Friday 31 October 2014

Family receives €1.45m pay-out after daughter left with cerebral palsy following failure to detect high-blood pressure

Published 04/03/2014 | 18:09

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

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.  It was also claimed there was a failure in all the circumstances to treat someone with high blood pressure appropriately.

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.

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

It was claimed during the appointment it was noticed she had a major problem with her blood pressure.

In the days leading up to the appointment, she was extremely pale and developing swelling around her ankles. At the community hospital , 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 where was swelling on Ms McDaid's face as well as her face, 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.

The next day Ms McDaid's ankles and face were still swollen and  she had a headache. On March 30 her right 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 was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital which was  45 miles away  and was having fits, shaking and was unconscious

Her counsel, Des O'Neill, told Ms Justice Mary Irvine Ms Mc Daid suffered a series of severe pre-enclamptic fits and there was a lack of oxygen to the baby who was not yet born. Ruby was later delivered by caesarean and needed resuscitation.

She spent the first eleven days of her life in the hospital intensive care.

Approving the settlement and interim payment Ms Justice Irvine said it was the first case adjourned for a period of four years and she hoped everything will go well for the family int he meantime.

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