The High Court has approved an interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery in favour of a teenage girl who delayed delivery resulted in her sustaining life-long injuries.
Mary Malee was born by emergency Caesarean section at the Mayo General Hospital on October 11th 1999, after there had been a delay in finding a consultant gynaecologist to assist with the delivery. As a result of the hospital´s alleged negligence, Mary was born with cerebral palsy and is now confined to a wheelchair.
Through her mother – Maura Malee of Swinford, County Mayo – Mary made a compensation claim for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery against the hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that there had been a failure to intervene and conduct a Caesarean section in a timely manner, and a failure to ensure the presence of a paediatrician when it was known that the foetus was suffering distress and likely to need resuscitation.
Mayo General Hospital and the HSE both denied their liability for Mary´s birth injuries; but, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery had been agreed amounting to €1.5 million, with a further assessment to be conducted within two years.
The judge also heard that Mary was Maura Malee´s fourth child, and that Maura had attended the consultant gynaecologist who had delivered her three previous children several days before Mary was born. The gynaecologist had told Maura that he would not be able to attend her at Mary´s delivery as he was about to start treatment for cancer, but would make arrangements for her to be transferred to the care of another consultant.
Maura saw her GP the following day and was told to go to hospital immediately as she was exhibiting symptoms of pre-eclampsia. She was transferred to the labour ward and underwent a CTG shortly before 6.00am which showed a series of decelerations and a consultant was called. When he arrived at shortly before 7.00am, there was an alleged failure to communicate the severity of Maura´s condition and the Caesarean operation did not take place until after 7.20am. .
In court, Mary´s legal representatives stated that had it been possible to commence the birth earlier Mary´s injuries could have been avoided and, after a statement had been read out by Mary (14) in which she commented “It would have been appreciated had the HSE/Mayo General Hospital said they were sorry”, Judge Irvine approved the interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to a delayed delivery and adjourned the hearing.