For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

$12M Awarded to Family for Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries

court houseThe family of a girl born in 2001 has finally resolved their birth injury lawsuit against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland. A co-defendant was a physician at the hospital where the girl was born. The HSE made an interim settlement of a little less than $3 million to the family about two years ago.

With the announcement of the new judgment, the total is about $12 million. After the case resolved, the girl’s father acknowledged that it was a substantial sum, yet it didn’t properly reflect the scope of the losses the family has suffered. “As in other cases, there has never been and probably will never be any accountability for what happened,” he said.

Girl diagnosed with cerebral palsy

The child, who is now a teenager, lacks any ability to care for herself. She is wholly dependent upon others and requires continuous care 24/7. The girl cannot ambulate by herself. Not only does she require a wheelchair, she can only communicate with her eyes. Both of her parents had to quit their jobs to provide care for their daughter.

The child’s permanent disabilities are the result of severe brain damage at birth, which was caused by oxygen deprivation. She was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy after her birth on November 14, 2001. Four days prior, her mother had arrived at Midlands Regional Hospital, saying that she believed her water had broken. Medical staff reassured her and sent her home again. On November 13, the mother returned to the hospital and underwent an ultrasound. She insisted on being admitted to the hospital, despite the reluctance of the staff.

While in the hospital, the defendant doctor administered medication once, but the mother claims not to have seen a physician again until after her daughter was born. In fact, she claims that none of the pediatric staff attended to her until five minutes after she gave birth. At birth, the girl showed signs of poor health. She suffered seizures and had to be transported to another hospital in Dublin.

The girl’s parents filed a medical malpractice claim, alleging that the substandard care administered to the mother and child led to the permanent disability.

Medical malpractice settlement

When the initial settlement was awarded two years ago, it was with the caveat that the final settlement would be determined upon assessment of the girl’s future needs. The initial settlement was also announced with an admission of liability.

The counsel for the HSE and the defendant doctor issued an apology to the family in court. Yet, no amount of money or admission of liability can reverse the effects of the substandard care, the father pointed out. While speaking with the media, the father was adamant in his position that the lack of accountability in the medical profession delayed for nearly a decade his daughter’s access to the therapies and support she needed. He called for a legal duty of truthfulness for doctors, stating that, “Such a duty would create a culture of honesty and openness of lessons learned and hopefully better standards of care. Better standards of care would mean fewer injuries and deaths and less human suffering.”

  1. RTE News, Girl awarded further €9m for brain injury at birth,

  2. Irish Mirror, Girl of 12 wins €2.6 million damages for horrendous injuries suffered at birth,