Girl (13) awarded €4 million pluscosts arising from birth injuries

KM –v- The Coombe Hospital

On12th February 2014, the High Court approved a settlement achieved byAugustus Cullen Law in a claim on behalf of a 13 year old girl who, it wasalleged, suffered from severe asphyxia during labour and delivery.  The Plaintiff’s legal team alleged that thePlaintiff’s injuries resulted from the failure of midwifery and obstetric staffat the Defendant Hospital to recognise and react in a timely manner to signs ofsevere fetal distress demonstrated on the CTG trace.  Liability was not admitted by the Defendantin the proceedings.  Both negligence andcausation were disputed and causation, in particular, was very complex in thecase.  Whereas it was alleged by thePlaintiff’s legal team that all of the Plaintiff’s brain damage, or the vastmajority thereof, occurred while she was in the care of the Defendant Hospital,the Defendant’s experts were of the view that all, or a very significantportion of that damage, had occurred before the Plaintiff’s mother everattended Hospital in labour.  Indeed, thePlaintiff’s parents had previously consulted another Solicitor and had receivedan unsupportive expert report, but ultimately they decided to get a secondopinion from our firm.  It was commoncase that the abnormal CTG and fetal distress in labour was due to placentalabruption. 

Thebaby girl was born in poor condition and suffered the effects of mild tomoderate hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in the neonatal period and wasinitially diagnosed as suffering from Cerebral Palsy.  As time went on however, the minor Plaintiffmade unexpectedly good progress and her motor problems resolved almostcompletely, but she continues to have very significant cognitive deficits andis very significantly delayed in areas such as speech and language, executivefunction and planning and she is classified as having a moderate learningdisability.  The parties in the caseagreed that the Plaintiff would never live an independent life and wouldrequire somebody with her to assist her at all times.

Atthe time of the Plaintiff’s birth, her parents were advised by the Hospitalstaff that nothing could have been done to prevent her injuries and at thatpoint, it was anticipated that she would be severely affected, both physicallyand cognitively. 

ThePlaintiff’s claim included claims for suitable accommodation, a carer to lookafter the Plaintiff at all times, Speech & Language Therapy, AssistiveTechnology and Aids and Appliances. 

TheTrial of the matter was specially fixed to commence on 11th February2014 and on 12th February 2014, the matter was settled without anadmission of liability for a compromised lump sum amount of €4 million pluscosts. 

3rd March 2014

19 March 2014

    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

    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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