€3m for boy (8) left with severe injuries after birth
AN eight-year-old boy has secured a €3m settlement in a High Court action over severe injuries he suffered at birth.
Sean Fitzpatrick, who has cerebral palsy, is unable to speak and will require a wheelchair as a result of the injuries he sustained during his birth at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, on March 29, 2001.
Sean, who sued through his mother Gillian Fitzpatrick of Nephin View, Foxford, Co Mayo, alleged negligence against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and consultant obstetrician Dr Darragh Corcoran.
The settlement was approved by the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns after talks between lawyers for both sides.
There was no admission of liability by the defendants.
It was claimed the defendants failed to provide an adequate level of care and failed to act on certain abnormalities. They were also accused of failing to assess Sean's wellbeing or ensure that expedited delivery.
It was alleged that Dr Corcoran failed to deliver Sean when he arrived at the delivery suite -- causing the baby to suffer further hypoxic stress.
The defendants denied any wrongdoing.
Denis McCullough SC, acting for the family, said the mother was admitted to a delivery suite at 9pm, but was not reviewed by an obstetrician for over four hours.
Sean was delivered shortly before 2am but should have been delivered by 1.30am, which would have prevented the injuries, he claimed.
After he was born Sean needed resuscitation and was admitted to a special baby-care unit, according to Mr McCullough.
He told the court Sean was "a very bright child, who liked to be involved in everything his parents did. He added that the boy would require a wheelchair for life and could not speak, but could communicate and was attending school.
Mr Mc Cullough agreed with the judge that there was a "significant medical conflict" in the case. In the circumstances, the judge said he was happy to approve the settlement.