Thursday 22 March 2018

€4m settlement for teenage girl for brain injuries allegedly arising from birth

Aodhan O'Faolain

A GIRL with severe brain injuries allegedly arising from the circumstances of her birth has secured €4m in settlement of her legal action against a Dublin maternity hospital.

The award, approved yesterday in the High Court, was made to Katie Martin (13) who showed no signs of life following her birth at the Coombe in the early hours of November 9, 2000.

Katie, suing through her mother Fiona Martin, Tower View, Trim, Co Meath, sued the  Coombe for alleged negligence.

The settlement was made without any admission of liability by the hospital which had denied negligence or breach of duty of care.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

The settlement  was "a good one" given the case was fully contested by the defendant, the judge said.

The award will go towards providing the care and support Katie currently requires both in the present and in the future, the judge said.

Opening the case, Bruce Antoniotti SC, for Katie, said she should have been delivered much earlier that she was.

Her mother presented at the Coombe Hospital around 12.30 am on November 9, 2000, having had irregular contractions. However Katie was not delivered, following an emergency Cesarean section, until 3.55am.

Counsel said had Katie been delivered sooner the severe brain injuries she sustained could have been avoided.

A CTG trace, which is used to monitor the foetal heart beat and uterine contractions, was commenced about 2.17am.

Counsel said the trace indicated abnormal readings from its commencement and showed Katie was being deprived of oxygen. However the hospital, counsel said, failed to act in time.

The claims were denied by the hospital. In its defence the hospital said Katie suffered the injuries before her mother was admitted to the hospital.

By the time Katie's mother arrived at the Coombe no intervention by the hospital could have prevented Katie's injuries, the defence also claimed. 

Counsel said Katie had a cardiac arrest and showed no signs of life when she was delivered. As a result of the the alleged negligence, counsel said, Katie suffered severe injuries to her brain.

Irish Independent

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