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Brain-Damaged Boy Receives $9.4 Million Malpractice Settlement

disabled boyA medical malpractice settlement reached in November 2013 has made a world of difference for a severely disabled young boy. The parents of the child spent five years in pursuit of compensation for their son’s injuries, which they allege occurred after errors were made during his birth.

Today, the six-year-old child continues to struggle with the challenges of cerebral palsy but is doing much better thanks to the many types of assistance the settlement has afforded.

Failure to perform timely C-section

The couple took their medical malpractice lawsuit to the high court in Ireland in 2013, after struggling for many years to manage their son’s birth injuries on their own. The parents claimed that the refusal of hospital staff to perform a cesarean section when they requested it resulted in serious birth complications and injuries to both the mother and son. The couple sought €8.5 million (roughly $9.4 million USD) from the Health Service Executive (HSE) and State Claims Agency (SCA) to provide their son with the necessary care to help him overcome at least some of his disabilities and lead as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

According to the complaint, the mother plaintiff had requested a cesarean section when she was pregnant in 2007, due to complications during the birth of her daughter that resulted in the need for a C-section. She had also lost a child at 16 weeks between the birth of her daughter and her current pregnancy. Despite her request, her physician and other agents of HSE discouraged her, telling her it would be a “feather in her cap” if she delivered this child vaginally.

Medical staff stuck to the plan of a vaginal delivery even when they realized the baby would likely be more than nine pounds. They did not consider a C-section when labor stalled. Instead, they gave the mother a drug that led to the rupture of both her bladder and uterus, causing her severe injury and causing her unborn son to suffer significant brain damage. The baby was eventually delivered by emergency cesarean after complications continued to unfold.

When the HSE and SCA refused to admit liability in the birth injuries of the child or provide compensation to the parents, they took legal action. On November 29, 2013, the €8.5 settlement was reached and approved by the High Court. The judge overseeing the case even chided the HSE for the delay in the settlement, a highly irregular action prompted by the fact that this was the second case the judge had seen in a week where settlement was delayed by the entity.

Settlement allows family to build new specially-equipped home

Since the money has been awarded, the family has been able to move into a new home that is better equipped to deal with the child’s disabilities. They have also proceeded with numerous renovations on the new property to make it more accessible for their son, including a state-of-the-art bathroom, automated sliding doors and therapeutic playground. Currently, the parents are constructing an indoor gym for their son that will allow him to get essential exercise even when the weather turns cold.

Since the family has had the means to provide for their son, he has made significant progress in his ability to function. He can now walk unsupported for short distances and is now able to care for his personal needs thanks to his innovative bathroom. He is also attending school, swim classes and special therapy sessions that are all helping him to advance.

The court oversees the settlement allocations, ensuring there will be ample funds to provide sufficient care for the child throughout his life.

  1. Irish Examiner, A New House and Plenty of Assistance Add Up to Money Well Spent for Dylan,

  2. The Irish Times, HSE Criticized for Five-Year Delay as Boy Awarded €8.5m,

  3. The Journal, Parents of Dylan Gaffney Hayes Release Statement about €8.5m HSE Settlement,

  4. Special Report: Fighting Back against Bad Medicine,