Tuesday 25 April 2017

Girl (5) left with permanent scar which 'mutilates her striking natural beauty' after bandage left on her head for 30 hours after birth

Jennifer Byrne, mother of Abigail Byrne. Picture: Courtpix
Jennifer Byrne, mother of Abigail Byrne. Picture: Courtpix

A five-year-old girl has been left with a permanent scar after an elasticated type bandage was left on her head for 30 hours after her birth, the High Court heard.

Abigail Byrne will have this “cross on her forehead for the rest of her life,” her counsel said.

The scar, which is 10cm long and 1cm  wide, “mutilates Abigail’s striking natural beauty,” Dr John O'Mahony SC said.

Abigail's mother, the court heard, was told the mark would fade within a week but a public health nurse, on a visit after their discharge from hospital, said it looked permanent and told her to seek advice on it.

The scar will never go away and options such as plastic surgery will not be available to Abigail until she is in her late teens, Dr O'Mahony said.

Counsel said it was their case that the bandage should not have been applied and, if it was, it should have been monitored.

"It was on far too long and was too tight," he said.

Through her mother Jennifer Byrne, Abigail, of Tobartae House, Ryefield West, Whitechurch, Co Cork, has sued the HSE as a result of her treatment after her birth in 2011 at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

She had been delivered by forceps delivery on the morning of January 14, 2011 after a difficult birth.

It was advised that a stocking bandage be applied to her head and it remained around her head until the evening of January 15 - some 30 hours later.

It is claimed there was a failure to ensure the positioning of the stocking bandage so that it would not give rise to tissue dislocation or damage and when it was removed there was a red mark visible of on the child’s head.

Had the bandage been applied correctly, it is claimed, Abigail would not have been left with a facial deformity.

Liability was admitted in the case which was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Abigail’s mother, Jennifer, told the court when her daughter was born she thought her head was misshapen.

She had a tiny mark from the forceps, but Ms Byrne said she was reassured that the damage was all on the outside of the head.

She said a stocking bandage which was an elasticated piece of fabric was recommended for Abigail’s head.

“I can only imagine it was too tight.

She said they had delayed Abigail's christening by a month so the mark on her forehead would not be so obvious.

The case will resume later this month.

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