Sunday 20 October 2019

Child (3) secures €100,000 settlement over burns from cleansing solution

The Four Courts, Dublin
The Four Courts, Dublin

A child has secured €100,000 settlement in a High Court action over an alleged injury from a skin cleansing solution administered during a clinical trial.

It is alleged Sophia Ryan was left with permanent scarring on her back resulting from a chemical burn suffered soon after birth when she reacted adversely to the cleansing solution.

Sophia, now three years of age, through her father Paul, Ballygannon, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, sued the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) over antisepsis burn injuries suffered following her premature birth at the hospital on October 19, 2012.

When the case came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys Monday, he agreed to approve a settlement of €100,000 for the child, plus costs.

Before her birth, it was claimed Sophia's mother agreed to take part in the "SKA trial", a radomised trial to compare two types of cleansing solutions to be used for skin cleansing prior to insertion of central lines.

It was claimed her mother was assured there was no risk involved in the trial and her baby would not experience any discomfort, side effects of inconvenience other than encountered in the normal course of such treatment.

It was claimed the child was born at some 24 weeks on October 19 in good condition, intubated, a dose of surfactant was administered and she was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit due to her prematurity.

It was claimed, before various catheters were sited on the child, her skin, pursuant to the SKA trial,  was cleansed with chlorohexidine and she also underwent a lumbar puncture sometime on October 19 or 20, 2012.

On the morning of the 20th, it was claimed she was noted by medical staff to have a big area of redness and a small area of ulceration on her back, immediately noted to be the probable result of burns from antisepsis. The baby was noted to be suffering pain from the burns and immediately put on intravenous morphine.

It was claimed the baby remained very uncomfortable and at 7.30am on October 21 was noted to be suffering continued skin excoriations with redness but no new skin breaks of oozing. She was treated with medication to avoid infection, and also with Fucidin cream.

It was claimed a plastics team at the Children's University Hospital,  when contacted on October 22 for advice about the injury, noted the child had suffered a deep dermal skin burn, advised the Fucidin be discontinued and the skin be covered with a Duoderm extra thin.

The baby continued to experience pain over the next few days but that pain had reduced by October 27, it was claimed.

On review, in May 2014, a consultant paediatric dermatologist noted a square scarred area on the child's back was consistent with a chemical burn, most probably secondary to the alcohol component of the wipes.

As a result of the alleged negligence, the child has been caused to suffer permanent scarring to her back, the affected skin will be permanently discoloured and she may need a skin graft in the future, it was claimed.

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