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Settlement of Compensation for Erb´s Palsy Approved

A €250,000 settlement of compensation for Erb´s Palsy has been approved in the High Court in favour of an eleven-year-old girl.

Keelan Murray from Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow was born at the National Maternity Hospital in January 2004. During her delivery, Keelan was identified as having shoulder dystocia – an obstetric emergency in which the shoulders fail to clear the pubic symphysis – which can lead to damage to the brachial plexus nerves if excessive force is used to extract the shoulders.

Damaged brachial plexus nerves can heal themselves over a period of time but, as in Keelan´s case, sometimes the damage is permanent – a condition known as Erb´s Palsy. Now eleven years of age, Keelan is unable to fully use her right arm due to nerve damage she sustained during her delivery and has had to adapt to writing with her left hand.

An operation to repair the damage in 2012 failed to improve her condition and through her mother – Sharon – Keelan made a claim for compensation for Erb´s Palsy against the hospital. In her legal action Keelan alleged that traction was incorrectly applied to facilitate her delivery despite shoulder dystocia having been diagnosed.

The National Maternity Hospital denied that Keelan´s condition had been caused by medical negligence but an offer of compensation for Erb´s Palsy amounting to €250,000 was made without admission of liability. As Keelan is still a legal minor, the offer had to be approved by a judge before the settlement could be accepted.

Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told how Keelan is a bright young girl who still manages to participate in sports despite her disability. The judge said that it would be prudent to accept the offer of compensation for Erb´s Palsy in the circumstances and approved the settlement – wishing Keelan well for the future.