Tuesday 17 September 2019

Boy left brain damaged following 'profound misdiagnosis' of chickenpox secures additional €3m payout from HSE

Interim settlement of €2.5m approved by High Court in 2016

University Hospital Waterford
University Hospital Waterford

An eight year old boy who was left brain damaged just before his second birthday after what the High Court heard was a "profound misdiagnosis" of his chickenpox infection has secured a further €3m payout from the HSE.

This will bring to over €5.5m paid out to Eoghan Keating - who cannot talk and is tetraplegic - in settlement of his action against the HSE.

Approving the latest €3m payment for the next four years, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly praised Eoghan's parents, Waterford couple Larry and Martina Keating for the huge sacrifices they have made and the extraordinary care they have given their son.

Two years ago when the case first came before the court University Hospital Waterford apologised for the "deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan at the hospital on August 24 2012."

Hospital general manager Richard Dooley, in a statement read in court, apologised on behalf of the management and staff and acknowledged the "many challenges" the boy and his family "have faced as a result of the treatment afforded to Eoghan."

Eoghan Keating, Upper Dunhill, Co Waterford, had through his mother, sued over the care he received when brought to the A&E of Waterford Regional Hospital on August 24, 2012 with a rash and a high temperature.

He had a high fever, was irritable and crying and it was claimed his parents were advised he had mumps. It was noted he had a rash all over his body especially his abdomen and a diagnosis of chickenpox with mumps was then made.

It was claimed the management plan was to discharge Eoghan home to take ibuprofen and calpol and for his parents to contact the hospital if concerned.

That night, a swelling in his neck increased and he was lethargic. His parents rang the hospital and were told Eoghan had mumps, it was alleged.

When they called again they were advised to contact the caredoc GP service which advised the swelling was very serious and Eoghan was brought back to the hospital where he was ventilated and later transferred to a Dublin hospital.

It was claimed there was failure to admit Eoghan to the Waterford hospital when he first presented and treat him intravenously with antibiotic and heed the indicators of a significant evolving infection.

Liability was admitted in the case.

In court today, Eoghan's father Larry Keating said the boy is thriving and while he cannot speak he can communicate with his family and make choices through eye contact and some gestures.

Mr Keating said that therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy has been "a lifeline" for their son.

He said they were taken aback in mediation talks with the HSE that the provision of therapies was raised. Mr Keating said he and his wife have gone part time in their work to devote their time to the care of their son.

"Time spent with Eoghan is well spent", he told the court. Mr Justice Kelly asked was the amount now allowed for therapies enough for the next few years and Mr Keating said it was.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kelly said he was glad Eoghan's parents had "won out" in the mediation in relation to the provision of therapies they regard as very beneficial to their son.

Michael Counihan SC told the court the settlement for the next four years had been reached after mediation and would be paid out in staged payments. 

The case will come back to court in four years time when Eoghan's future care needs will be decided.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News