Birth Injury Compensation Claim
In order to make a successful birth injury compensation claim, it has to be shown that a mother or child suffered an injury which could have been avoided “in the circumstances and at the time” had another course of action been taken. As birth injury compensation claims in Ireland are determined by medical opinion rather than by tangible evidence, the Injuries Board Ireland decline to assess claims for birth injury compensation in Ireland. Therefore, the procedures for making a birth injury compensation claim are much different than for a personal injury and, to find out more about what is involved, you are invited to call our Free Help Line and discuss your claim for birth injury compensation directly with an experienced Irish solicitor.
Posted: May 6th, 2016
The High Court of Dublin have awarded a teenage girl suffering from cerebral palsy a final compensation settlement of €5.6 million.
On the 11th October 1999, Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital. However, though Mary had been diagnosed with foetal distress syndrome, there was no consultant available to assist the delivery and her birth was delayed by eight minutes. However, when she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, she had already sustained dramatic brain damage because of the oxygen deprivation.
Mary has since suffered from cerebral palsy and, acting on behalf of her daughter, Maura Malee made a claim for birth injury compensation against the Health Service Executive for a delayed delivery. In the claim, Maura alleges that – had a consultant paediatrician been made available at the hospital quickly enough after the detection of a slow foetal heart rate – Mary would not have been deprived of oxygen.
An interim settlement of compensation worth €1.5 million was awarded by Ms Justice Mary Irvine in March 2014. However, the case was then adjourned for two years such that a new system of structured periodic settlements could be introduced. However, two years on and there has been no such introduction of a new system. As such, Mary returned to the High Court so that a final settlement could be approved.
A representative for Mayo General Hospital read an apology to Mary at the hearing, apologising for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth” . Mr Justice Peter Kelly was then informed that negotiations had lead to an agreed settlement of €5.56 million.
Mary testified that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”, after which the judge approved the settlement. He also commended Mary for her heroism in facing the difficulties of her disability.
Posted: September 18th, 2013
A senior consultant has claimed that more doctors will reduce cerebral palsy cases in Ireland and has called on the Health Service Executive to address the problem.
Dr Sam Coulter-Smith – Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin – made the claim while addressing a conference organised to hear from the medical profession, solicitors and families who have suffered the consequences of cerebral palsy on how cerebral palsy cases in Ireland could be reduced.
Delegates heard that the number of babies suffering cerebral palsy injuries each year had remained unchanged for the past twenty years despite technological advances leading to more accurate foetal monitoring and more deliveries being performed by Caesarean section.
He felt that a significant number of cerebral palsy cases in Ireland could be avoided if experienced senior doctors were available twenty-four hours a day, and not just “on call” after their contracted hours of 8.00pm – when they could be many miles away when a medical emergency occurs.
Dr Coulter-Smith said that decisions relating to the health of a mother and baby were being left to junior doctors when consultants were not immediately available and “there needs to be twenty-four hour cover of labour wards by senior doctors to address this problem.”
The doctor continued by explaining the situation at his own hospital where a second tier of experienced junior doctors had been formed to provide emergency cover when a consultant was not available. He admitted that the establishment of a second level was contrary to the advice given by the Health Service Executive to reduce the number of medical staff working at the hospital, but informed the conference that the State currently spends €45 million annually on compensation for cerebral palsy cases in Ireland – a figure equivalent to the Rotunda Hospital´s operating budget for an entire year.
Posted: April 28th, 2013
The family of a girl, who suffered traumatic brain injuries at birth when a locum doctor failed to recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section, have had their obstretic negligence damages claim settled at the High Court.
Mrs Sonya Butler from Dunmore in County Waterford was admitted to Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005 after a healthy pregnancy and was looking forward to given birth to her first baby. However, her consultant obstetrician she had been seeing – John Bermingham – and the hospital´s two other obstetric doctors had all been allowed to take leave at the same time, and the hospital had called in a locum – Mahmud Khbuli – to cover for them.
Tragically, Dr Khbuli failed to see the necessity for a Caesarean section procedure during Sonya´s pre-operative assessment and, when Sonya´s daughter – Alex – was delivered, she had suffered an oxygen deficiency in the womb which resulted in the little girl suffering brain damage and being born tetraplegic.
Through her mother, Alex made a compensation claim for hospital obstetric negligence against the hospital, Dr Bermingham and Dr Khbuli; alleging that the hospital management was negligent by failing to have an adequate number of properly trained and competent medical staff to manage her delivery, that Dr Bermingham should not have taken annual leave of holidays when the family had opted for private treatment and that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment by Dr Khbuli was substandard.
