THE family of a profoundly disabled girl in receipt of the largest personal injury settlement from the HSE in the history of the State has said that “no amount of money can change” her life.
Kameela Kuye, a 16-year-old Cork schoolgirl from Carrigaline, received €23.5 million in settlement from the HSE after a two year case relating to the circumstances of her birth at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork in 2004.
No liability was admitted in the settlement.
In a statement outside the High Court this morning, the Kuye family said that the damages “will not alleviate Kameela’s injuries, which are profound”.
The family thanked their legal team, senior counsel Dr John O’Mahony and Cian O’Mahony BL, and paid tribute to Kameela, “who has the most beautiful smile and a great sense of humour”.
Kameela was present in court to hear the ruling by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, along with her parents Ganiyat and Jimmy, who Dr O’Mahony described as “the most plausibly dedicated, incredibly devoted and committed” people.
Her solicitor, Emma Meagher Neville, described the settlement as being a “significant figure in personal injury litigation in this country”.
She said it had been achieved following “a long and arduous battle”.
Kameela, who was present at the High Court this morning with her family, had alleged that the monitoring of her condition during labour and delivery was negligent, which led to the signs of foetal distress not being recognised.
The court had heard that Kameela, who took the case as a minor via her father who held her hand throughout today’s ruling, suffered deprivation of oxygen during her delivery which caused a severe brain injury giving rise to cerebral palsy with permanent profound neurological disabilities.
She was delivered in very poor health and close to death following a number of complications involving her umbilical cord. Ms Kuye had alleged that there had been a negligent failure to comply with the guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which stated that options for monitoring a foetus should be discussed with the mother.
Staff at the hospital had allegedly not monitored the baby’s heartbeat for the final two hours leading up to delivery, and had instead only performed intermittent checks.
The method of monitoring allegedly used was intermittent switching on and off of the heart-monitoring machine.
All allegations were denied by the HSE, which stated that the first warning sign which warranted action arose only eight minutes prior to delivery.
Now aged 16, Kameela - who is the third child of five - cannot walk, is non-verbal, has profoundly impaired swallowing, is tube-fed, and suffers from incontinence. She attends a special school in Cork city.
The damages covered by the action are understood to be earmarked for the purchase of a new home with a hydrotherapy pool, and will provide for the extensive therapies which Ms Kuye, who thus far in her life has lived in rented accommodation, requires.