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Saturday 23 August 2014

€1.45m interim payment for girl left with cerebral palsy

Tim Healy

Published 05/03/2014 | 02:30

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04/03/2014 (L to r) Alan McCandless Ruby McCandless (7) Christina McCandless at the High Court, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Alan McCandless, Ruby McCandless (7) Christina McCandless at the High Court, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

A SEVEN-year-old girl left with cerebral palsy after her mother was not referred from a community clinic to a hospital in time is to receive an interim €1.45m payment in settlement of her legal action.

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Ruby Leanne McCandless has diskinetic cerebral palsy, the High Court heard, and will need care for the rest of her life. Ruby's mother, Christina McDaid, who had high blood pressure at the end of her pregnancy, should have been referred from a community hospital to a general hospital immediately, where her blood pressure would have been monitored, the court was told.

Through her mother, Ruby, of Foxwood, Gleneely, Co Donegal, sued the HSE in relation to the care Ms McDaid received at the end of her pregnancy in 2006. It was claimed there was a failure to diagnose and treat Ms McDaid's pre-eclampsia symptoms at the earliest reasonable opportunity and a failure to have her admitted to hospital to have her high blood pressure properly monitored and managed.

It was further claimed there was a failure to warn Ms McDaid she should have her blood pressure checked again should she develop headaches and nausea. The case was before the court for assessment of damages only. The €1.45m interim payment includes care for the next four years after which the case will come back to court when Ruby's needs will be further assessed.

Ruby was due on March 30, 2006, and it was claimed Ms McDaid's blood pressure was normal up to March 28.

McDaid attended for her last ante-natal check-up at Carndonagh Community Hospital on March 28, 2006.

It was claimed during the appointment that it had been noticed she had a major problem with her blood pressure. Her blood pressure was taken four times. It was further claimed that generally there were two consultants on duty at the community clinic, but on that day there was just one. It was claimed at this stage there was swelling on Ms McDaid's face as well as her hands and ankles.

When she was examined, a doctor indicated that her elevated blood pressure was a borderline case and told her to visit her GP on March 31.

On March 30, her right hand had started to shake and her face had started to droop and she began to lose the power over her tongue.

An ambulance was called but Ms McDaid blacked out and her next recollection was waking up on March 31. The court heard she had been rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital, 45 miles away.

Her counsel, Des O'Neill, told Ms Justice Mary Irvine Ms McDaid suffered a series of severe pre-eclamptic fits and there was a lack of oxygen to the baby. Ruby was later delivered by caesarean and needed resuscitation.

Approving the settlement and interim payment, Ms Justice Irvine said she hoped everything will go well for the family in the meantime.

Irish Independent

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