Wednesday 17 January 2018

Boy (12) left paralysed after meningitis treatment settles action against HSE for €3.7m

A 12-year old boy who has been left paralysed after hospital treatment for meningitis has settled his action against the HSE with an interim payout of €3.7million.

To describe Matthew McGrath's injuries as catastrophic is an understatement, his Counsel told the High Court today.

The young boy is completely paralysed and cannot move his arms or legs and can only breathe through a ventilator.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good settlement.

Matthew McGrath, Acacia, Kilmurray, Gorey, Co Wexford had through his mother Catherine sued the HSE as a result of his treatment at Wexford General Hospital when he was a baby.

It was claimed there was a delay in treating him for the infection and in particular with antibiotics.

Matthew McGrath leaving court with his family today
Matthew McGrath leaving court with his family today

It was further claimed that a lumbar puncture performed on the then 17-month old baby was contraindicated and as a result he suffered injury.

The settlement today with an interim payment of €3.73million for the next five years also included an admission of liability and an apology which the boy's solicitor Roger Murray read outside the court.

In the apology the HSE said Wexford General Hospital wished to offer its sincere apology to Matthew and his parents Alan and Cathy McGrath in relation the events following his admission to the hospital on May 27,2004.

"The Hospital extends unreservedly its unequivocal and heartfelt apology for the shortcomings in the care provided and the suffering and distress that this has caused."

Mrs McGrath described the apology as heartfelt and said  " there is a certain unexpected peace in the admission of liability."

She added: "Life is still the same but we won't have to take on the system as well as dealing with the daily challenges of caring for Matthew."

Senior Counsel Desmond O'Neill told the High Court Matthew was 17 months old when in May 2004, he was referred to Wexford General Hospital by a doctor when he was noted to be drowsy and vomiting fluids. Counsel said the boy's condition deteriorated in hospital and the baby was clearly in shock.

The court heard the boy was suffering from  Haemophilus Influenza Type B which can lead on to meningitis and he should have been treated antibiotics and fluids.

Counsel said if this had happened the boy could have been spared the devastating injuries he suffered. The next morning, Counsel said a lumbar puncture was carried out  which was cotra indicated when a child was in shock.

"He is now completely paralysed but is a bright intelligent, cheerful boy who goes to school and follows rugby he said."

As a baby, he said Matthew had to spend two years in hospital but as a result of a campaign by his parents he was allowed to be cared for at home.

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