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Teenager Receives Interim Settlement of Compensation for Birth Injuries

A teenager has received an interim settlement of compensation for injuries he sustained at birth which left him suffering from cerebral palsy.

In January 2000, Ryan Brennan from Cahir in County Tipperary was born at St. Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel. Several hours before he was born, a foetal trace had indicated to medical staff that he had an abnormal heart rate. Ryan was described as being in a “poor condition” when he was born. He had to be resuscitated shortly after his delivery. He also suffered seizures throughout the rest of the day and sustained irreversible brain damage. He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

On behalf of their son, Ryan’s parents sought legal counsel. It was claimed by Ryan´s parents that Ryan´s injuries could have been avoided if the staff at St Joseph´s Hospital and, in particular, consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – had acted with as soon as the foetal trace had identified a problem. They made a compensation claim for brain damage due to a failure to act on behalf of their son against Dr Powell and the HSE.

Both of the defendants denied the allegations of a failure to act, negligence, a breach of contract by the hospital and a breach in the duty of care by Dr Powell. Due to the dispute in liability, the case was heard at the High Court in Dublin by Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

The judge was told that an agreement had been reached with the HSE on an interim settlement of compensation for brain damage due to a failure to act, without an admission of liability. Furthermore, he case against Dr Powell  had been struck out.

The interim settlement amounts to €1.7 million and is valid for two years while a review of Ryan´s future needs is conducted and to allow for the proposed introduction of a structured compensation payment system in Ireland. Ms Justine Mary Irvine approved the settlement – describing it as ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’ as she did.

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