Compensation has been awarded to the family of a little boy who has been left severely disabled when his case of chickenpox was misdiagnosed.
In August 2012-shortly before his second birthday, Eoghan Keating was brought to the A&E Department of Waterford Regional Hospital. Eoghan-originally from Upper Dunhill in County Waterford-was suffering from a high fever and having developed a rash on his abdomen. After undergoing medical examination by the staff at the facility, Eoghan was misdiagnosed as having mumps. He was sent home with his parents after being treated with ibuprofen and Calpol to relieve his symptoms.
Despite the medical attention, the parents noticed their son’s condition deteriorated during the night. He became lethargic and his neck began to swell. His concerned parents – Larry and Martina – called the CareDoc GP service, who advised that Eoghan be taken back to the hospital as soon as possible. He was brought back to Waterford Regional Hospital, where he underwent further medical examinations. Eoghan was correctly diagnosed as having a chicken pox infection.
Eoghan was incubated and ventilated before being transferred to the Children´s Hospital in Dublin. Due to the delay in receiving the correct diagnosis, the boy suffered a serious brain injury. Now six year of age, Eoghan is tetraplegic and cannot talk.
On her son´s behalf, Martina Keating made a claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that there had been a failure by medical staff at the Waterford Regional Hospital to admit her son or identify the indications of a significant infection. Due to this incorrect diagnosis, her son was left severely disabled. Liability for the medical negligence that resulted in Eoghan´s condition was acknowledged by the HSE and a €2.5 million interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation was agreed.
As the claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in the child’s best interests. The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Dublin. A medical professional informed the judge of the sequence of events leading up to Eoghan´s brain injury and the consequences of his injury. At the hearing, the family was also read an apology by the General Manager of Waterford Regional Hospital – Richard Dooley – for the “deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan”.
After commenting that the Keatings´ “suffering cannot be described or defined”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation and adjourned the case for two years to allow for an assessment of Eoghan´s future needs. In two years´ time, the family will return to court for the approval of a second interim compensation settlement unless a system of periodic payments has been introduced in the intervening period.