High Court Judge Approves Interim Settlement of Compensation in Cerebral Palsy Case

A High Court judge has approved an interim settlement of medical negligence compensation to be awarded to a boy who was born with irreversible brain damage.

Ryan Brennan from Cahir, County Tipperary, made the claim through his parents following allegedly preventable complications before and during his (Ryan´s) birth in January 2000 at the St Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel.

A foetal trace was taken of Ryan’s foetal heartbeat several hours before he was born. In spite of medical staff uncovering abnormalities in Ryan´s heart rate, the failed to act in an appropriate manner.

Shortly after Ryan was born, he had to be resuscitated. He continued to suffer from seizures throughout the following day. Due to his delayed birth, Ryan was started of oxygen in the womb and was born with irreversible brain damage. Later medical assessment diagnosed him with cerebral palsy. He is reliant on care from his parents for even simple tasks, and will be dependant on care for the rest of his life.

In the action it was claimed by Ryan´s parents – Lorraine and Raymond Brennan – that Ryan´s cerebral palsy could have been avoided if the consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – and staff at St Joseph´s Hospital had applied greater care to their work, and a birth injury medical negligence compensation action was made against Dr Powell and the HSE.

Both parties did not accept the allegations of a failure to act, negligence, a breach of duty by Dr Powell and a breach of contract by the hospital which resulted in the brain damage suffered by Ryan. Due to the dispute in liabilty, the case was heard at the High Court in Dublin.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine oversaw proceedings. She was told that an interim settlement of cerebral palsy birth injury compensation had been agreed upon with no admission of liability, and that the case against the consultant had been struck from court.

The €1.7 million temporary payment is for the next two years to allow for the introduction of a new structured payment system and a review of Ryan´s future needs. Ms Justine Mary Irvine described the interim settlement as ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’ as she approved it on Ryan’s behalf.

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Family Awarded Compensation Following Wrongful Death due to Misdiagnosis

The family of a young boy who died due a misdiagnosis of his bacterial infection has been awarded compensation for their suffering.

In February 2011, Richard de Souza from Athy, County Kildare had been taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise by his parents. His parents were concerned after Richard developed a lump on the left side of his body while suffering from chicken pox.

The doctor in the A&E Department diagnosed Richard as having an infection. They prescribed him with a three-day course in antibiotics, and discharged him. In spite Richard displaying a high temperature and high pulse and heart rate, no further medical action was taken.

Later that evening Richard complained of being thirsty and became delirious, and the following morning collapsed on the floor of the family home. Richard´s mother called for an ambulance, and paramedics soon arrived on the scene. However, when they arrived, Richard was already in a state of cardiac arrest. In spite of the best efforts of medical staff, he was declared dead on arrival at the Midland Regional Hospital.

An investigation was launched into Richard’s death. A report was released that attributed Richard´s death to a streptococcal infection. This led to him suffering from toxic shock syndrome. The report stated that it could have been successfully treated by intravenous antibiotics had Richard been admitted to hospital. After hearing this evidence, Ralmon and Flavia de Souza sought legal counsel and made a claim for compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis.

Following an investigation into the claim, the Midland Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive admitted liability for Richard´s wrongful death and a settlement of compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis was negotiated to include the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder both parents had been diagnosed with following the tragic and avoidable death of their son

 At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard a representative of the Midland Regional Hospital read out an apology to the family before approving the €160,000 settlement of the claim for a hospital fatal misdiagnosis. She wished the family well for the future.

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