€8m payout for boy catastrophically injured in birth as delay in law described as 'shameful'
Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30
The President of the High Court said it was "really shameful" that legislation is not yet in place for periodic payments for injured people who settle their medical negligence actions.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly approved a final €8m lump sum payment for Jamie Patterson (13) who had sued the Coombe Hospital over the circumstances of his birth.
Jamie has cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia, is not able to talk and can communicate only through facial expressions and body language. This final lump sum payment brings to €9.8m the total paid out to him after an interim award was made two years ago. The settlement in the case was without admission of liability.
The judge said that quite clearly Jamie's mother was tired and worn out - and this was the third case in three weeks where the parents of catastrophically injured children have asked for a final lump sum payment to end the litigation.
Jamie's mother Teresa Patterson told the court she wanted to leave the court and not look back. "I feel I am so tired. Jamie is tired of all this; he just wants to play," she said, adding that he had to endure examinations by medical experts on both sides.
Mr Justice Kelly said that with the final lump sum payment, the Pattersons could say farewell to the Four Courts.
Ms Patterson told the court her son is a beautiful boy who has an amazing outlook on life, even though he faces many challenges every day.
"We had no choice but to go through a huge legal battle to try and get the best quality of life possible for Jamie.
"Jamie has gone through so much in his 13 years: medical procedures, pain, constant appointments and he still has a big smile on his face. I want to leave court today and not look back. We need to move forward for Jamie. Tomorrow we start a new chapter."
She said the family now wanted to "leave the difficulties and stress of litigation behind".
Jamie, of Mountdown Park, Terenure, Dublin, had sued the hospital through his mother for alleged negligence at the time of his birth in November 2002.
It was claimed the hospital failed to exercise proper care for the safety and wellbeing of Teresa Patterson and her son, and, having decided to augment the labour with Syntocinon, failed to have regard that it could cause or aggravate foetal distress without careful and proper monitoring. The claims were denied by the hospital.
In a statement read to the court on behalf of the Coombe Hospital, the Master Dr Sharon Sheehan conveyed the hospital's deepest sympathy to Jamie and his family for the "considerable adversity that you have endured arising from the circumstances of Jamie's birth".
"I wish to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts and steps that you have taken in dealing with this difficult situation."