'They said we were fussy parents - but our son was brain damaged'
Published 29/04/2016 | 02:30
A hospital has apologised to a four-year-old boy left profoundly brain damaged after an operation when he was a baby.
The apology was read to the High Court as part of settlement of Jude Miley's action with an interim payment of €3.5m over the next two years.
In a statement afterwards, the Mileys said their concerns after their son's operation had been dismissed "as those of fussy parents".
They said they had been led to believe what had happened was "simply an unfortunate complication of the operation".
"We were told it was just 'one of those things'. We later learned this was certainly not the case."
Jude was only six months old when a suture used in an operation to release his diaphragm and help his breathing remained untrimmed causing damage to the heart muscle.
Two days later, he had a heart attack and had to be rushed to theatre for emergency surgery which saved his life.
Jude, of Holywell, Upper Kilmacud Road, Dundrum, Dublin, sued Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children through his father Greville Miley.
The boy was born on July 16, 2011, and by January of the following year a condition regarding the contour of his diaphragm was diagnosed.
Necessary surgery was carried out on January 24, 2012, which, it was claimed, was below the standard of care.
Senior counsel Liam Reidy, for the Mileys, told the court that Jude's little heart was being pierced by the suture.
Counsel for Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin, Emily Egan, yesterday read out the statement in which the hospital offered an "unequivocal, unreserved and heartfelt" apology.
The hospital said it "appreciated and greatly regretted the huge trauma" suffered.
His mother, Anne Louise Miley, who was a public health nurse, had raised concerns about her son after his operation but these were dismissed, counsel said.
Greville Miley told the court he and his wife were told their son would be in a vegetative state - but as a result of therapies in the UK and the US he can now run, talk and eat slowly. He said Jude is the happiest child he knows.
Mr Miley said friends had set up a trust fund for Jude and the family were able to travel to the US and the UK for therapies.
He said he and his wife thought their son was unwell after the operation but they felt they were ignored.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross thanked the Mileys for the care they had given their son to date.
The couple said their son was their pride and joy.
"We are and will be devoted to him for the rest of his life. He has significant, complex needs and these needs have now been partly met in financial terms by the settlement today to fund the best care and support for Jude which is, after all he had been put through, the least he deserves," they said.
In three years' time Jude's case will come back before the court when the child's future care needs will be assessed.