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.