Payout for misdiagnosis mums
State to compensate women wrongly told their babies were dead in womb
Published 04/05/2011 | 05:00
WOMEN who were wrongly told their babies were dead in the womb are to receive compensation payouts from the State, the Irish Independent has learned.
The State Claims Agency -- which is currently dealing with payouts to five women -- is braced for a raft of compensation cases in the coming months.
Separately, two hospitals are being sued by women who were prescribed -- and used -- abortive drugs after wrongly being given a miscarriage diagnosis.
It comes after the publication of a HSE report into the miscarriage misdiagnosis scandal, which found that 24 women were wrongly told their unborn babies were dead.
The report also found that two children died in the womb after their mothers had surgery to remove them following a misdiagnosis -- and that eight women were prescribed abortive drugs. Of those eight, five actually took the drugs, while the other three did not.
Ciaran Breen, director of the State Claims Agency (SCA), told the Irish Independent there was "no doubt" there would be substantial payouts for the women who had already submitted their claims. But he could not say how much the various mothers would receive.
The average payout for medical cases was €63,000 in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available.
Although no compensation has been handed out yet, Mr Breen said the payouts were likely to be for psychological distress -- and he added that more claims were likely to follow.
"Do we expect there will be payouts? Yes, there is no doubt there will be," he said. "It tends to be the case that once it is made public, it leads to more claims.
"People have made their cases, they have put in their claims," he added.
"It affects people differently. It's difficult (to say how much will be paid) unless you see the case in front of you. We really don't know."
The SCA, a part of the National Treasury Management Agency, oversees the Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS), which is in charge of medical negligence claims.
Mr Breen said the SCA had shared all of its information with the review team which undertook the HSE report into the scandal. Of the claims currently before the SCA, one was submitted in 2008, while two were submitted in 2009 and one was sent in last year.
Some women, such as Melissa Redmond, who was the first to go public with her case, had attempted to initiate legal action but this proved difficult since her son Michael survived.
Ms Redmond was prescribed the abortive drug Cytotec and was to have surgery to have her foetus removed by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, but she sought a second opinion which showed her baby was still alive.
Raymond Bradley, managing partner of leading medical law firm Malcolmson Law, said they were acting for two women who were suing hospitals that wrongly told them their unborn children were dead.
The women, who Mr Bradley could not identify for confidentiality reasons, were prescribed and took Cytotec -- but still gave birth.
Sources have said it could have a negative effect on the two children, which may not become apparent until after their second birthday, by which time children have usually reached milestones such as walking and talking.