On 31 July 2019, Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors secured a settlement of €15 million for a thirteen-year-old boy, Arron O’Keeffe, with cerebral palsy. Managing Partner at Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors, Joice Carthy and Associate Solicitor, Aoife O’Kane represented Arron and negotiated the settlement on his behalf. This follows two previous interim payments of €2.6 million bringing the total amount to €17.6 million.
Arron sued the Health Service Executive through his mother, Helen O’Keeffe, as a result of medical negligence at the time of his birth on 11 April, 2006 at Erinville Hospital, Western Road, Cork. Liability was conceded in the case six years ago.
The court heard that the HSE was negligent and in breach of duty at the time of Ms. O’Keeffe’s pregnancy, induction of labour and delivery. Arron suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain, leading to cerebral palsy. Ms. O’Keeffe was admitted to Erinville Hospital on 11 April 2006, for a planned induction of labour. A cardiotocograph trace was started before 8am which showed abnormalities in the foetal heartbeat.
At 1.30pm, a decision to carry out an emergency caesarean was made, but when Arron was born an hour later, he was in very poor condition and had to be vigorously resuscitated. The court heard Arron has attended national school for a few hours a day, but has constant epileptic seizures and cannot attend school very often. Arron has limited speech along with some mobility and is able to walk a few steps with help.
Outside the Four Courts, Aoife O’Kane read a statement on behalf of Arron’s family:
“We think it is important for people to understand that this settlement is not some kind of lottery win for Arron, all of this money will be badly needed so that Arron can live as normal life as possible for rest of his life.”
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement, stressing that the actual amount of compensation was less than half a million euro while the rest would go towards providing Arron with care and therapy.
Following the settlement, Managing Partner of Augustus Cullen Law, Joice Carthy said it was worth noting that the case was settled during settlement talks, commenting that:
“I think it is worth noting that this particular case was settled during settlement talks, facilitated by the defendants, which took place well in advance of the trial date. This avoided the need for Arron’s family to have to go through a full trial with the stress and worry that invariably entails. Reaching a resolution at settlement talks or mediation, which reduces the worry for families such as Arron’s, is better for and appreciated by those families, in what can often be a contentious legal process.”
In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
For more information, please contact:
Joice Carthy, Managing Partner
Aoife O’Kane, Associate Solicitor
31 July 2019