Boy who suffers seizures settles case against maternity hospital with €550k interim payment
A seven-year old boy who suffers from seizures and who sued over his care after birth at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, has settled a High Court action with a €550,000 interim payout.
The boy’s mother told the High Court he suffers severe seizures, which can be life-threatening and he has been hospitalised in the past from anything to six hours to four days as a result.
It was claimed that following the birth of the baby at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, in 2015, he became profoundly hypoglycaemic, which means he had low blood sugar and that this went allegedly untreated for a number of hours.
As a result, it was claimed, the baby developed hypoglycaemic seizures and was admitted to the intensive care unit in very poor condition. It took several days, it was claimed, for the paediatric staff to stabilise his condition and he had to spend four weeks in intensive care.
There was also, it was claimed, an alleged failure to carry out a blood sugar test in a proper and timely manner and an alleged failure to heed or to note the symptoms as exhibited by the baby were consistent with hypoglycaemia.
It was further claimed that if the baby had the blood sugar test earlier than he did, it would have led to earlier intervention in his hypoglycaemic deterioration with a clinical course which might not have been so severe.
The boy cannot be identified by order of the court.
His counsel, Declan Doyle SC instructed by Michael Boylan solicitor, said the parents had wanted to deal with the matter in “a collaborative and non-contentious way” with the cooperation of the defendant.
Proceedings were only issued this year to facilitate the settlement, which is an interim payment for the next six years. The settlement, he said, was reached after mediation.
The case will next come back before the court in 2029, when the boy’s future care needs will be assessed.
Counsel said the defendant’s position was set out in a letter of July 2022. He said a breach of duty was admitted and there was a partial admission in relation to causation.
Counsel said the defendant had contended that some of the seizures may be linked to an unspecified genetic connection which counsel said "was rubbished “by their own experts.
Counsel said that position had caused great anger in the parents.
The boy’s seizures, he said, need to be managed.
The boy’s mother told the judge: “It should never have happened to our child", and she said she did not know what her son’s future would be. She said they had gone down every avenue to help their child.
She said they were angered and upset about the genetic connection contention.
Approving the settlement, Mr. Justice Paul Coffey said the settlement was fair and reasonable.
The Irish Examiner, June 2023