A settlement of compensation for negligent spinal surgery has been approved at the High Court in favour of a young woman from Dublin.
On December 8th 2009, Emily Casey from Dalkey in Dublin was admitted to Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children having been diagnosed with scoliosis – the curvature of the spine. The condition was due to Emily having contracted meningitis when she was four years of age and only being able to walk thereafter with the help of a frame.
An operation was scheduled in which a special screw – known as a pedicle – would be inserted to help adjust Emily´s spine and reverse the curvature; however, the screw was incorrectly inserted into her spinal cord and Emily was left paralysed from the chest down. Now 18 years of age, Emily is confined to a wheelchair and unable to live an independent life.
Through her mother – Stephanie – Emily claimed compensation for negligent spinal surgery against Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children and the consultant orthopaedic surgeon whose care she had been under – Dr David Moore. The defendants refused to accept their joint liability for Emily´s injuries until Friday of last week; when an interim €1.668 million settlement of compensation for negligent spinal surgery was agreed.
As the claim for negligent spinal surgery had been made on behalf of a minor, the case was presented to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. After hearing that Emily had remained in hospital until April 2010, and was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre for further treatment, Judge Cross said that he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.
The judge then adjourned the case until later in the month for issues to be resolved which prevented the settlement from being a full settlement of compensation for negligent spinal surgery. Representatives of Our Lady´s Hospital are also preparing an apology, which will be read to the family in the High Court. Emily’s mother said the family, and especially Emily, were relieved that liability had been admitted. “Nobody would admit that a mistake had been made until last week” she said.