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Counsel tells Court HSE Should Apologise for Cerebral Palsy Negligence

The High Court has heard calls for the HSE to apologise for the cerebral palsy negligence that led to a young girl being traumatised at birth and suffering permanent injuries.

Grace Orchard from Carrigaline in County Cork was born at St Finbarr´s Maternity Hospital on 23rd February 2006 after her mother had been administered syntocinon to help speed up her contractions.

According to the evidence provided at the High Court in Dublin, the drug had been administered inappropriately and, as a result, Grace was delivered by forceps after four previous attempts to bring her into the world – including one using a vacuum cup – had failed.

Grace had to be resuscitated after her delivery, and was badly bruised due to the trauma she had experienced. She was subsequently diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy which – according to counsel – was attributable to “appalling poor handling” by hospital staff during her delivery.

Describing the circumstances of Grace´s birth as a “tragedy”, Grace´s counsel told Mr Justice Daniel Herbert at the High Court that Grace had been left in a catastrophic position and that the HSE should apologise for the cerebral palsy negligence.

The Court heard that Grace´s family did everything they could for her during her early years – including taking her to a specialist centre in New York for physiotherapy – and that Grace had been accepted into mainstream school, but the services available to her are being reduced due to cut-backs.

Through her mother – Deidre O´Callaghan – Grace made a compensation claim for cerebral palsy negligence against St Finbarr´s Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE); and the HSE admitted liability two weeks before the court hearing was scheduled to commence. Consequently the case continues for the assessment of damages only.