An interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital has been approved in court.
On 19 August 2013, Catriona Enright was admitted to the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick, thirty-seven weeks into her pregnancy with son Charlie. After tests were conducted, the decision was made to induce labour and Catriona was administered Syntocinon.
Despite hyper-stimulation being a known side effect of Syntocinon, Catriona´s condition was not adequately monitored. A subsequent misinterpretation of the CTG tracing and a belated recognition of foetal distress led to Charlie being born “flat” the following day, unable to breathe independently.
Charlie was transferred to Cork University Hospital, where he was diagnosed as having suffered an intra-cranial haemorrhage and treated with therapeutic hypothermia (“head cooling”). However, due to the brain damage Charlie suffered prior to his birth, he is severely and permanently disabled.
On her son´s behalf, Catriona claimed compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence against the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Liability was admitted for Charlie´s birth injuries and an interim settlement of €1.75 million agreed while a report is prepared into Charlie´s future needs.
As the claim for compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence was made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Charlie´s best interests. Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the circumstances leading up to Charlie´s birth.
Judge Barr approved the interim settlement, saying it was a very good one that should take care of the boy´s needs for the next two years. After two years, the family will have to return to court for the approval of a subsequent interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence or the approval of a lump sum payment, assuming that no system of periodic payments is introduced in the meantime.