Tuesday 21 November 2017

€2.6m for girl with cerebral palsy after simple test missed

Niamh and Shane Farrell from Craughwell, Co Galway, leaving the Four Courts after a court action on behalf of their daughter Photo: Collins Courts
Niamh and Shane Farrell from Craughwell, Co Galway, leaving the Four Courts after a court action on behalf of their daughter Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

The HSE has apologised to a six-year-old girl with cerebral palsy over the failings in her care after her birth, as part of an interim €2.66m High Court settlement.

A letter of apology on behalf of the HSE and University College Hospital (UCH) for the failings in care to Sadhbh Farrell was read to the court.

The court heard she appeared jaundiced in the days after her birth in January 2011 and this should have triggered a simple test, which could have rectified the situation for the baby within a day.

Her parents, Niamh and Shane Farrell, said afterwards they hoped lessons would be learned. They urged parents of newborns to be vigilant and to have tests done if there is any suspicion.

"The interim settlement we have reached will never remove our ongoing grief for the independent life lost to Sadhbh, but will now help our little girl get the care and support needed to have every opportunity to live as full a life as possible," the Farrells said.

The apology letter from UCH general manager Chris Kane stated: "We do not underestimate how difficult and traumatic this has been for you and your families and the challenges that you and your families have faced as a result of the failings in the treatment and care provided to Sadhbh."

Sadhbh, of Killeeneen, Craughwell, Co Galway, through her mother sued the HSE for negligence arising from the baby's discharge from UCH without investigation for jaundice.

The case centred on the failure to carry out a test for the level of bilirubin levels in a baby.

It was claimed there was a failure to have regard to the visible jaundice prior to her discharge from hospital on January 24, 2011.

Liability was admitted in the case.

Sadhbh was born on January 23, 2011, at 36-weeks' gestation in good condition weighing 3.2kg.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he hoped it will take care of her physical needs for the next five years.

The case will come back before the court in 2022 to decide on Sadhbh's future care needs.

Irish Independent

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