AK –v– Coombe Lying-In Hospital
The firm recently successfully concluded a complex birth injury action for a child who sustained brain injury at the time of his birth in 2004. The facts of the case were:
On 6th April 2004 the infant Plaintiff was born in poor condition and he required resuscitation. Following his birth he suffered from seizures and other abnormalities and scans of his brain revealed that he had sustained brain damage. He was subsequently diagnosed with suffering from spastic quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. CT and MRI brain scans performed shortly after birth and at three years of age were consistent with a pronged partial hypoxic ischaemic insult i.e. a deprivation of blood/oxygen to the infant’s brain while he was in the womb which persisted for a significant period of time. The CTG trace taken in labour showed evidence of some fetal distress including a lack of variability. Furthermore, the CTG trace showed uterine hypercontractility i.e. that the infant Plaintiff’s mother was having contractions too frequently which will ultimately cause fetal distress. The Plaintiff argued that this uterine hypercontractility was caused/contributed to by excessive use of the drug Oxytocin used to accelerate the labour.
Proceedings were issued and a full Defence was filed by the Defendant Hospital. Negligence and the cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries were fully contested by the Defendant as were the extent of the Plaintiff’s injuries. On 2nd March 2010 the case came on for Trial. Negotiations were commenced and the issue of liability was resolved as between the parties on 3rd March 2010 and it was decided that the case would run as an assessment of damages only. There was a huge difference of opinion between the Plaintiff and Defendant with regard to the extent of the injuries suffered by the Plaintiff and consequently the care he would require for the rest of his life. The parties agreed that the child would have an almost normal life expectancy as he was only very mildly physically affected by his Cerebral Palsy and was fully mobile. Much of the Plaintiff’s evidence in relation to the child’s future care requirements was heard and ultimately on Tuesday 23rd March, the case was settled on a compromised basis for €3.4million plus costs, with the settlement being approved by Mr Justice Quirke. The settlement amount in this case reflected the huge difference of opinion between the Plaintiff’s experts and the Defendant’s experts in relation to the care that would be required by the minor Plaintiff for the rest of his life.
26 March 2010