Thursday 29 September 2016

Hospital apologises to boy (12) catastrophically injured at birth as part of interim €3.5m settlement

Published 29/04/2016 | 17:20

Aaron Hanrahan with his parents, Peter Hanrahan and Marianne Cunningham of Donohill, Co. Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court settlement ruling. Photo: Collins Courts
Aaron Hanrahan with his parents, Peter Hanrahan and Marianne Cunningham of Donohill, Co. Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court settlement ruling. Photo: Collins Courts

A HOSPITAL has apologised to a 12-year old boy catastrophically injured at birth as part of an interim settlement of his High Court action for €3.5m.

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The apology from South Tipperary General Hospital was read out in court as Aaron Hanrahan, who has spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, settled his action against the HSE.

Counsel for the HSE, Brian Foley BL, read the apology to Aaron and his parents, Marianne Cunningham and Peter Hanrahan, of Alleen, Donohil, Co Tipperary.

He said the hospital wished to "sincerely and unreservedly apologise for the catastrophic injuries suffered by Aaron at the time time of his birth and the tragic outcome for him and his family."

Aaron, through his mother, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at South Tipperary General.

It was claimed the baby was exposed to unnecessary risk by delivering him at a hospital which was not suitably staffed or equipped with appropriate facilities to deal with premature babies.

There was an alleged failure to take appropriate or timely actions when a cardiotocography (CTG) trace was pathological and that the trace had been discontinued when it was dangerous and unsafe to do so.

There was, it was claimed, a failure to expedite the delivery of Aaron by caesarean section in circumstances in which an obstetric emergency existed.

The court was told Ms Cunningham, whose baby was due in June, had been admitted in April 2004.

A CTG recording of the foetal heartbeat was started at 8pm on April 18, 2004 and continued until after 10pm. It was claimed the trace from 9pm was abnormal.

The CTG was recommenced after 11.30pm and was pathological  but was turned off after midnight to enable the mother to sleep and restarted just before 6am. Aaron was delivered after 9am.

Counsel said if Aaron had been delivered by 1am on April 19, the degree of injury would have been lessened.

Aaron, who has six brothers and sisters is confined to a wheelchair but is a bright and cheerful boy who attends his local school, counsel for the family said.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross wished Aaron and his family all the best.

The case will come back before the court in nine years time when Aaron's future care needs will be assessed.

Outside court Marianne Cunningham  in a statement on behalf of herself and her partner, Peter, said they were delighted and relieved their lengthy battle for justice for their son have been achieved.

“”Aaron suffered irreparable damage and because of this he will remain dependant and in need of constant care and attention for the duration of his life,” she said.

She said the written apology from the HSE and the hospital came before Aaron’s 12th birthday and was "a brilliant present for him to receive."

She added: “Even though we realise the great injustice done to our son, we as parents are fulfilled in the knowledge that all Aaron’s needs and requirements will all be provided for for his entire future.

"We can nowt look forward to a much improved but, more importantly, a much deserved quality of life for our beautiful son."

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