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Judge Calls for System of Periodic Payments in Cerebral Palsy Case

A High Court judge has apologised to the family of a young boy suffering from cerebral palsy for the lack of a system of periodic payments being made available to the family.

Luke Miggin (now eight years of age) from Athboy in County Meath was born on 26th February 2006 at the Mullingar General Hospital. Medical staff had failed to act on scans which showed that he had a decelerating foetal heart rate, and as such, he was deprived of oxygen in the womb. Luke had to be resuscitated immediately after he was born, and was transferred to an intensive care unit for special neonatal care. Luke was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He has limited motor skills, and is reliant on twenty-four hour care from his parents.

Through his mother – Emily – Luke made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation on the grounds that his mother´s consultant obstetrician – Michael Gannon – had failed to act on CTG traces taken throughout the day, which indicated a deceleration of the foetal heart rate. Had the obstetrician acted with adequate care, Luke never would have been deprived of oxygen and thus would not have suffered the injuries that he does to this day.

In 2010, the defendants admitted their liability for Luke´s birth injuries. The two legal teams negotiated an interim settlement of compensation. As Luke was a minor at the time, the compensation needed to be approved by a judge in the High Court to ensure that it was in his best interests. In January 2011 the interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy amounting to €1.35 million was approved by Mr Justice John Quirke.

Luke´s case was adjourned for three years in the hopes that structured settlement system to be introduced.  In spite of the promises of several ministers, a system of periodic payments is still not available. Therefore,  Emily Miggin returned to the High Court to have a second interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

Judge Irvine apologised to Emily for successive Justice Ministers who had failed to keep their promises to introduce a system of periodic payments, and said that ongoing litigation was preventing her family from getting on their lives.The judge approved a further €580,000 interim compensation payment for cerebral palsy and adjourned Luke´s case for a further three years. It is hoped that the system of periodic payments will be set up in this time.

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