The case of a teenager who suffers from Erb’s palsy due to medical negligence surrounding her court has been resolved in the High Court.
In January 2004, Keelan Murray was born at the National Maternity Hospital. Shortly after her birth, she was diagnosed with shoulder dystocia. This is a condition that occurs when the infant’s shoulders fail to clear the mother’s pubis symphsis during birth. It frequently leads to damage of the brachial plexus nerve if excessive force is used to free the baby. In some cases, the conditions heals over time. However, Keelan’s injury remained permanent. She now suffers from Erb’s palsy.
Keelan, who lives in Newtownmountkennedy in Co. Wicklow, has never gained motor control over her right arm. Only her left arm is functional for performing even basic tasks. She has also been forced to learn how to write with her left hand, despite being right handed. Medical professionals attempted to fix the injury in 2012 via surgery, but it was unsuccessful and the damage remains permanent.
Sharon, Keelan’s mother, sought legal counsel on behalf of her daughter. She made a claim for compensation for the birth injury against the National Maternity Hospital. The claim alleges that in spite of the diagnosis of dystocia, excess force was used to free Keelan of the birth canal.
The hospital denied any liability for Keelan’s injuries. In spite of the denial of liability, they offered a sum of compensation. After much negotiation between the parties, a settlement of €250,000 was agreed upon without an admission of liability.
As the claim was made on behalf of a minor, the case needed to proceed to court so the compensation claim could be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Keelan’s best interests. The case was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Dublin.
At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that Keelan actively participated in many sports activities in despite of her disability. He ruled that it was prudent to accept the compensation settlement for Erb’s palsy without the admission of liability, and finished by wishing Keelan well for the future.