High Court reporters
A 24-year-old woman with cerebral palsy who sued over the circumstances of her birth at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin has settled her High Court action for €10.75 million.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey, approving the settlement, said it was humbling to see the magnificent care Cora Sexton’s family gave to her, and she is obviously a very happy person.
Cora’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC told the court it was their case that baby Cora should have been delivered by caesarean section three to four hours earlier at The Coombe Hospital.
He said the CTG trace which monitors the baby’s heartbeat was showing pathological manifestations.
“She was in stress for a number of hours before the caesarean section. It is our case she should have been delivered three to four hours earlier,” he said.
Counsel said the case was complicated by the fact that the CTG trace was mislaid
Counsel said his side were also claiming over the neo natal management.
His side he said alleged she did not get ventilator support when she should and there was the alleged administration of “a toxic level of a barbiturate” which added to the baby’s difficulties.
The settlement, which is without an admission of liability, was reached after mediation.
Cora’s mum Rita Fitzgerald said she is very happy in her own little world and likes music and playing tag rugby.
Cora Sexton, Clontarf, Dublin had through her mother Rita Fitzgerald sued the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Cork Street, Dublin over the circumstances of her birth on September 8th, 1997.
It was claimed she was allegedly caused to suffer chronic partial asphyxia during birth causing brain damage which has led to cerebral palsy and long term neurodevelopmental problems.
It was alleged by the Sexton side had the baby been delivered several hours earlier than she was, she would have escaped the majority if not all the injuries allegedly caused by the asphyxia.
The CTG tracings which monitor the baby’s heart rate it was claimed showed pathological features for a period of about three hours from the time the epidural was given.
There was also it was claimed an alleged failure to monitor the baby during labour and an alleged failure to carry out foetal blood sampling when the CTG tracing was allegedly showing pathological manifestations.
There was, it was contended, an alleged failure to note foetal distress and having given the epidural there was an alleged failure to note the significant change in the CTG tracings.
Delivery it was claimed, should have occurred by 6am at the latest but baby Cora was delivered by caesarean section at 9.47am.
After delivery, it was claimed the baby developed seizures, and she later developed a left-sided weakness.
The claims were denied, and it was claimed that there was an alleged inexcusable delay in bringing the proceedings.
The Hospital further contended it would be prejudiced in its defence of the action and in the investigation of the claims because of the absence of the CTG.