Thursday 27 November 2014

HSE urged to apologise over girl left with cerebral palsy after birth

Published 18/02/2014 | 18:41

THE HSE should apologise to a little girl who has been left with cerebral palsy after her birth at a Cork Hospital, the High Court heard.

Grace Orchard's life has, in every respect, been destroyed and there was "appalling poor handling" of her delivery at St Finbarr's Maternity Hospital, Cork, her family's counsel Dr John O'Mahony said.

"This is a tragedy for Grace," he told Mr Justice Daniel Herbert who has been asked to assess damages in the case after the HSE admitted liability.

Grace (7), Ferndale, Carrigaline, Co Cork, through her mother Deirdre O'Callaghan, sued the HSE over the handling and management of her birth on February 23, 2006.

It is claimed she suffered a severe insult and trauma during the course of delivery and also suffered considerable distress, pain and damage as a result of which she is left with dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

Opening the case, Dr O'Mahony SC said Grace has been left in a catastrophic  position and the HSE should apologise for the handling of her birth.  They denied liability in the case up to two weeks ago, he said.

Grace's mother had been admitted to St Finbarrs on February 22 and the drug syntocinon, which is used to induce labour, was given.

Counsel said it was administered inappropriately  and there were four instrumental attempts  including a vacuum cup to deliver Grace over a forty one minute period in the early hours of February 23 Grace was delivered by forceps at 2.25am.

After she was born, he said Grace had to  to be resuscitated  and had very bad bruising on the head, forehead and face and she was very seriously traumatised during the birth process.

Her devoted parents he said had taken every step they could to help their daughter and even brought her to a centre in New York for a special form of physiotherapy.

Grace, counsel said, is in first class in a mainstream school but the services available to her have been dramatically reduced and cut back.

Her entire life has been drastically reduced in quality, counsel said.

The hearing continues.

Tim Healy

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