The Plaintiffs in this case suffered the tragic loss of their newborn son shortly after his birth in 1986. At the time of these events the Plaintiffs were advised by the clinicians involved in the obstetric care that the death of their newborn son was unexplained. It was not until early 2014 following the airing of the RTE Primetime Investigates documentary into the Portlaoise Hospital scandal that the Plaintiffs formed the opinion that the death of their son may have been caused by medical negligence on the part of the then Health Board who managed the hospital where these events took place. The Plaintiffs requested a copy of the obstetric chart from the hospital in question and the manager of the hospital agreed to a meeting with them which was also attended by an external Consultant Obstetrician who had the opportunity of reviewing the records. It was indicated to the Plaintiffs at that meeting that in fact the Plaintiffs son had died as a result of meconium aspiration which had developed as a result of prolonged hypoxia during the course of labour. The Plaintiffs contacted Augustus Cullen Law who investigated the matter and obtained independent expert obstetric opinion from the United Kingdom which indicated that not only was there unrecognised fetal distress for a protracted period of time prior to the delivery, but also it was clear that the antenatal staff had miscalculated the Plaintiff’s estimated delivery date and had allowed her to progress significantly beyond 42 weeks. There had also been a complete failure to appreciate the significance of meconium stained liquor once labour became established.
Proceedings were issued on behalf of the Plaintiffs against the Health Service Executive as the successor in title to the Eastern Health Board. The Plaintiffs faced a significant argument on the Statute of Limitations due to events having taken place in 1986, however the Defendant sought settlement negotiations prior to the delivery of a Defence to the proceedings. The Plaintiffs settled their claim in the sum of €60,000.00 plus legal costs and were also provided with a written letter of apology for the failings in care by the hospital which was of enormous importance to them personally.
19 April 2017