Thursday 22 February 2018

Court approves €4.75m award for girl (9) over brain injuries

Tim Healy

THE High Court has approved an award of €4.75m to a girl who suffered "devastating and permanent injuries" due to alleged medical negligence after she was born.

Jade Keane was born at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, Dublin, on March 21, 2001.

As a result of an alleged failure to treat her, she was left with hydrocephalus, also known as "water on the brain".

As a result, she is blind, wheelchair-bound, and will require care for the rest of her life.

Through her mother Gillian Keane, Wyatville Park, Loughlinstown, Dublin, she sued the HSE, Dr Dermot Stones (GP) of Albany Court, Shanganagh Road, Ballybrack, Dublin, and the NMH over alleged negligence and breach of duty of care in relation to her treatment.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill approved the award of €4.75m, plus costs, to Jade.

Speaking afterwards, Jade's family welcomed the settlement.

The settlement was against the HSE and the hospital only. However, the HSE and the hospital are to continue an action seeking a contribution and or an indemnity against Dr Stones next week.

In their defence, it was argued that Jade had hydrocephalus both at and prior to her birth and her injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition.

Lawyers for Jade said she suffered from the condition in the weeks after she was born.

Negligence

Denis McCullough, senior counsel for Jade, said yesterday that negligence has been admitted in the case but all of the defendants had disputed the claims as to the cause of the injuries. Jade's family, Mr McCullough said, were happy to accept the offer, in an action that had a full value of €7m.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. Due to increased pressure inside her skull, Jade's head began to enlarge.

It was claimed that Jade's head circumference was measured at 35cm when she was discharged from Holles Street, and that she was feeding normally and able to smile. Counsel said it was difficult to accept the child would have been discharged from the hospital if her head circumference was 39cm as the hospital subsequently claimed.

After she was discharged, she was brought to the family GP and to a public health nurse at Loughlinstown Clinic on several occasions.

She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in June 2001 and had emergency surgery.

Irish Independent

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