Boy (7) with cerebral palsy awarded €9.1m in damages over circumstances of birth 

Jarrah Folkman.jpg

A boy with cerebral palsy who sued over the circumstances of his birth at Cavan General Hospital has secured a €9.1m settlement of his High Court action.

Jarrah Folkman cannot talk or walk and his mother told the court she will never hear her son’s voice.

Elysha McCrudden said the settlement will go a long way towards her son’s care but she felt “windows of opportunities” for him had been lost.

For the last seven years, she and Jarrah’s father Ben Folkman have been made feel what happened was their fault, she said.

Approving the settlement against the HSE, Mr Justice Cross praised the parents for their care for their son and told them: “Don’t think it’s in any way your fault.”

Jarrah, of Station Road, Cootehill, Co Cavan, had, through his mother, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Cavan General Hospital on April 19th 2011.

It was claimed there was failure to correctly interpret the CTG trace (to record fetal heartbeat) which showed a number of decelerations when Ms McCrudden presented at the hospital on April 15th 2011.

At that stage, she was sent home and she returned to the hospital two days later.

It was claimed, following Ms McCrudden’s admission, there was failure to note and/or to heed the initial CTG trace was declerative and to put a plan in place for continued close monitoring and expedited delivery.

It was alleged, for a time on April 18th 2011, there was a failure to carry out any CTG monitoring of the baby.

It was alleged an unsafe set of conditions had been allowed persist during the course of the labour.

The baby, it was claimed, should have been born some time on April 16th and there was a failure on April 19th to take any or any timely action hours earlier in response to non-reassuring features on the CTG trace.

Liability was admitted in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Denis McCullough SC, for Jarrah, said the boy was flat and unresponsive at birth and required resuscitation.

The family lived for a time in Australia but returned to Ireland in 2013, he said.

Jarrah needs 24 hour care and, while he lacks speech, his parents can interpret his sounds. Jarrah smiles and is a content child, he added.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross wished the family well.

Irish Times October 2018

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