Thursday 23 January 2020

€9m on third trip to court for girl (11) with cerebral palsy

Isabelle Sheehan, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy Pic: Courts Collins
Isabelle Sheehan, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy Pic: Courts Collins

Tim Healy

A young girl who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair has settled for €9m her High Court action over care around the time of her birth.

It brings to €11.6m the amount paid out to Isabelle Sheehan - who had sued consultant obstetrician Dr David Corr, who was carrying out a private practice at Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, at the time of the girl's birth.

High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly approved the final settlement yesterday.

The judge complimented "the truly remarkable care" Colm and Catherine Sheehan have given their daughter.

The court heard the family had wanted a final lump-sum payout because this was their third trip back to the High Court after a total of €2.6m in interim payments.

Mr Justice Kelly said it was understandable that Isabelle's parents were weary of interim settlements and it underscored the acute necessity for legislation to be brought in relation to periodic payments.

Through her mother Catherine, of Millbrook, Mallow, Co Cork, Isabelle sued Dr Corr, of the Cork Clinic, Western Road, Cork, over the circumstances of her birth in 2004.

It was claimed Dr Corr failed to act on blood tests carried out on Ms Sheehan during her pregnancy which showed a significant risk to the health of the baby.

Dr Corr admitted liability and, in an apology read to the court five years ago, he "very much regrets the outcome in relation to the birth" of Isabelle.

He said he had made a "mistake" in not referring Ms Sheehan when she was pregnant in 2004 to an expert in foetal medicine. This had "disastrous consequences" for Isabelle and her family and he wished to "apologise" to them.

Denis McCullough SC, for the family, yesterday said that Ms Sheehan, who had worked with Cork County Council before Isabelle had been born, had given up work to care for her daughter.

Isabelle, known as Izzy, suffers from severe spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy, with both her arms and legs affected, the court heard.

She was described as "bright and intelligent" but her injuries initially affected her speech. She now has a special machine to help her attempt to walk but she requires lifelong care. She attends a Gaelscoil near her home.

The family's solicitor Michael Boylan said the Sheehans were relieved the case was finally over. He said the family would give up the money "in a heartbeat" if they could reverse what happened to Izzy.

Irish Independent

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