€4.5m settlement agreed in action against maternity hospital. Augustus Cullen Law acted for the Fitzpatrick family in this marathon case.
The following article was published in the Irish Independent on 25 June 2008 regarding this case:
A SIX-YEAR-OLD brain damaged boy is to receive €4.5m in compensation from a maternity hospital after a marathon legal battle.
The award came after a 59-day High Court negligence action was taken by the youngster, though his mother, against the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dublin.
The total legal bill is estimated at €4m which the hospital will pay along with one of the biggest compensation settlements in the State’s history.
The hospital, which denied negligence, settled with Paul Kieron Fitzpatrick without admitting liability.
However, the case is due back in the Supreme Court next week on foot of the hospital’s appeal against a High Court finding, last March, that it was liable for Paul’s injuries.
Following yesterday’s settlement, both sides will apply to the Supreme Court to set aside the High Court’s finding.
Paul sued through his mother Michelle Fitzpatrick of St Catherine’s Close, Carman Hall, Dublin, for injuries allegedly sustained during his birth on December 26, 2001.
After the State’s longest-running birth injury case, Mr Justice Daniel Herbert found the hospital was liable for Paul’s injuries.
In his 109-page judgment, he found Paul would not be severely mentally and physically disabled except for the “substandard and negligent” management of his birth.
Paul should have been delivered some half an hour earlier than he was and, if that had occurred, he would not have sustained irreversible brain injury leaving him totally dependent for life.
The case was due before Judge Herbert again yesterday for assessment of damages.
The assessment hearing was expected to spend several weeks on issues including Paul’s life expectancy. But, after discussions, the court was told the matter had been settled for €4.5m, plus costs, without an admission of liability.
Counsel for Paul, Aongus O Brolchain, said there would be an application to the Supreme Court next week to have Judge Herbert’s decision set aside.
His clients were satisfied to accept the settlement, Mr O Brolchain said.
He added that it could be a further two-and-a-half years before the Supreme Court would determine the appeal, and, while his side were confident the hospital would not win, it was possible the case could be referred back to the High Court for a re-hearing.
The Fitzpatricks were living in an apartment and wanted to buy a house specially fitted to cater for Paul’s needs as well as pay for the aids, appliances and therapies he requires.
Paul’s mother Michelle told the court that while there would be no admission of liability, she and her family “would like to move on”.
The court approved the settlement and the judge paid tribute to the care provided to Paul by his mother and family.
Outside court, Ms Fitzpatrick read out a prepared statement in which she said the family now looked forward to leaving the apartment and getting a house with a garden and a swing for Paul.
“The hospital has been fighting this case for years and the fact that they have now settled the case for €4.5m in our opinion speaks for itself. We would now like to try and move on with our lives and make a good future for our son Paul Kieron and give him all things that he needs,” she said.
Click on here to view a pdf of the articles published in various newspapers during June 2008 regarding this case.
12 June 2008