Saturday 22 October 2016

Boy (5) left brain dramaged as a baby settles case against Temple St Hospital with interim payment of €6.7m

Published 14/04/2016 | 15:35

Dublin's Temple Street Childrens Hospital
Dublin's Temple Street Childrens Hospital

A 5-year-old boy who has been left brain damaged and permanently disabled after a failure to diagnose an infection when he was a baby has settled his action against Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dublin with an interim payout of €6.7m.

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

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

Dermot Gleeson SC said Benjamin who is now nearly six years of age suffered a brain stem injury when he was eleven months old which should not have happened.

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

In an apology read out in court the Hospital said it sincerely apologised for the failings that caused injury to Benjamin Gillick and the consuquent trauma for his family.

The little boy who is one of identical twin boys was born prematurely in Dublin and later underwent a procedure when eleven months told 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 SC 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 he said got progressively worse.

Benjamin Gillick of Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod but now living in Putney, London 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 of the shunt infection he presented with on April 9, 2011.

Benjamin had been admitted to Temple Street Children's Hospital on March 21, 2011 for the shunt procedure and discharged home three days later.

It was claimed that between March 24, 2011 and April  15, 2011 the baby sustained a complication of the shunt procedure, a shunt infection and was vomiting. He was broughtt to A&E at the Children' Hospital.

It was claimed at no time was the possibility of a shunt infection considered and gastroenteritis and a chest infection were suggested.

Liability had been admitted in the case and it was  before the court for assessment of damages only.

In court today Mr Gleeson SC 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 general damages.

He said the expected price of a house in the Putney region near Benjamin's special shcool would be about €5m with another €1m required to adapt the house for Benjamin's needs.  The Gillicks he said lived in a three bed apartment worth about €1m and they would now sell that. It was also expected a portion of Benjamin's loss of earnigns would be put towards the purchase of a family home.

Counsel said the Gillicks needed about three times the space they presently have. The settlement and interim payment meant the family could move to a new home within six months. The Gillicks had gone for this option becuase extra money allotted within the settlement for therapies, aids and appliances would not be any good without the extra space. It also meant the provision of a house was secured for Benjamin.

In evidence Mrs Mirriam 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 birght child involved in sports and activities. She said the settlement was the best solution for them.

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 come back before the court again in three years time to asses Benjamin's future care needs.

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