A young boy, who now suffers from severe spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, has been awarded an interim settlement of compensation by the High Court of Dublin.
The young boy and his twin were delivered in October 2010 at Cork’s University Maternity Hospital by an emergency Caesarean Section. However, whilst the boy’s brother was declared healthy, this boy suffered foetal distress in utero and as such was weak after delivery. He was then diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.
The twins’ mother, acting on behalf of her second child, made a claim for medical negligence compensation for the failure to diagnose vasa praevia complications during her pregnancy. Vasa praevia is a condition in which the foetal blood vessels are near the internal uterine opening, putting them at risk of rupturing during labour. The woman, who has remained anonymous but is known to live in Midelton, Co. Cork, alleges that earlier scans revealed that one of the placentas was low-lying, one of the critical indicators of vasa praevia.
Both the Health Service Executives (HSE) and Cork University Maternity Hospital – against whom the allegations were made – denied that they were liable for the birth injury. They claimed that it was not standard practice to conduct further scans or tests to eliminate the risk of vasa praevia complications. Despite this, both parties agree to pay an interim sum of compensation without admitting guilt.
As the claim was made on behalf of a minor it had to be approved by a High Court judge before any settlement could be awarded. The approval hearing was held earlier this week at the high Court of Dublin, where the judge was told about the circumstances of the pregnancy and birth and what could have been done to prevent the boy’s injuries.
The court was also informed of the young boy’s progress in spite of his difficult condition. In 2014, he received a National Children of Courage Award. His friends and family had also raised funds for him to fly to the United States for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, which allowed him to walk for the first time. However, he still requires therapy for speech and language acquisition.
The interim settlement was approved by the High Court. The case was then adjourned for five years, after which an additional assessment will be conducted.