Saturday 17 March 2018

Boy (6) settles €5.5m action over care as baby in National Maternity Hospital

Holles Street Hospital Photo: Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Holles Street Hospital Photo: Damien Eagers / Irish Independent

Aodhan O'Faolain

A six year old boy who is severely brain damaged has settled for €5.5million his action against the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin over his care when he was brought to the hospital at eight days old and later diagnosed with meningitis.

Robert Montgomery has cerebral palsy and is visually impaired, cannot talk and is a very unwell boy, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told today.

He had sued the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin over his care when he was admitted to the hospital and later diagnosed as suffering from septicaemia and later neo-natal meningitis.

Senior Counsel Denis McCullough SC for Robert said his side would say that the appropriate antibiotics were not given in time to Robert and the possibility of the meningitis being dealt with was missed.

Mr McCullough said if the appropriate antibiotics had been given in time, Robert’s condition “would be much less severe.”

Counsel told the court “an expression of regret” was being prepared by the Hospital for Robert and his family which was part of the settlement agreed after mediation talks.

Robert Montgomery, Upper Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan, Dublin had through his mother Denise Montgomery sued the National Maternity Hosptial, Holles Street, Dublin over the circumstances of his care in 2010.

It was claimed the eight day old baby who had woken up with a piercing cry, was very listless and not feeding was referred by a GP to the hospital.

The baby attended the hospital at noon on November 5, 2010 with his parents and it is claimed there were told in the absence of an appointment they would have to wait in turn.

Robert was admitted to the hospital two hours later and then admitted to the intensive care unit and diagnosed as suffering from septicaemia and later Group B Streptococcus neo natal meningitis.

The medical records indicate intravenous antibiotics were commenced between 6 and 6.30pm and the baby remained in hospital until mid Decmber when he was admitted to another hospital  with increasing head circumference secondary to hydrocephalus.

It is claimed there was an alleged failure at the National Maternity Hospital to heed or respond to the baby’s symptoms and the complaints and concerns of his parents in an adequate, proper or sufficiently prompt manner and an alleged failure to immediately recognise the gravity of the situation at the time of his arrival at the hospital.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure the administration of appropriate intravenous antibiotics to the baby in a sufficiently prompt or timely manner and there was an alleged four hour delay after admission and an alleged six hours after presentation to hospital before administering antibiotics to the baby.

The baby, it was alleged was deprived the opportunity of timely and effective treatment of his symptoms and condition and was allegedly caused to develop severe meningitis causing cerebral palsy, brain blindness and developmental delay.

The claims were denied.

Robert’s mother Denise Montgomery told the court it was very hard to accept the €5.5million because of what her son suffered that day and continues to suffer and because it was not the full value of the case.

She said while they accepted the offer, there was a worry whether it would last.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said the Montgomery family are to be congratulated by the court and society for the care they have given to their son and he hoped their burden would now be eased by the settlement.

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