams began negotiations to find a suitable sum of compensation for his injuries. These negotiations were complicated by the fact that the future and full extent of Charlie’s condition is not yet known. As such, a €1.75 million interim settlement was negotiated such that Charlie could be provided for for the next two years whilst an assessment was undertaken.

The case then proceeded to the High Court of Dublin such that the settlement could be approved, as it was made on behalf of a child. Mr Justice Anthony Barr heard the case and approved the settlement and adjourned the case for two years. He further wished the family well.

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Government to Pay Compensation to Woman Forced to go to the UK for Abortion

Woman who was forced to go to the UK for a termination will be paid compensation by the Irish Government after the UN Human Rights Committee found in her favour, deeming her treatment under the law “inhumane”.

Under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Article 40.3.3º), the right to life of an unborn child is protected unless there is a risk to the health of the mother. Consequently women seeking abortions when there is no risk to their health have to travel outside of Ireland–often to the UK. Pregnant women have to travel even if their unborn child is diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality or the pregnancy is attributable to the mother being raped.

It is estimated that hundreds of women travel outside of Ireland each year seeking abortions. One such woman was Amanda Mellet, who. In November 2011, when she was just 21 weeks pregnant, she was given the devastating news that her unborn child would die in the womb or shortly after its birth due to a fatal foetal anomaly. Rather than continue with the non-viable pregnancy, Amanda chose to have an abortion in the UK. Amanda also claims that there was a serious lack of information offered to her in Ireland regarding fatal foetal anomaly terminations.

Amanda´s experience of her abortion was traumatic. Due to limited funds, she had to travel to the UK alone without emotional support and return to Ireland just twelve hours after undergoing the procedure. The hospital at which she underwent the procedure offered no options about the handling of her unborn child´s remains and, three weeks later, the foetus´ ashes were unexpectedly delivered to Amanda by courier.

Amanda found that there was no bereavement counselling due to abortions available in Ireland on her return. In order to help women who underwent experiences similar to her own, she founded the organization “Termination for Medical Reasons”. The organisation wishes to campaign for a change to the law in Ireland. Amanda also sought legal counsel and complained to the United Nations´ Human Rights Committee through the Centre for Reproductive Rights. She claimed that Ireland was violating women´s human rights by maintaining its position on abortion.

The Human Rights Committee found in Amanda´s favour – saying that Article 40.3.3º jeopardised Amanda´s well-being and subjected her to unnecessary financial and emotional suffering. Ruling that Ireland should revise its Constitution in order to provide “effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination”, the committee also ordered the Government to pay Amanda compensation for “inhuman” abortion laws in Ireland.

Leah Hoctor – the European Regional Director for the Centre for Reproductive Rights – issued a statement after the ruling was announced, in which she said: “The Irish Government must now comply with this ruling, redress the harm Ms Mellet suffered and reform its laws to ensure other women do not continue to face similar violations.”

Amanda also issued a statement following the ruling. She expressed her gratitude to the Human Rights Committee for its recognition that her human rights were violated as a result of the prohibition and criminalisation of abortion in Ireland. In respect of the Committee´s order for the state to pay compensation for inhuman abortion laws in Ireland, Amanda said:

“The decision not only vindicates my rights. It also serves to uphold the rights of many other women in Ireland who have faced and continue to face human rights violations under the current legal regime. The Human Rights Committee has made it clear that to redress the violations that I suffered, the Irish Government must ensure that other women do not live through similar violations of their rights. This cannot happen until Article 40.3.3 is repealed, until abortion is decriminalised and legislation is adopted to enable women to access services in Ireland.

With today’s decision in hand, I wish to finally leave behind these painful memories; and hearing the Committee’ findings today does help in my own healing, but my most sincere hope is that it may assist Ireland’s government in finding the courage to make the necessary changes in law. I hope the day will soon come when women in Ireland will be able to access the health services they need in our own country, where we can be with our loved ones, with our own medical team, and where we have our own familiar bed to go home and cry in. Subjecting women to so much additional pain and trauma simply must not continue.

Finally, I ask that the media respect my wish for privacy for myself and my husband James, who has supported me every step of the way”.

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Compensation Awarded in Avoidable Birth Delay Case

Compensation has been awarded to a young woman who now suffers from cerebral palsy due to a delay in her birth which was entirely avoidable.

Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital on 11th October 1999 via Caesarean section. The emergency operation was required after a heart trace showed that she was becoming distressed in the womb. Due to there being no consultant available to assist with the birth, Mary´s delivery was delayed by eighty minutes. By the time she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, Mary had sustained brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. She now suffers from cerebral palsy, and requires a wheelchair for mobility.

Mary´s mother – Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo – claimed a delayed delivery compensation settlement from the Health Service Executive. The claim alleged that her injuries were avoidable, and that the Mayo General Hospital was negligent and liable for her daughter’s injuries. She stated that they failed to ensure that a paediatrician was present after a deceleration of the foetal heart rate had been identified.This mismanagement of her daughter’s birth had led to the failure to deliver Mary in a timely manner. The defendants admitted liability for the injuries.

