Darragh O’Leary Crowley v HSE

On the 13 May 2013 Augustus Cullen Law succeeded in settling, on an interim award basis, a claim on behalf of a 7 year old little boy who suffered from prolonged, partial asphyxia during labour as a result of failure on behalf of the midwifery and obstetric staff at The Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital to recognise the obvious signs of foetal distress demonstrated on the CTG trace. Rather than intervening immediately to perform an emergency Caesarean Section, the attempt to continue inducing labour in the mother was persisted for a number of hours, during which time the infant Plaintiff suffered prolonged partial asphyxia. 

Darragh was born in poor condition, suffered the effects of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in the newborn period and has gone on to develop spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Darragh also has suffered significant cognitive impairment and requires enormous assistance, care and support for many of the activities of daily living and will never lead an independent life. His parents have endeavoured to ensure that he has received the best care possible since his birth and even took the step of relocating their family to the country in order that they might build a larger house to accommodate his needs. 

Darragh’s family initially contacted a local solicitor local solicitor who engaged a UK based obstetric consultant who unfortunately provided a wholly inadequate and superficial report and an opinion which failed to address the key issues . Regrettably the local solicitor did not appreciate the shortcomings in the obstetrician’s opinion and approach. When the case was referred to and reviewed by the ACL medical negligence team strong advice was given that a second expert opinion should be sought. This report was strongly critical of the standard of care and came to the conclusion that Darragh should have been delivered some 7 hours earlier than he was in fact delivered. Proceedings were issued against the Defendant and subsequent reports on both negligence and liability were equally supportive.

Liability was admitted by the Defendant in their Defence delivered in these proceedings and from an early stage the case proceeded as an assessment of damages. A trial date was fixed for July 2013 but, at the instigation of the Defendant, a Mediation meeting was arranged between the parties. Ultimately, an interim settlement was arrived at to cover the Plaintiff’s damages and care requirements for the next two years. A total sum of €2.15 million and costs was agreed which represented the full value of the claim for care requirements, loss of earnings, general damages and housing needs. It is anticipated that the Government will shortly introduce legislation to provide for an annual payment for life, index linked to cover future care costs. In anticipation that such legislation will be introduced the case has been adjourned for a further period of two years, at which time the Plaintiff will claim further damages for future care costs, aids and appliances etc. on an annual basis. 

Within the interim damages award of €2.15 million is an amount of €350,000 to cover the Plaintiff’s care needs over the next two year period. A further sum also makes provision for aids, appliances, orthotics, physiotherapy, neurophysiotherapy and assistive technology for the next two years in the amount of €165,060. The interim settlement also caters for future housing accommodation for the Plaintiff in the sum of €550.000. 

Just as importantly to the family, in addition to all of the above, the Defendant provided Darragh, his parents and family with a written apology for what occurred. 

If you have any further queries, please contact any of the following from our medical negligence group:

22 May 2013

    Dear Joice… you are and have been very professional, sympathetic and dignified in all of your dealings with us and I put that down to one simple fact. You listened.

    James, Medical Negligence Client

    Geraldine, Thank you most sincerely for all your hard work and commitment to these children.

    Freda McKittrick, Head of Barnardos Beacon Guardian Ad Litem service

    Neil is an absolute gentleman to deal with – kind, tactful and very efficient. We could not praise him highly enough. He brought us through a horrible time.

    Sean, Medical Negligence Client

    Many thanks again for a job well done. We really appreciate all your hard work and practical advice.

    Corporate client in a commercial litigation matter

    Dear Jamie, You and your team in ACL were so professional, diligent and prompt. I have recommended you and the firm, and will continue to do so.

    Lorraine McCarthy

    Gus Cullen and the firm’s approach to addressing the key issues was professional, yet personal, efficient yet attentive.


    The process is a difficult one and when you deal with people who are so professional and yet genuine/real people, it makes it so much easier... so thanks a million.


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