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Seven-year-old Girl Awarded €5.8m Birth Brain Injury Compensation

A seven-year-old girl has settled her High Court action with an interim settlement of €5.8m after she sustained a brain injury during her delivery at Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway.

The girl in question, Ellen O’Kane, will return to court in 15 years when her future care needs will be assessed and further provision for her care and treatment can be made.

Ellen, who live at Kiltybegs in Longford town, took the birth injury compensation claim via her mother Mary Brady, against the HSE in relation to the care provided to her  at the time of her birth on September 19, 2012, at Portiuncula. It was alleged that, due of excessive traction as attempts were made at instrumental delivery, Ellen sustained injuries and became “severely compromised”. It was necessary to intubate her when she was finally delivered by an emergency caesarean section.

Her legal representative, Denis McCullough, instructed by solicitor Michael Boylan, told the court that an MRI scan later showed that a skull fracture and the baby had suffered a hypoxic ischaemic injury. In addition to this it was claimed there was a failure to use any or any proper or adequate care for the safety and wellbeing of the baby who was born in a very poor, flat and asphyxiated condition and that that syntocinon, a drug used to induce labour, was used unnecessarily and when Ms Brady was already experiencing strong contractions. It was claimed that a failure to stop the use of syntocinon which was allegedly resulting in atypical variable decelerations in the foetal heart rate.

The baby was not delivered in an acceptable and timely way and her skull was deeply impacted against her mother’s hip, it was also claimed. The claims were denied.

Mr McCullough said Ellen has had seizures and while she is now attending mainstream school now, her family plan to home school her in the future. Due to this the birth injury compensation settlement includes €520,000 for home-schooling.

Mr Justice Cross said that this is a good settlement and gave his best wishes for Ellen in her future life.

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