Court approves €690,000 payout for girl (7) 'tied to oxygen machine'
THE mother of a young girl who received €690,000 in a court settlement yesterday has said her daughter is now "permanently tied to an oxygen machine".
The High Court approved the settlement for Aisling Lenehan (7) for alleged medical negligence arising out of the care she received prior to, and following, her birth.
Aisling, whose family now lives in Vienna, Austria, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and heart problems following her birth in Sligo in December 2004.
Her mother, Patricia Lynch, who is her full-time carer, last night described how Aisling is on "continuous oxygen and medication".
"She has little energy and can collapse after the slightest exertion," she told the Irish Independent. "She is reliant on the use of a wheelchair for mobility. There is no cure and it is ultimately fatal."
Ms Lynch sued the HSE and Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, claiming Aisling did not receive the right investigations and suffered irreparable lung damage which will shorten her lifespan.
Liability was not admitted by the HSE and the hospital.
"We feel badly let down by the HSE and Crumlin Hospital," Ms Lynch said. "Aisling's life expectancy is uncertain but both sought to delay the case. Fortunately the court found in our favour and expedited it."
She was relieved the little girl's quality of life can now be improved. "We will be able to buy a car, purchase medical equipment, which she must have at all times, allowing us to bring her to Ireland to visit her grandparents," she said.
The court was told there was a five-month delay before Aisling received a cardiology review, delaying appropriate medication.
This, it was claimed, caused her to develop severe pulmonary hypertension. It was alleged the defendants also failed to diagnose that Aisling had silent aspirations, a condition where food/liquids/stomach contents enter into the lungs, without that person showing any visible signs of discomfort.
It was also alleged that the defendants failed to diagnose in a timely manner that Aisling had hiatus hernia, a condition in which a portion of the upper stomach slips through the diaphragm.
It was also alleged that the HSE failed to diagnose her Down Syndrome and her heart condition prior to her birth.
The settlement was approved yesterday by the president of High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who praised the family for the dedication and care it has provided for Aisling.
A spokeswoman for Crumlin Hospital was unavailable yesterday.