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Cerebral Palsy Claims

Cerebral palsy claims in Ireland enable families to claim compensation when a child is born with – or develops – cerebral palsy due to medical negligence.

In order for cerebral palsy claims to be successful, it has to be demonstrated that there were failures in the management of your child´s birth that resulted in his or her abnormal brain development.

Settlements of cerebral palsy claims account for the economic and non-economic impact of your child´s injury and – until a system of periodic payments is introduced – paid as a lump sum or as interim payments.

Claiming compensation for a cerebral palsy injury to your child can be a long and complex process. Make sure you receive professional legal advice that is relevant to your particular circumstances by speaking with a medical negligence solicitor today.

Judge Approves Interim Cerebral Palsy Settlement for Six-Year-Old Boy

A judge has approved an interim cerebral palsy settlement for a six-year-old boy and complimented the Health Service Executive for its cooperation. The six-year-old boy from Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon was born at Sligo General Hospital in May 2010 after his birth had been avoidably delayed. According to the details of the case told to the High Court, a CTG trace at 5:30pm on the evening of the boy´s birth indicated that he was suffering foetal distress and should be delivered at the first possible opportunity. However, rather than perform an emergency C-Section procedure within an appropriate period of time, the boy´s delivery took place more than two hours later. Due to the avoidable delay, the boy was starved of oxygen in the womb and was born with cerebral palsy. He now has a weakness on the right side of his body, although this does not appear to have prevented him from becoming a sociable child. On the boy´s behalf, his mother made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE was quick to acknowledge liability and, as talks began with the boy´s parents to agree a cerebral palsy settlement, senior HSE personnel apologised for the mistake that had led to their son´s birth injuries and explained how it had happened. The boy´s parents and the HSE agreed to an interim cerebral palsy settlement of €740,000 which will cover the family´s costs for the next five years – the extended period of time being due to the family having moved to Canada. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the interim cerebral palsy settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests. At the approval hearing – and after hearing details of the case – Mr Justice Kevin Cross complimented the HSE for its attitude, and said that an apology and an explanation was “absolutely something to be encouraged”. Approving the interim cerebral palsy settlement, Judge Cross said he was delighted with the progress the little boy had made, and he wished him well for the future.

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Final Payment of Delayed Delivery Cerebral Palsy Compensation Approved in Court

A final payment of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of sixteen year old girl described as “heroic”. Sixteen-year-old student Mary Malee was born on 11th October 1999 by emergency Caesarean section at Mayo General Hospital after an alleged delay in locating a paediatrician. Due to the alleged delay and a miscommunication when the paediatrician arrived, Mary´s delivery was delayed by eighty minutes – during which time her brain was starved of oxygen and she suffered cerebral palsy. On Mary´s behalf, her mother – Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo – claimed delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation from the Health Service Executive, alleging that there had been a failure to ensure the presence of a paediatrician when it was known that Mary was in distress in the womb, and that the hospital´s medical negligence led to the failure to conduct Mary´s birth in a timely manner. An interim settlement of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation was approved in March 2014 and Mary´s case was adjourned for two years in anticipation of laws allowing for the introduction of phased payments of compensation for catastrophically injured claimants. As structured settlements are still not available, Mary and her parents returned to the High Court last week to have a €5.56 million final payment of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation approved. At the hearing, Mary explained to Mr Justice Peter Kelly that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”. The judge also heard that Mary has ambitions to become an advocate for people with disabilities, and describing Mary´s achievements to date as “heroic”, Judge Kelly approved the final payment of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation. Also at the hearing an apology from the Mayo General Hospital was read to Mary, expressing the hospital´s deep regret for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. Mary subsequently gave a statement to the press in which she said: “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.

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High Court Approves Midwife Negligence Compensation Settlement

