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Girl with Brain Injury has €3m Interim Compensation Settlement Approved in High Court

An 18-month-old girl who sustained significant brain injuries after, it was claimed, she was allowed to leave hospital without the correct post-surgery antibiotics has had an interim settlement of €3m approved in the High Court.

Now 14-years of age, Knocknacarra Co Galway native Chloe Flaherty experienced seizures ollowing cranial surgery, just days after she was sent home from hospital in 2009.

Senior Counsel Des O’Neill, representing Chloe in court, stated that the young girl she had been prescribed with a course of antibiotics as she was experiencing high temperatures in the time leading up to her discharge from Children’s University Hospital Temple Street in April 2009. However, when she was allowed to leave she was not provided with adequate antibiotics or a prescription.

As they were seeking advice on what they should do about their daughter’s condition, Chloe’s parents twice contacted the hospital in the days after her discharge looking for advice. The advice given to them was that they should keep giving Chloe Calpol as she was experiencing typical recovery side effects that were not unusual. Sadly, just one week later the young girl suffered seizures for a period of more than one hour who resulted in her sustaining a catastrophic brain injury.

Mr O’Neill informed the Judge that, following this incident, Chloe was kept in hospital for two years until her parents successfully applied to have her released to their care. Since that time that have provided all care for her their daughter at all time. He added that, prior to undergoing the cranial surgery, Chloe was a cheerful, happy young girl who had met all her milestones.

After she was born at at Galway University Hospital in October 2007, Chloe was referred to Temple Street where she was diagnosed with unicoronal synostosis in March 2008. A srugical procedure was recommended to remedy this. Chloe’s parent were informed that this would be a simple procedure and rarely leads to any complications. However, when the surgery was carried out in April 2009 by by a plastic surgeon and a paediatric neurosurgeon, Chloe suffered significant blood loss during the surgery and in the days afterwards was given antibiotics.

Th elegal action alleged that there was a failure to properly advise Chloe’s parents in relation to the possibility of infection or brain damage being experienced. Additionally it was claimed that and that the defendants were negligent in discharging hallowing her to leave the hospital without antibiotics. The defendants refuted these claims, and the court was told that if the case had gone to a full hearing, the defence would argue that the seizures could have been caused by a genetic condition.

The approval given was for n interim settlement of €3m for the next four years, at which time it the case will return to court for a further assessment to ascertain if all the young girl’s needs are being met. The settlement was agreed with no admission of liability.

Solicitor for the Flaherty family, Ciaran Tansey told the Judge that they predicted that the settlement agreed in four years’ time could be one of largest approved by the Irish courts as it will cover 100% of the girl’s needs for the remainder of Chloe’s life.

Presiding Judge Justice Paul Coffey gave his approval for the proposed settlement and wish the Flaherty family well for the future.

Speaking on behalf of Chloe’s parents, Patrick and Samantha outside of court, Mr Tansey stated that this approval brings to an end a ten-year legal battle which was settled “at the 11th hour” and while the settlement “will never offer adequate recompense for what has happened to Chloe or Samantha and Patrick” he said that they accept their child will be looked after financially.