MBLLF secure €7.5 million damages for 4-year-old boy with cerebral palsy
University Maternity Hospital Limerick and the HSE have apologised to a four-year-old boy for the shortcomings in care at the time of his birth. The apology was read out in the High Court as Jamie Roche from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, settled his action with an interim payment of €7.5m for the next six years.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told the boy, who has dyskinetic and spastic cerebral palsy, requires the highest level of care and the work of his parents to care for him could only be described as heroic .
In the letter of apology, which began “Dear Jamie” and which was read in court, the HSE and the hospital said it acknowledged “that the outcome was devastating for you and your family and has had a profound and lasting effect on you all”.
It said it would like to “sincerely apologise to you and your family for the shortcomings in care that occurred on August 18, 2018, relating to your condition at birth”.
The letter from UL Hospitals Group chief operations officer Noreen Spillane said the willingness of Jamie’s family to share their experience “was invaluable” in allowing the hospital to learn.
It will also help in the making of recommendations to improve the systems and processes in place at the hospital related to the delivery of maternity services, she said.
In a statement to the court, Jamie’s mother Sinéad Roche said they were happy with the settlement.
“While we so desperately wish that the reality of Jamie’s life could be different, it doesn’t take from how immensely proud we are of him and all he has achieved,” she said.
She added: “We live with grief and sadness over what was taken from Jamie, but both him and his little sister bring us more joy than we will ever be able to put in words.”
Jamie’s counsel Oonah McCrann SC told court that Jamie suffered a hypoxic brain injury. She said it was their case that there was a total failure to properly interpret the CTG trace which monitors the baby’s heartbeat before birth which they would say was pathological.
She said there was “a maverick approach to the CTG ” and a consultant who was there is no longer practising.
The settlement includes €4.2m towards the boy’s care until 2029.
Through his mother, Jamie sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at University Maternity Hospital, Limerick on August 18, 2018.
It was claimed that at 2pm the CTG trace was noted as abnormal, but notwithstanding the classification as being pathological, it was claimed no steps were taken to arrange for the urgent delivery of Jamie. He was delivered at 4.20pm and it was claimed as a result of the alleged delay, the baby allegedly suffered a brain injury.
It was claimed there was a failure to take any appropriate steps to arrange for the urgent delivery of the baby following a CTG classified as pathological.
There was also an alleged failure to take appropriate steps to ensure the baby was delivered safely and in a healthy and unharmed state.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Coffey praised the heroism of Jamie’s parents. The case will come back before the High Court in 2029, when Jamie’s future care needs will be assessed.
The Irish Independent, June 2023