A €1.98 million interim settlement of compensation for undiagnosed pregnancy complications has been approved at hearing of the High Court.
The claim for compensation for undiagnosed pregnancy complications was brought by the mother of a boy, who allegedly suffered avoidable foetal distress prior to his birth by emergency Caesarean Section at Cork University Maternity Hospital on 5th October 2010. As a result of being starved of oxygen in the womb, the boy now suffers from cerebral palsy.
It was claimed in the legal action against Cork University Maternity Hospital and the Health Service Executive that scans conducted in June and September 2010 had revealed a low-lying placenta – a foreseeable cause of vasa praevia pregnancy complications.
However, no further action was taken by the hospital to prevent the boy suffering foetal distress before his delivery – a lack of action described in the claim for compensation for undiagnosed pregnancy complications as a failure to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy.
The hospital and Health Service Executive denied liability for the boy´s birth injuries and contested the claim on the grounds it was not normal practice to take precautions against the risk of vasa praevia pregnancy complications. However, an interim settlement of compensation for undiagnosed pregnancy complications was agreed without an admission of liability.
As the claim had been brought by the child´s mother, the interim settlement of compensation for undiagnosed pregnancy complications had to be approved by a court to ensure it was in her son´s best interests. At this week´s approval hearing, the High Court heard about the circumstances prior to the boy´s distressed delivery and the alleged lack of regard to the risk of foetal distress.
The High Court also heard that family and friends had raised enough money for the boy to undergo Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery last year and that, as a result, he is now able to walk short distances for the first time. The court approved the interim settlement of compensation for undiagnosed pregnancy complications and adjourned the case for five years so that reports into the boy´s future needs can be compiled.