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High Court Judge Approves Interim Settlement of Compensation

A High Court judge has approved an interim settlement of compensation offered to a young boy suffering from cerebral palsy.

In January 2010, Dylan Kenny was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital. Due to the negligence of medical staff managing his birth, Dylan was left deprived of oxygen in the womb. He was born with severe disabilities, and   subsequently suffers from cerebral palsy. He is unable to walk without aid, and has difficulty expressing himself verbally. He will remain reliant on care from his parents for the rest of his life.

On behalf of their son, Claire O´Brien and Lloyd Kenny sought legal counsel. They made a claim for birth injuries due to hospital negligence against the hospital where their son was born. The claim alleged that there had been a failure to monitor the foetal heart rate during Claire´s labour, a failure to act on the results of a concerning CTG trace, and to react within a reasonable time to signs of foetal distress and hypoxia.

The family’s legal team claimed that, had Dylan been delivered earlier, his birth injuries would not have been so severe. In June, the Health Service Executive (HSE) acknowledged that mistakes had been made in the management of Claire´s labour, admitted liability for Dylan´s brain injuries and issued an apology. As the case was made on behalf of a child, it needed to be heard at the High Court to ensure that any offer of compensation made was in the child’s best interests.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice John Cook asked to approve a €2 million interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to hospital negligence. Judge Cook heard that the interim settlement was to provide care for Dylan for a period of three years to allow for his future needs to be assessed and for the possible introduction of a structured compensation scheme.

After hearing that Dylan´s parents were happy with the interim payment, and preferred it to the lump sum payment proposed by the HSE and State Claims Agency, Judge Cook approved the settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to hospital negligence. He wished the family well, and expressed hope that a structured payment scheme would be introduced soon.

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