The High Court in London has approved an £11.5 million settlement of midwife negligence compensation in favour of a five-year-old boy from Brighton. The young boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was born in March 2010 at the Royal Sussex County Hospital after being starved of oxygen in the womb due to a failure by midwives notice his mother´s prolapsed umbilical cord. Due to being starved of oxygen, the young boy now suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy – a disorder that results in epilepsy and involuntary movements, poor sight and a speech impediment. Because of his disorder, the boy will never be able to live an independent life. On behalf of his son, the boy´s father made a claim for midwife negligence compensation in 2011. In the action against the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust it was alleged that if the hospital´s midwives had notice the prolapsed umbilical cord, the child would have been delivered earlier and would not have suffered such devastating injuries. It was not until the end of 2012 that NHS trust admitted liability for the child´s birth injuries and an interim payment of midwife negligence compensation was paid to the family. Reports were then prepared into the child´s future needs and this week at the High Court in London a care and rehabilitation package valued at £11.5 million was approved in final settlement of the claim. Speaking after the approval hearing, the family´s solicitor issued a statement about the settlement of midwife negligence compensation. He said: “We are pleased that we secured this settlement for him and his family, they now have the financial security and reassurance that the costs for his future treatment will be met.” The statement continued: “We hope that lessons are learnt by the Hospital and their staff so that patient safety in this situation can be improved and each and every patient receives the best quality of care at all times.”

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HSE to Appeal High Court Cerebral Palsy Award to Supreme Court

The HSE has indicated that it will take a High Court cerebral palsy award to the Supreme Court after losing an appeal against the original settlement. On 12th July 2006, Gill Russell was born at the Erinville Hospital in Cork suffering from dyskinetic cerebral palsy. The cause of his injury was described as a “prolonged and totally chaotic” delivery by his legal representatives after his mother – Karen Russell from Aghada in County Cork – had undergone a symphysiotomy to assist with the birth. On her son´s behalf, Karen Russell made a claim for compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). Liability was admitted and, in 2012, Gill received an interim High Court cerebral palsy award of €1.4 million. This was followed two years later with a further High Court cerebral palsy award of €13.5 million – the highest settlement ever awarded by the High Court for cerebral palsy. The HSE and State Claims Agency appealed the level of the High Court cerebral palsy award – arguing that Mr Justice Kevin Cross had based the award on a much lower rate of interest than was traditionally used in Irish courts to calculate the future value of the settlement. The two agencies warned that it was a dangerous precedent that could cost the state and the insurance industry up to €100 million per year. However, earlier this week, a three-judge panel at the Appeals Court upheld the original settlement – stating that, using the previous formula, a catastrophically injured person would have to take “unjust and unacceptable” investment risks to ensure their financial security. The judges ruled that it was not the courts´ function to inquire what a claimant was likely to do with their award for the purposes of determining its value. Handing down the verdict of the Appeals Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that a seriously injured child should not be compared with an investor for the purposes of deciding what should be a prudent investment. Furthermore, she added, the HSE and State Claims Agency would not be in this predicament had the government not failed over decades to enact laws that would allow a structured compensation payment system. Unfortunately for Gill and Karen Russell, the battle to settle the claim for compensation is not yet finished. The HSE has indicated that it will take the High Court cerebral palsy award to the Supreme Court, where its case will be heard by a seven-judge panel. The date of the hearing is not yet known.

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Alliance wants Legislation to Improve Patient Safety in Hospitals

The Medical Injuries Alliance has called on politicians to fix a “glaringly obvious” problem that would help to improve patient safety in hospitals. The Medical Injuries Alliance is an organisation that helps patients who have suffered injuries due to mistakes in hospitals get answers about how the mistakes were made. Among the Alliance´s objectives is the promotion of studies into why mistakes occur, so that the results can be used to improve patient safety in hospitals. In order to meet this objective, the Alliance has frequently called on politicians to introduce laws that would force healthcare professionals to admit when mistakes have been made, to explain how they happened, and to issue an apology immediately. The “Duty of Candour” – the Alliance claims – would also accelerate the settlement of hospital negligence compensation claims. The Alliance has a statement on its website that reads “the duty of candour in hospitals and doctors should be placed on a statutory footing, entitling injured patients to an accurate account of how they came to suffer medical injury in Irish hospitals” and, to force the issue of patient safety in hospitals, the Alliance has now written a letter to the Irish Times. The letter was prompted by an article that appeared in the Irish Times that commented on a nine-year delay in the settlement of a cerebral palsy compensation claim. The paper wrote that the delay was due to alleged “stonewalling” by the Health Service Executive (HSE), pointed out that duty of candour laws were implemented in the UK last year, and that similar legislation is clearly needed in Ireland. The response by the Medical Injuries Alliance was much in agreement with the sentiments of the article and highlighted the necessity to improve patient safety in hospitals. Joice McCarthy – the Secretary of the Medical Injuries Alliance – wrote that many hospital negligence victims are forced to take legal action to get answers that healthcare professionals are reluctant to give. Ms McCarthy added that injured patients who have been through the legal process often found it to be a stressful and protracted experience; and she alluded to the recent “shabby episode” disagreement between the HSE and the State Claims Agency, in which both blamed the other for a six-year delay in settling a hospital negligence claim. Ms McCarthy concluded her letter: “Instead of blaming any particular State organisation, or indeed having different State organisations blame one another for the current difficulties, it is high time politicians simply acted to introduce a legal duty of candour in order to fix what seems to be a glaringly obvious problem”.

