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€100,000 Settlement of Compensation for a Scar due to an Adverse Reaction Approved in Court

The High Court has approved a €100,000 settlement of compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction in favour of a three-year-old girl.

Sophia Ryan was born on the 19th October 2012 at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin seventeen weeks premature. Immediately after her birth, Sophia was transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit, where she was administered medication via a series of catheters.

Prior to the insertion of the catheters, Sophia´s skin had been cleaned with chlorhexidine – a different antisepsis lotion from the povidone-iodine usually used on premature babies – as part of the National Children´s Research Centre´s “SKA trial”.

Sophia´s mother – Anne – had given permission for the lotion to be used on Sophia after being assured that it would not have any side effects or cause her daughter any discomfort. However, the morning after Sophia´s birth, nurses noticed she was distressed and had redness and ulcerations on her back.

The condition was attributed to an adverse reaction to the chlorhexidine. Sophia was administered morphine to provide pain relief and a cream used to prevent bacterial skin infections – Fucidim – was applied to her skin.

When a plastics specialist noted that Sophia had suffered a deep dermal skin burn on her back, the Fucidim treatment was discontinued and an alternate cream applied. Sophia´s condition improved, but she has been left with discoloured skin and a scar on her back that was likened by a consultant paediatric dermatologist in May 2014 as being similar to a chemical burn.

Through her father – Tom – Sophia claimed compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction against the National Maternity Hospital; alleging that her mother would never have consented to the application of chlorhexidine had she been aware about the potential side effects.

The hospital made an offer of compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction without an admission of liability, at the approval hearing at the High Court, Mr Justice Richard Humphries was told that Sophie will likely need a skin graft in the future to hide the discolouration and permanent scar.

On hearing the details of the hospital´s offer of €100,000, Judge Humphries approved the settlement of compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction and ordered that the hospital also pay the Ryan´s legal costs.