Monday 26 September 2016

€6.7m settlement for boy left brain damaged after op

Tim Healy

Published 15/04/2016 | 02:30

Miriam Gillick
Miriam Gillick

A five-year-old boy left brain damaged after a failure to diagnose an infection when he was a baby has settled his legal action with an interim payment of €6.7m.

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Temple Street Children's Hospital also apologised in court "for the failings" that caused the injuries to Benjamin Gillick.

The boy has cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic and cannot speak, the High Court heard.

Dermot Gleeson SC said Benjamin - who is now nearly six years old - suffered a brain stem injury when he was 11 months old.

The interim payment of €6.7m for the next three years includes €3.95m towards the price of a house in Putney, London, where the Gillick family is now living.

The little boy, who is one of identical twin boys, was born prematurely in Dublin - and later underwent a procedure at Temple Street Children's Hospital to drain fluid on the brain.

A shunt was inserted but he later returned to hospital vomiting and unwell.

Mr Gleeson previously told the court shunt infection is a known complication of the procedure - and the cause of the negligence was that for up to three days this possibility was not investigated.

Benjamin Gillick of Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod - but now living in Putney - had sued The Children's University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin, over his care in April 2011.

He claimed the hospital was negligent about the investigation, diagnosis, management treatment and care of the shunt infection he presented with on April 9, 2011. Liability had been admitted in the case, and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Mr Gleeson said agreement had been reached for a three-year interim payment of €6.7m. That figure, he said, includes €1.2m for future loss of earnings and €450,000 in general damages.

He said the expected price of a house in the Putney region near Benjamin's special school would be about €5m with another €1m required to adapt the house for Benjamin's needs.

The Gillicks, he said, lived in an apartment worth about €1m, which they will now sell.

It was also expected a portion of Benjamin's loss of earnings would be put towards the purchase of a family home.

Miriam Gillick, who gave up a career in investment banking to look after her son, said Benjamin needs a lot of help to even play, whereas his twin brother is a bright child involved in sports and activities. She said the settlement was the best solution for them.

The hospital said it sincerely apologised for the failings that caused injury to Benjamin.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a sad case and he congratulated Benjamin's parents for the care they give their son.

The case will be back before the court again in three years to asses his future care needs.

Irish Independent

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