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Settlement of Birth Injury Brain Damage Compensation Approved

A High Court judge has approved a €1.75 million settlement of birth injury brain damage compensation in favour of an eighteen year old man from County Sligo. Thomas O´Connor was delivered by emergency Caesarean Section on September 6th 1996 at Sligo General Hospital, showing no signs of life due to being deprived of oxygen prior to his birth. He was resuscitated and taken to the hospital´s Intensive Care Unit, but on the way suffered a heart attack and had to be resuscitated once again. Because of twice being deprived of oxygen, Thomas suffered terrible brain damage. He is spastic quadriplegic, blind, fed through a tube and cared for full-time at a residential home close to his family´s home in Collooney in County Sligo. Through his mother, Ann, Thomas made a claim for birth injury brain damage against the Sligo General Hospital and the Health Service Executive – alleging that his mother received a poor standard of care prior to his birth, and that his heart attack was due to the tube used to ventilate him being too deeply inserted. Sligo General Hospital and the Health Service Executive denied liability for Thomas´ brain injury, and contested the claim for birth injury brain damage compensation. Consequently, the case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told by expert witnesses that a CTG trace monitoring the foetal heartrate had been discontinued in the morning of Thomas´ birth. This was despite there being clear evidence of foetal distress. Thomas´ birth was avoidably delayed by up to four hours the judge heard. The judge was also told that the tube used to ventilate Thomas had been inserted at a depth of 14cms into Thomas´ lungs. The usual depth of insertion is between 9cms and 10cms, and the consequence of this alleged error was that Thomas was not ventilated effectively, causing him to suffer a heart attack which exacerbated the level of brain damage he suffered. Over the course of the four-week hearing, the Health Service Executive agreed to a €1.75 million settlement of birth injury brain damage compensation. After hearing that the €1.75 million settlement will pay for Thomas´ continued care at the residential home in Collooney, Judge Cross approved the settlement – adding that he was delighted the legal ordeal had come to an end for the O´Connor family.

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Court Hears of Cerebral Palsy Medical Negligence at Kerry General Hospital

The High Court has approved an interim settlement of compensation for a three year old girl after hearing of cerebral palsy medical negligence at Kerry General Hospital. Skye Worthington (now 3 years old) was born at the Kerry General Hospital on 22nd April 2011, after her mother – Colleen – had been given syntocinon to speed up her labour. Although the syntocinon resulted in Colleen´s contractions accelerating, a prolonged deceleration of Skye´s heartbeat in the womb was ignored. Skye – from Castlegregory in County Kerry – sustained brain damage due to a lack of oxygen in the womb and now suffers from cerebral palsy. She has to be fed through a tube, has difficulty sitting still, and can only communicate by using her eyes. A review of the management of Skye´s birth found that if she had been born just fifteen minutes earlier, she would not have suffered the devastating injuries. On her daughter´s behalf, Colleen made a claim for compensation against the HSE – alleging cerebral palsy medical negligence at Kerry General Hospital. The HSE acknowledged that errors had been made in the management of Skye´s birth and an interim settlement of €2.32 million compensation was arranged while an assessment takes place to consider Skye´s future requirements. At the High Court, Skye´s parents were read a statement in which the HSE and Kerry General Hospital apologised unreservedly for the errors in the management of Skye´s birth. The statement also said that lessons had been learned from a review of Skye´s birth in which her parents had participated, which had helped clarify a number of important issues. Mr Justice Kevin Cross described the apology as “out of the ordinary” and explained to Skye´s parents that the interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy medical negligence at Kerry General Hospital was for the next three years. Once the assessment of Skye´s future requirements had been concluded, the family would have the option of annual periodic payments subject to legislation being passed, or take a lump sum payment in final settlement of Skye´s hospital negligence claim.

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