€17.6 million settlement for Cork boy who suffered damage during birth

€17.6 million settlement for Cork boy who suffered damage during birth
Solicitor, Aoife O Kane with Helen O Keeffe, of Kiskeam, Mallow, pictured speaking to the media on leaving the Four Courts today.

A 13-year-old Cork boy who suffered damage during his birth and now has cerebral palsy has settled his High Court action against the HSE with a final payment of €15million.

This brings to €17.6million the total amount paid to Arron Michael O'Keeffe who has previously received interim payments amounting to €2.6million.

Arron's mum Helen O'Keeffe, from Mallow, said: "We would hand back the €17.6million in a heartbeat if it were possible for Arron to get back what was taken from him in those hours before his birth," she said.

 "We think it is important for people to understand that this settlement is not some kind of lottery win for Arron, all of this money will be badly needed so that Arron can live as normal life as possible for the rest of his life."

She said Arron has always had a happy, smiling face, even from birth, with a twinkle in his eye.

"No matter what pain and suffering he has been going through over the past 13 years, he always came back with that special smile that would light up a room," she said in the statement.

Approving the final settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good and reasonable one and he told Arron’s mum not to worry if people say it is a fortune.

Helen O Keeffe, of Kiskeam, Mallow
Helen O Keeffe, of Kiskeam, Mallow

The judge said it was not a fortune and of the €17.6million, less than half a million was damages and the rest related to necessary expenses to give him some sort of life as he would have had.

Arron had sued the HSE though his mother, Helen O’Keeffe, of The Island, Kiskeam, Mallow, as a result of the circumstances surrounding his birth at Erinville Hospital, Western Rd, Cork, on Apr 11, 2006.

Liability was conceded in the case six years ago.

It was claimed the HSE was negligent and in breach of duty in that it failed to ensure continued and careful monitoring and observation of the condition of the baby and his mother following admission on Apr 11, 2006.

It was also claimed that, because of the negligence by the HSE in the management of his mother’s pregnancy, induction of labour, and delivery, Arron suffered profound hypoxic insult, resulting in cerebral palsy.

The court heard Ms O’Keeffe had been admitted to Erinville Hospital on Apr 11, 2006, for planned induction of labour.

A CTG trace was started before 8am and showed abnormalities in the foetal heartbeat.

At about 1.30pm, a decision was made to deliver by emergency caesarean section, but when Arron was born over an hour later, he was in a very poor condition and required vigorous resuscitation.

The case was back before the High Court today to assess Arron’s future care needs. Arron’s counsel Aongus O Brolchain SC said Arron is a very likeable child and his left side is stronger than his right. Counsel said he attends school and he can walk with a shuffling gait.

Ms O’Keeffe told the court she was happy with the settlement.

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