Viktoria Curilla –v- The National Maternity Hospital
On 29th July 2016, Mr Justice Cross in the High Court approved a settlement achieved by Augustus Cullen Law in a complex birth injury claim on behalf of a 7 year old Dublin girl who, it was alleged, suffered a catastrophic brain injury due to negligence on the part of the midwifery and obstetric staff caring for her during her mother’s labour. Liability was not admitted by the Defendants in the case, but the Plaintiff’s legal team alleged that she suffered from severe asphyxia before delivery resulting in brain damage and quadriplegic dystonic Cerebral Palsy. The Plaintiff’s legal team alleged that these injuries resulted from the failure of midwifery and obstetric staff at the Defendant Hospital to properly monitor the Plaintiff’s heart rate in utero, in particular after the Plaintiff’s mother was given an epidural, and to deliver her in a timely manner. Continuous monitoring by way of a CTG trace was not carried out following the epidural and rather, the Plaintiff’s heart rate was listed to intermittently by the midwifery staff. It was the view of the Plaintiff’s obstetric and midwifery experts that continuous monitoring once an epidural has been administered is mandated because of the effect this can potentially have on the fetus and that it was substandard practice not to carry out such continuous monitoring They believe that had such monitoring been carried out, then signs of fetal distress would have been noted earlier leading to earlier delivery of baby Viktoria, before she suffered her severe brain injury. The Plaintiff’s legal team also alleged that once it was discovered that the Plaintiff’s heart rate had dropped dramatically (bradycardia) there was a delay, either on the part of the obstetric Registrar or the Midwives in reacting to this discovery and expediting the Plaintiff’s delivery.
Liability was denied by the Defendants in the case and the matter was fixed for Trial in November 2016, but settled in July.
The minor Plaintiff in the case was very severely injured. She requires care for all of her activities of daily living and is severely visually impaired, although it is believed that she can distinguish between light and dark. She is completely dependant on other people and has been PEG fed through a tube in her stomach since 2010. She suffers from seizures on a daily basis and has moderate scoliosis. She cannot walk or talk and has been classified as having the most severe level of impaired motor function.
The Plaintiff’s claim included claims for suitable accommodation, loss of earnings and general damages for pain and suffering as well as the cost of ongoing requirements such as nursing care, speech & language therapy, assistive technology, aids and appliances and physiotherapy for the next 3 years, at which time her ongoing requirements into the future will be reassessed.
The matter was ruled on 29th July 2016 with a three year interim payment of €2.4 million plus costs.
If you have any further queries, please contact Joice Carthy, Managing Partner.
- http://www.rte.ie/news/player/six-one-news-web/2016/0729/ (clip 10.05 – 12.22)
08 August 2016