This article originally appeared in The Irish Times

The president of the High Court approved a final €7.5 million payment for a thirteen-year-old boy with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy as part of the settlement of his action over his care at birth, bringing his full settlement to €11.3 million, following an interim settlement of €2.1 million made in 2013 and €1.6 million made in 2015.

The case was against the HSE over the care the boy received in the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick at the time of his birth in 2005.

It was claimed there was delay in carrying out an emergency cesarean section which resulted in catastrophic injury leaving him blind, physically and mentally disabled, requiring 24-hour care and ongoing treatment and medication.

Liability was admitted by the HSE.

On Tuesday, the judge was told that the boy's father was active in his care, but had since passed away. 

Actuaries for the family had estimated he should get a final payment of €8.8 million based on a life expectancy of another 15 years, the court heard. Experts for the HSE had estimated another 12 years and as a result the €7.5 million offer had been made.

The annual care bill alone was €517,000, the court heard.

The mother told the judge her son was in this position “through no fault of his or of mine”. She further said that the family live in a remote part of the country, where the necessary care for her son is hard to obtain. Two nurses who had provided care changed jobs around the time of her husband’s death.

“We had to bury my husband while trying to get on with minding (my son) and trying to recruit a new nurse”.

After saying he believed it was in the child’s best interests to accept the €7.5 million offer but would give the mother time to discuss the matter with her family, the judge adjourned the hearing briefly.

When the case resumed, the mother said they would accept the offer. The judge directed the money be paid into the account for wards of court and invested with a view to ensuring the boy will have a sufficient income stream to be looked after properly for the rest of his life.

The court heard approval has been given for an extension to the family home so carers can be accommodated and a hydrotherapy pool can be built for the boy.

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Jamie Hart, Partner, Medical Negligence Group 

15 May 2019

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