An 18-year-old woman with cerebral palsy has settled, for €11m, her High Court action over the circumstances of her birth at a Cork hospital.
Margaret Hurley cannot talk or walk, and has severe cerebral palsy, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told.
The judge heard the settlement against the HSE, which was reached after mediation, was without admission of liability.
Ms Hurley, from Skibbereen, Co Cork, had sued over the circumstances of her birth at Erinville Hospital, Western Road, in March 2000.
At the Four Courts yesterday, her mother Claire Hurley said: “Thank God for the courts system.”
She revealed that it was only five years ago, when the family saw reports of another court case, that they began to investigate and contacted a solicitors firm.
“If we had been told we could have brought this case earlier, then we could have accessed funds for much-needed therapies for Margaret which were not otherwise available,” said Mrs Hurley.
She said in a statement: “It was only in the year of 2014 that we saw the report of another case taken that brought us to the door of the solicitors. We felt there were similarities between Margaret’s condition and those reported in the case, as indeed there were.”
Mrs Hurley said the future is now bright for her daughter, and she will be able to get all the aids and therapies she requires as a result of the settlement.
She said the extent of Margaret’s disabilities became apparent as she grew older. Mrs Hurley, who gave up her teaching job to look after her daughter, described as a “smiley, affectionate” young woman who has her own way of communicating with her family.
Lyndy Cantillon, partner with Cantillons Solicitors, Cork, said the severity of Margaret’s condition could have been alleviated by early intervention and therapies.
“Margaret sadly did not avail of these. Claire had to give up her job teaching to care for Margaret full-time, while her husband, Gerald, continued to farm. It was only in 2014, when Margaret was 14, that her mother read about another child we represented with similar devastating disabilities.
“No one in the HSE had told Claire there might be medical negligence involved in Margaret’s birth.”
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