A 23 year old woman, who sustained cerebral palsy due to the alleged mis-management of her birth, has agreed to an out-of-court settlement for cerebral palsy during birth amounting to 2.5 million Euros.
Laura Tinney of Buncrana, County Donegal, was born on May 31st 1988 at the Letterkenny County Hospital after her mother – Eleanor – was admitted the week previously, when cardiotocography recordings had shown a deceleration in the foetal heartbeat.
Cardiotocography recordings were not taken after May 29th and when Laura was born it was discovered that she had suffered from oxygen deprivation, causing permanent brain damage. Laura is now confined to a wheelchair, has limited use of her left hand and requires significant care.
In a case brought against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by Laura’s mother, it was alleged that had the cardiotocography recordings been maintained, it would have revealed further abnormalities in the heartbeat which would have prompted immediate delivery.
The HSE denied the claims, but at the High Court in Dublin Mr. Justice John Quirke was advised that the HSE had offered to settle without admission of liability which the family was willing to accept.
Approving the 2.5 million Euros compensation package the judge commented that had the case been allowed to proceed, there was a real chance that Laura would have received no damages – a scenario which the judge said would be “a dreadful outcome”.