€2.4m settlement for boy over alleged medical negligence at birth

€2.4m settlement for boy over alleged medical negligence at birth

A three-year-old boy has secured €2.4 million interim payment in settlement of a High Court action over a brain injury allegedly suffered at the time of his birth in the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Dublin.

The boy cannot be named, or anything reported which might identify him, by order of Mr Justice Kevin Cross under a law providing for anonymity where a relevant party in a case has a medical condition.

The order was made after the boy's father told the court the family had significant reservations as to how their son could potentially react in the future should he learn about what he had gone through.

Future mental health

He "takes everything in" and they were concerned over his future mental health particularly in the world we live in where people spend so much time online and where their son had a very difficult start in life, he said.

The court heard the settlement was agreed following "intense negotiation" and mediation before former Court of Appeal judge Michael Peart.

The NMH denied negligence and breach of duty.

In approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross noted the family's side had put the top value of the settlement at this stage at €3 million.

The €2.4 million was agreed because of the possibility that if the matter went to trial the court may find there was not negligence and the risk that the family would end up with nothing had to be taken into account, he said.

Interim payment

This interim payment, the bulk of which is to pay for the boy's future care, is until 2027 when the matter will return to court for further assessment, he said.

The family's counsel, Denis McCullough, instructed by Michael Boylan Litigation Law Firm, said it had been agreed when further assessments are being made there will be no discounts.

In his action, the boy, suing through his mother, claimed there were a number of failures during the delivery including a failure to make a timely decision for an emergency Caesarean resulting in the baby suffering further impact on his head and making the eventual delivery more difficult and challenging.

There was an alleged failure to note the baby was suffering from a period of prolonged partial asphyxia during the time leading up to birth and during delivery.

Caesarean

The baby was born by emergency Caesarean on September 23rd, 2017 in a poor condition, requiring resuscitation and transfer to intensive care.

The child is permanently disabled, has intellectual and physical disability and will require ongoing early neurodevelopment intervention

However, counsel said, he was a very cheerful, well adjusted and lively boy. He had been attending creche up until its closure due to the pandemic last year.

His mother told the court he would return to the creche later in the year to the creche but had recently undergone a hip operation and the family were concentrating on getting therapy and other assistance for him.

The mother said they were happy with the interim settlement.

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