Girl with cerebral palsy settles case against Coombe Hospital for €6.5m

The girl had, through her mother, sued the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital over the circumstances of her birth
Girl with cerebral palsy settles case against Coombe Hospital for €6.5m

High Court reporters

A young girl with cerebral palsy who had sued the Coombe Hospital over the circumstances of her birth over 10 years ago has settled her High Court action for €6.5 million.

The settlement is without an admission of liability and the girl cannot be identified by order of the court.

Liam Reidy SC, with Esther Earley BL, told the court it was their case that there was a protracted labour, Syntocinon was administered and the mother’s contractions were allegedly over agitated.

He said the hospital’s case was that the contractions were not excessive and the baby did not suffer brain damage.

Counsel said that the essence of the case was that an MRI brain scan when the child was two-and-a-half showed what one of the experts on his side said was an insult to the brain.

Counsel said it was going to be a challenging case in relation to causation and the €6.5 million represented half the full value of the case. He added it was a good offer which the legal team were recommending.

The girl’s mother told the court that she was discharged the day after giving birth, but they later noticed the child did not reach certain milestones, such as walking.

She said when an MRI confirmed her daughter's diagnosis it was horrific, and it became her mission to look after her child.

The girl, through her mother, had sued the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Cork Street, Dublin, over the circumstances of her birth.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to recognise that the mother was having six contractions in 10 minutes, each lasting 60 seconds from the time of artificial rupture of the membranes, and an alleged failure to act on this.

All the claims were denied, and the hospital contended the conduct of the induction of labour and the delivery were appropriate and consistent with an acceptable standard of care.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said was it was a very tragic case.

He said due to the litigation risk in the case, there was no alternative but to accept the settlement offer. However, he noted to amount was fair and reasonable, adding he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

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