Tuesday 17 January 2017

Teen left paralysed after surgery awarded almost €1.7m

Tim Healy

Published 06/05/2015 | 20:41

Emily Casey, of Dalkey, Dublin with her parents, Stephani and Dermot outside the Four Courts after the High Court approved a €1.6m interim payment following a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Emily Casey, of Dalkey, Dublin with her parents, Stephani and Dermot outside the Four Courts after the High Court approved a €1.6m interim payment following a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

A teenage girl left paralysed after undergoing surgery on her spine has secured almost €1.7m as part settlement of her medical negligence action.

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Emily Casey (18) claimed she suffered injury after a screw was inserted into her spinal cord while she undergoing an operation at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, to treat scoliosis, or curvature, of the spine, on December 8, 2009.

As a result of her spinal cord being severely damaged injured, she was left paralysed from her chest down. She is confined to a wheelchair, and requires care and assistance.

Emily, who through her mother Stephanie, of Nerano Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, sued the hospital and consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Dr David Moore, for alleged negligence.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, at the High Court, approved a sum of €1.668m in part-settlement of the action.

Liam Reidy SC, for Emily, told the court that liability had been admitted in the case last Friday.

Wile there were a number of issues in the claim that remain outstanding, Emily and her family had accepted a lump sum of €1.668m as part settlement of her action, he said.

Counsel added an apology to Emily was being put together and would be given when the case returns before the court later this month.

Outlining the case, counsel said Emily contracted meningitis when she was four.

This resulted in on-going health problems, but after time she was able to walk with a frame and had a degree of independence.

In 2009, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and underwent surgery at Crumlin.

Her injuries were caused when a special screw, known as a pedicle, was wrongly inserted into her spinal cord. The screw was removed following further surgery the next day.

She remained in hospital until April 2010, when she was moved to the the National Rehabilitation Centre.

Counsel said she had suffered a number of complications since the operation.

Prior to the operation the Casey's were given certain assurances about the procedure, including that there would be appropriate monitoring of Emily's spinal cord for motor and sensory changes during surgery.

It was also part of their claim that they were advised by the hospital that, with both motor and sensory monitoring being carried out, the risk of paralysis was in the order of the 1 in 4,000.

They would not have gone ahead and given their consent to the operation had they not got those assurances, counsel said.

Emily's mother Stephanie told the court of the family's, especially Emily's, relief that an arrangement had been reached between the parties and that liability had been admitted.

Up until last week, she said, nobody would admit that "a mistake had been made'," she said.

Mr Justice Cross, who said he had no hesitation in approving the part-settlement, adjourned all outstanding matters in the action to a date later this month.

He praised the Casey family, adding he knew Emily "was in good hands."

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