Saturday 18 November 2017

Boy (4) settles High Court action over brain injuries sustained at birth - interim payout of over €2m to cover the next five years

Dublin's Four Courts.
Dublin's Four Courts.

Tim Healy

A FOUR-year-old boy who sued over brain injuries sustained at his birth has settled his High Court action with an interim payout of over €2million to cover the next five years.

If Kevin Dunphy-English had been born an hour earlier at Waterford Regional Hospital, the boy, who has cerebral palsy, would have been saved injury, the court heard.

Kevin, of Carrick Road, Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, through his mother Jane Dunphy, sued the HSE as a result of injuries during his birth at the Waterford Regional  on July 9, 2010.

It was claimed he suffered significant brain damage during his delivery.

Jane Dunphy was admitted to the hospital on the evening of July 8.

Labour progressed slowly but, after 2.30am on the July 9, decelerations on a cardiotocography (CTG) trace changed, it was claimed.

A foetal blood sample had been taken at 1.40am but was not repeated despite the deterioration in the CTG trace.

If the foetal blood sample had been repeated, it was contended, the result would have prompted a decision to intervene earlier in terms of delivery. 

Dr John O'Mahony SC, for Kevin,  told the court liability was conceded and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

The HSE had in 2013 accepted  it was in breach of duty in the management of his birth by  failing to effect a timely delivery.

A separate case involving Kevin's mother and his father, Seamus English, over nervous shock, had also been settled and could be struck out, the court was told.

Dr O'Mahony said Kevin was "seriously neurologically compromised from the outset and was in intensive care for the first 24 days of his life.

He can only walk a small distance and will need a wheelchair in the future.

He attends pre-school and it is hoped he can go to a mainstream school.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who met Kevin in his chambers, said he was a wonderful child.

"He is a lovely little lad  who has made considerable progress because of the significant efforts put in by his mother and father", the judge said.

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