A €7.5m compensation settlement has been agreed for an 11-year-old boy in relation to an alleged delay in diagnosing a brain tumour, when he was still an infant, at the Children’s University Hospital Temple Street, Dublin.
Counsel for the boy, who cannot be named by order of the court, Dr John O’Mahony SC (appearing with with Cian O’Mahony BL) informed Judge Justice Kevin Corrs the his client were of the belief that there had been three missed chances to diagnose the brain tumour when he was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Through his father, the boy took the legal action for delayed diagnosis compensation against the Children’s Health Ireland and the administrator of the Temple Street hospital. The settlement was without admission of liability.
The court was told that, when he was two years of age, the boy was taken to his family doctor as he was suffering with a weakness of his left upper and lower limbs. Subsequent to this appointment he attended Temple Street, on July 31 2012, for further review. At this appointed his parents claim that they ensured that their worry in relation to the child’s frequently falls were made known to those treating him. Despite this, the decision was taken to reassess the condition a year later.
Six months later, in January 2013, the young boy was again referred to the hospital again. Again his parent informed the physicians in relation to his reduced movements on the left side of his body. On this occasion An MRI scan scheduled for a few months later. Prior to this planned appointed, which had been scheduled for May 2013, the boy’s parents took him back to the hospital again on March 8 2013 as he was drooling from his mouth and dragging his left foot when he walked. As the MRi was already planned for May they were sent home but, three days later the his parents contacted the hospital and were asked to attend for an MRI on March 14, 2013. This scan indicated that the child was suffering with a brain tumour.
It could be seen that the brain tumour was increasing in size. Emergency surgery was carried out to remove it and the boy underwent a course of chemotherapy. However, he still suffers with a left side weakness and some sight deficiencies in addition to this.
Counsel for the boy and his family told Justice Cross that they they do not agree for the defence’s claims that any alleged delay would not have made a significant difference to the well being of the boy as he would still have had to undergo surgery.
The Court was told that the child is happy and well looked after by his adoring parents who ‘smother him with love’.
In the legal action it was claimed the hospital was negligent on July 31 2012 due to not conducting an adequate assessment and full neurological examination on the first occasion the boy attended the hospital. Additionally it was claimed that the boy’s issue with dragging his left foot was explained by those treating him as being due to leg-length inequality.
Finally it was claimed that a failure to arrange for an MRI scan in July 2012 resulted in the loss of the opportunity to conduct surgery at the best time possible. All of these claims were refuted by the defence.
As he was giving his approval for the compensation settlement for delayed diagnosis, Justice Cross said it was a very good one and he wished the boy and his family all the best.