Michael Boylan Litigation secures damages of approximately €128,000 in nervous shock proceedings
We acted on behalf of two parents in nervous shock proceedings arising from the circumstances of their son’s medical negligence injury. Their son suffered a grade 5 retinopathy of prematurity. Retinopathy of prematurity is one of the most common caused of preventable blindness in children. Unfortunately, due to a delay in surveillance, monitoring and treatment of his condition, their son effectively became blind.
By way of background, their was born prematurely at 24 weeks gestation. He was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity and received the appropriate treatment prior to being discharged from the neonatal unit of the Hospital in question. Unfortunately, he was reviewed a few months later in the outpatients department of the hospital and was effectively given the all clear and told that he would be reviewed in another 3 months’ time. When they represented to the Hospital 3 months later, they were told their son was blind. He was referred to a specialist Hospital in London but unfortunately, it was felt that surgery would not be beneficial as it would not restore eyesight and there was associated risks which far outweighed the benefits of surgery. Their son was diagnosed with permanent and complete loss of eyesight.
Proceedings were issued on behalf of their son in which the Defendant admitted liability at an earlier stage. Therefore, his case is proceedings as an assessment of damages only.
Separately, nervous shock proceedings were issued on behalf of Mum and Dad also.
We commissioned reports from a Consultant Psychiatrist who diagnosed both parents with Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder. It was on foot of her reports that proceedings were issued claiming damages for causing psychiatric injury.
On the date of settlement, it became clear that the Defendant was holding firm on liability in this case.
The issues that the Defendant put forward in arguing that this was not a nervous shock were: that there was no duty of care under the Kelly v Hennessy case, there was no nervous shock as there was not one horrific incident and it was rather a series of events that built up over time and they challenged the extent of both parents’ injuries. We successful argued that the shocking events were as follows: 1) being told their son was blind after having being told his retinopathy of prematurity had resolved and 2) having their hopes shattered in London that there was no treatment which could improve his vision. The extent of both of their injuries were clear from the reports we had commissioned.
Following lengthy negotiations, eventually the case settled for €128,126 (€75,000 general damages for Mum, €50,000 general damages for Dad plus special damages of €3,126 for future therapy and medication expenses).