Wednesday 13 December 2017

Boy who suffered 'devastating' brain injures settles case for €17.8m

The Costello Family - L-R: Pat, Mary (mum), Gerard (dad), (In Wheelchair) Tadgh, Kate and Grace Pic: Courts Collins
The Costello Family - L-R: Pat, Mary (mum), Gerard (dad), (In Wheelchair) Tadgh, Kate and Grace Pic: Courts Collins

Tim Healy

A BOY who was brain damaged at birth is to receive a €15million lump sum payment in final settlement of his High Court case.

It brings to €17.8m the total paid out to Tadgh Costello (10) in settlement of his action over "devastating" injuries suffered during his birth at Kerry General Hospital.

Tadgh, of Gurrane East, Sunhill, Killorglin, Co Kerry, needs 24 hour care, cannot speak, and is confined to a wheelchair, the court heard.

Approving the settlement, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, paid tribute to Tadgh's parents, Mary and Gerard Costello for the "extraordinary care and love daily provided" to the boy and their other children.

The settlement, he said, made "commercial, common and legal sense."

While no money would compensate Tadgh and his family, it was the only form of redress the law could provide and will give peace of mind that there is a fund to care for his needs in to the future, he said.

In a letter handed into court, Tadgh's mother Mary set out why the family wanted to finalise litigation with a lumps sum payment.

She said the value to the settlement reflected the gravity of the injuries and her son has complex medical needs. She said the family had enough of the legal battle which had gone on 11 years and they had reached their limit of endurance.

"We want normal life to resume without court outings," she told the judge and showed him photographs of their son.

She said they were every proud of him and he was a happy boy.

Tadgh's father, Gerard, told the court without the legal profession they would never have got the justice Tadgh deserves.

Previously Mrs Costello said the family had been treated very badly over years with liability not admitted in the case until early 2015.

She said a consultant involved in the case had, after the birth, shown remorse and cried during a private meeting with herself and her husband Gerard.

However, she said, the HSE fought the case for the next nine years.

In March 2015, the child received an interim payment of €2.8m and an apology from the HSE under a settlement of his case.

Through his mother, Tadgh had sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Kerry General on May 25, 2006. It was claimed there was a failure to deliver the baby on a timely basis and a failure to treat it as an emergency case.

It was claimed Mrs Costello had to travel an unacceptable distance to the operating theatre; that there was a failure to ensure the consultant obstetrician was aware of the worrisome heart rate pattern documented by the midwife; and a failure to regard a cardiotocography (CTG) recording as pathological and to consider the possibility that foetal hypoxia could occur.

Tadhg was delivered by caesarean section and was later diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy.

Senior counsel Liam Reidy told the court there was a two-hour delay in delivering the baby and, as a result, he suffered brain damage.

In March 2015, an apology was read to the court on behalf of TJ O'Connor, manager of Kerry General.

In a statement outside court yesterday (Tues),  Gerard and Mary Costello said: "Today marks the end of a very long struggle in finally getting justice for our darling boy Tadgh."

The family were pleased this legal chapter is now closed and they can move on with the rest of their lives.

"The courts are not the place for a family like ours with a disabled child. However, we are grateful that the legal system prevailed to see that justice was done today Tadgh."

"We would dearly love to give every penny of this back if somehow Tadgh could magically do normal things like walk or talk or play football with this brothers and sisters. Sadly for us this can't be."

They said nothing can compensate for the loss of what could have been.

Online Editors

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