Augustus Cullen Law have recently secured damages of €2,626,800 for a girl, now aged 5 who suffered catastrophic injuries following her birth in 2011. The settlement was reached on an interim basis to provide for the Plaintiff’s needs over the next five years.
The Plaintiff, through her mother, commenced proceedings against the Defendant Hospital in 2014 having previously instructed Augustus Cullen Law due to concerns regarding the level of care provided to the Plaintiff and her mother at the time of her delivery. Augustus Cullen Law considered the matter and obtain independent medical reports from experts in Obstetrics, Neurology and Paediatrics. The expert opinion was to the effect that, given the position and presentation of the foetus, delivery ought to have been by caesarean section rather than by forceps which actually occurred. The Plaintiff’s experts were of the view that the Plaintiff suffered a period of acute hypoxia which was caused by the umbilical cord becoming trapped and occluded either between the forceps and the foetal head or between the foetal head and maternal pelvis. Therefore, had the Plaintiff been delivered by caesarean section, without an attempt at forceps, the bradycardia and the asphyxia would have been avoided.
As a result of the period of hypoxia, the Plaintiff suffered a severe brain injury which caused delayed development and significant neurological abnormalities. She was subsequently diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy along with cortical blindness. As a result of these injuries the Plaintiff had extensive needs in terms of care, assistive technology, aids and appliances, physiotherapy, accommodation, neuropsychology and speech and language therapy. Augustus Cullen Law obtained input from areas in all of these areas in order to fully assess the future needs of the Plaintiff.
Proceedings were fully defended up until approximately 6 weeks prior to the scheduled trial date at which point liability was admitted in full by the Defendant. Following the admission of liability, efforts began to negotiate a settlement of the Plaintiff’s claim. These negotiations were complicated and protracted and ultimately the Plaintiff’s case was settled on the morning of the trial. The settlement reached was on the basis that the Defendant made a payment to the Plaintiff in full and final settlement of her claim for General Damages, Retrospective Care, Accommodation and Out of Pocket Expense to date. However, given the Plaintiff’s young age there was considerable debate and uncertainty regarding her future life expectancy and as a result her claim for future care, equipment and therapies was agreed on an interim five year basis. The Plaintiff’s case will therefore be reviewed again in 2022 with a view to either a full and final lump sum payment being made to cover the Plaintiff’s future needs at that point or, alternatively, so that a Periodic Payment Order can be made if appropriate legislation providing for such payments has been enacted at that point. As part of the settlement of the case, the Defendant also issued an unreserved and unequivocal apology for the failings in the care provided and the distress and suffering caused to the Plaintiff, and her family, as a result.
If you have any further queries, please contact Neil Kidd, Senior Associate.
03 July 2017