The family of a young female who suffered brain damage injuries at her birth due to hospital errors have had their birth injuries obstretic negligence claim resolved at the High Court in Dublin.
Alex Butler, now eight years old, from County Waterford, was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005; however, due to the hospital not having an adequate number of properly skilled competent medical staff to deal with the Alex’s birth, and to ensure that an adequate and competent obstetrician was on duty available, Alex’s delivery was delayed by twelve minutes – during which time she suffered brain trauma which led to permanent tetraplegic injury.
In a claim take, on her behalf, through her mother Sonya, Alex alleged that her consultant obstetrician had been allowed to take leave at the same time as Waterford Regional Hospital’s two other obstetricians and that the hospital had temporarily employed a locum obstetrician without ensuring that he was competent. ALong with this it was claimed that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment was insufficient and there was a failure to recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section.
The High Court was advised that the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability for Alex´s brain injuries, and the claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff made against the consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and locum obstetrician – Mahmud Khbuli – were thrown out of court. A representative from Waterford read out an apology for the mismanagement of Alex’s birth and accepted that the mistakes should never have happened.
The Court also heard that an interim compensation settlement of Alex´s claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff amounting to €1.4 million had been agreed upon between the HSE and Alex´s parents. The birth injuries obstretic negligence claim settlement is to be reviewed again in two years when an assessment of Alex´s care needs for the future has been made, and by which time it is hoped that the option of a structured settlement is available.