Tuesday 18 September 2018

€4m for man left with cerebral palsy after infection as toddler

Mr Justice Peter Kelly described Marion Fitzpatrick, above, as heroic in her efforts to look after her son Oisin, who is now aged 21. Photo: Collins Courts
Mr Justice Peter Kelly described Marion Fitzpatrick, above, as heroic in her efforts to look after her son Oisin, who is now aged 21. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A young man who has cerebral palsy after allegedly contracting an infection when he was a toddler has settled his High Court action over an interim payout of €4m.

Oisin Fitzpatrick (21) was a healthy 22-month-old toddler when he became ill and was referred to University Hospital Galway (UHG).

He was treated over a number of days before a diagnosis of viral encephalitis was made, and a drug to treat and combat herpes simplex encephalitis was started.

His counsel, Oonagh McCrann, told the court it was their case there was an alleged delay in the diagnosis of viral encephalitis and that it was due to the herpes simplex virus.

Oisin is wheelchair-bound, has cerebral palsy, is spastic quadriplegic and cannot talk, she said.

Approving the settlement with an interim payout for the next three years, the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, praised Oisin's mother Marion who has looked after her son for 19 years. "She has looked after him single-handedly and alone. That is the measure of the heroism she has demonstrated," he said.

Ms Fitzpatrick broke down when the judge said if Oisin could speak, he would praise the extent of the sacrifice she had made.

Oisin, of Ballyglunin, Tuam, Co Galway, through his mother, sued the HSE over his care at UHG when he was admitted for medical treatment on September 16, 1998. The toddler, it was claimed, was drowsy, appeared pale, had a high temperature and had been vomiting. He had suffered a seizure.

It was claimed UHG failed to diagnose his condition adequately or at all and failed to adequately treat or manage him.

There was, it was claimed, a failure to diagnose the toddler's viral encephalitis was due to herpes simplex within a reasonable time. There was also an alleged failure to commence administering the drug Acyclovir within a reasonable time. The claims were denied.

His counsel said Oisin is a very contented happy young man, but litigation has been torturous for his mother.

The case will come back before the court in three years' time, when Oisin's future care needs will be assessed.

Irish Independent

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