In March 2014, an interim delayed delivery compensation settlement of €1.5 million was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. The case was then adjourned for two years to allow for the introduction of a structured settlement system. As no system for the phased payment of compensation to catastrophically injured claimants has yet been introduced, Mary and her family returned to the High Court to hear the approval of a final delayed delivery compensation settlement.

This time, the case was heard at the High Court by Mr Justice Peter Kelley. Representatives of the Mayo General Hospital read a statement to Mary, in which they apologised for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. The representatives further told Judge Kelley that a final delayed delivery compensation settlement of €5.56 million had been agreed with the family. The judge approved the settlement on Mary’s behalf.

After hearing from Mary that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”, the judge approved the final delayed delivery compensation settlement. Judge Kelly also described Mary as “heroic” for the challenges she has overcome so far in her life and commended her for her ambition to become an advocate for people with disabilities.

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Lump Sum Awarded to Girl Suffering from Cerebral Palsy Due to Medical Negligence 

A girl who suffers from quadriparetic cerebral palsy due to a doctor’s medical negligence-his failure to refer her mother to a specialist when needed-has been awarded a lump sum of compensation.

In October 2004, Catherine Sheehan was pregnant with her daughter and visited her doctor to have a pre-birth blood test. The test results showed that Catherine’s blood antibody levels had undergone an “alarming increase”. In spite of these worrying results, Dr David Corr – her obstetrician – did not refer her to a specialist to seek further treatment. One month later, in November, her daughter Isabelle was born at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork. It was clear at the time of her birth that she was unhealthy, and further medical investigation diagnosed her with sever spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy.

Isabelle-now eleven years old-attends a Gaelscoil near Mallow, Co. Cork, where she lives. She was described as “bright and intelligent” in court, in spite of having difficulties communicating with others. A machine was specially made to help her to walk. She will be reliant on twenty-four hour care for the rest of her life.

Isabelle’s mother sought legal advice to seek compensation for her daughter’s injuries. Dr Corr admitted liability for Isabelle’s condition after her mother made a claim against him for his failure to refer her to a specialist. Whilst speaking at a hearing to award an interim settlement of compensation in 2011, he told the court that he “very much regrets the outcome in relation to Isabelle´s birth”.

The family returned to court in October 2013 to receive second interim settlement of compensation. At this hearing, Catherine requested that they ceased to receive the interim settlements and instead received a lump sum. An assessment had to be carried out for several weeks prior to each settlement to ensure that a suitable value was awarded, but Catherine told the court that these disputed her daughter’s attempts to live a normal life.

The court granted the request, and the case went to the High Court to be heard by Mr Justice Peter Kelly. The final lump sum settlement was agreed to be €9 million. Judge Kelly, who is also President of the High Court, said that it was a fair and reasonable settlement, and it was understandable why Catherine made the request. He also paid tribute to Isabelle’s parents, saying that Isabelle’s progress was so good because of her parents’ “truly remarkable” love, care and dedication.

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High Court Awards Compensation to Family of Man Left in a Coma

The High Court has awarded €550,000 in compensation to the family of a man who was left in a coma due to the failure of medical staff to correctly diagnose his organ failure.

In 2011, Robert Bolton-who was seventy-one at the time of the incident-underwent an operation on his oesophagus. The procedure was initially determined a success. However, the next day, he suffered from respiratory failure and had a heart attack.

He was immediately transferred to intensive care by medical staff. Robert’s condition continued to deteriorate. Because of his sepsis, Robert suffered from a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, leaving him in a coma. Since 2011, Robert has only been minimal consciousness on a small handful of occasions.

Robert’s wife, Angela, sought legal counsel to seek compensation for her husband’s injuries. She was concerned about the care her husband received during and after his operation, as well as during his stay in the intensive care unit at the hospital. She proceeded to make a claim against the hospital for their failure to diagnose her husband’s organ failure. She claimed that the medical staff who were responsible for her husband did not adequately diagnose Robert’s sepsis. Furthermore, they did not adhere to the criteria of systemic inflammatory response.

The defendants-the hospital at which Robert underwent the procedure-denied full liability for his injuries. However, they did admit partial liability regarding the substandard level of care Robert received at the facility.

The two legal teams began to negotiated the terms of the compensation settlement that would be offered to Robert.  An interim settlement of compensation amounting to €550,000 was determined to be adequate for the level of injuries sustained. This figure would pay for two years’ worth of the specialist care Robert now requires.

However, as the claim was being made on behalf of someone unable to represent themselves in court, the settlement had to be approved by the High Court. The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge heard of how the hospital’s alleged failings lead to the deterioration of Robert’s condition and how it has impacted his family.

Though Angela assured Judge Cross that no amount of money would compensate for what happened to her husband, although she added the it would act as a reassurance that he was getting adequate care. The judge approved the settlement before commenting that it was the result of hard bargaining. He finished by wishing Angela and her family the best for the future.

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