Patients not the enemy, says mum of payout girl
THE mother of a young girl awarded €11m after suffering brain damage at birth claims the case could have been dealt with "at far less expense" had she not been "fought every step of the way" in her bid to get justice for her daughter.
Deirdre Courtney, whose daughter Brid (10) suffered brain damage due to alleged negligence at her birth at Tralee General Hospital, told delegates at a patients' advocacy conference that "the patient is not the enemy".
"If those involved in Brid's case had admitted a mistake had been made and sought to enter into meaningful discussions at the earliest opportunity, Brid's case could have been dealt with more quickly and at far less expense," she said.
"We all know accidents happen," Ms Courtney said. "But instead we were fought at every step of the way. Those involved sought to defend the indefensible, and we were forced to endure an eight-year battle for justice for our daughter.
"There is a better way, a more humane way: the patient is not the enemy," she said.
The settlement for Brid Courtney was agreed without admission of liability by the Health Service Executive and was one of the largest of its kind ever awarded.
Ms Courtney joined calls for the setting-up of a 'Duty of Candour' system – whereby all healthcare professionals would be obliged to reveal when a medical accident had taken place at the earliest possible opportunity.