At the High Court, the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted that surgical errors were made which should never have happened and an apology was read out to the family by a representative of Waterford Regional Hospital. The HIgh Court heard that the action against Drs Bermingham and Khbuli had been dropped and compensation of €1.4 million had been agreed as an interim settlement of the family´s claim for hospital obstetric negligence.
The figure is to be reviewed in two years time, when Alex´s future care needs have been assessed and there may be the option of a structured settlement for the family’s obstretic negligence damages claim.
Posted: August 20th, 2012
A woman, who was starved of oxygen at birth and has suffered a lifetime of learning difficulties, has had a settlement of compensation for her badly managed birth approved at London´s Royal Courts of Justice.
Susanne Turner (45) from Wittersham in Kent was born at Buchanan Street Hospital in St Leonards-on-Sea after a delayed Caesarean operation due to neither a surgeon nor an anaesthetist being available to carry out the operation the procedure. Due to this, Susanne was deprived of oxygen in the womb, not able to breathe on her own when she was born and suffered severe brain damage.
Susanne´s parents – Christopher and Sandra – raised Susanne without any help or assistance, and unaware that they were entitled to claim compensation for the badly managed managed birth, until they read a magazine article which explained Susanne´s rights to compensation.
When they looked for legal advice about their situation, Christopher and Sandra discovered that – as Susanne did not have the mental capacity to bring a claim for mismanaged birth compensation herself – they were still within the time frame allowed to sue the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority for the negligent situation which had occurred in 1967.
After reviewing the claim for badly managed birth compensation, South East Coast Strategic Health Authority quickly admitted their liability for Susanne´s birth injury and, at the Royal Courts of Justice, issued an official apology for the mismanagement of Susanne´s birth.
Approving the settlement of compensation for badly managed birth, which will take the form of annual payments and a lump sum payment to pay for a specially-adapted home for Susanne, judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies paid tribute to Christopher and Sandra´s “love and devotion”. The settlement is estimated to be worth 4.2 million pounds and will provide Susanne with the adequate care she needs for the rest of her life.
Posted: January 21st, 2012
A claim of GP malpractice is being examined by The Medical Council is investigating in the aftermath of claims of doctor negligence against a Dublin GP who allegedly over-prescribed psychoactive benzodiazepines.
It is claimed that Dr Mohammed Ahmed Khan, with a practice in Wicklow Street, Dublin, prescribed up to four times the recommended dosage of drugs such as Valium to patients suffering from anxiety and depression. The Medical Council are also looking into claims that Dr Khan failed to make sufficient enquiries as to whether any of the patients he was prescribing these drugs to were already being treated by another doctor.
Dr Khan has additionally been accused of poor professional performance due to his alleged failure to refer patients with a dependency on benzodiazepines to drug treatment centres or specialist substance misuse practitioners and due to his reliance on prescription drugs where an alternative form of treatment may have been more beneficial to the patient or in their best interests.
The Medical Council polices doctors to practise medicine in the Republic of Ireland. Its statutory role, as outlined in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence from registered medical practitioners.
Posted: October 17th, 2011
A young woman, who was found to have cerebral palsy shortly after her birth, has had a birth injury cerebral palsy settlement of 1.4 million Euros approved in the High Court.
Deborah French (24) of Ballymitty, County Wexford, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy just after her birth in August 1987 at Wexford General Hospital. Her parents took a claim for birth injury compensation against consultant obstetrician Harry Murphy and the South Eastern Health Board, alleging that Dr Murphy had been negligent in the hours leading up to and during Deborah´s birth.
The case was settled without admission of liability by the defence, a course of action supported by Mr Justice John Quirke as he approved the settlement, stating that the conflicting opinions offered by medical experts may have put the family at risk of getting nothing in a trial.
The judge recommended that the funds be released to Deborah´s parents – Ann and John French – in annual amounts of 100,000 Euros.
Posted: July 23rd, 2011
A twelve-year-old girl, who suffered severe brain damage due to mistakes made during her delivery, has been awarded 5 million pounds in a compensation for cerebral palsy..
Sophie Clarke (12) from Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taf, was given birth to in 1998 at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend. However, a gross irregularity of Sophie´s heart rate was not recognised, despite it registering on monitoring equipment.
Had medical staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital noticed Sophie´s condition, they would have intervened and delivery her by Caesarean Section. However, they allowed the birth to continue naturally, causing Sophie to suffer from a lack of oxygen in the womb.
Sophie suffers from severe cerebral palsy due to the errors made at the hospital and now needs twenty-four hour care, is fed via a tube and is confined to a wheelchair.
Solicitors on behalf of the family sued the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board for negligence, and in a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court the negotiated settlement of 5 million pounds was approved.