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Judge Approves Interim Settlement of Compensation in Avoidable Delay at Birth Case

A High Court judge has approved an interim settlement of compensation to be awarded to a boy who sustained major brain damage due to an avoidable delay in his delivery.

A 10-year-old boy, who developed acute hypoxic ischaemia moments before his birth and was then left unventilated after his delivery, has had an interim settlement of compensation for dyskinetic cerebral palsy approved in court.

In July 2002, Eoin Murphy (ten years of age),of Malahide, County Dublin, was born at the Coombe Women’s and Infants’ University Hospital. Medical staff had diagnosed him with suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia at the time of his birth. However, he was not ventilated until seventeen minutes later because a paediatric registrar was not available at the time.

As a consequence of the avoidable delay, Eoin´s brain was starved of oxygen  and he sustained significant brain damage. He was later diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy. One of the predominant symptoms of this diagnosis is the presence of involuntary uncoordinated movements in the arms, legs, face, and trunk.

On behalf of her son, Dr Fiona Murphy sought legal counsel. She made a claim for dyskinetic cerebral palsy against the hospital and, in February this year, Ms Justice Mary Irvine found the Coombe Hospital liable for Eoin´s injuries after a High Court hearing.

The case in February was adjourned for the assessment of damages, and yesterday Mr Justice Michael Moriarty approved an interim settlement of compensation for dyskinetic cerebral palsy amounting to €2.9 million on Eoin’s behalf, as he was a minor at the time of the hearing.

The settlement should be sufficient to provide Eoin with support and care for two years, with a further hearing scheduled for 2015, when a review of Eoin´s future requirements will be conducted and by which time a periodic compensation payment system may be in place.

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