Wednesday 19 September 2018

Disabled boy (4) settles for record €17.2m

Anthony and Caitriona Enright leave the High Court after the final settlement for their son Charlie. Photo: CourtPix
Anthony and Caitriona Enright leave the High Court after the final settlement for their son Charlie. Photo: CourtPix

Tim Healy

A four-year-old disabled boy who sued over the circumstances of his birth has settled his High Court action with a final lump sum payment of €15.5m.

It brought to €17.2m the total being paid to Charlie Enright, who has cerebral palsy and is physically disabled.

The total award approved by the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, is believed to be highest ever for a catastrophically injured person who sued over care at birth.

His parents Caitriona and Anthony Enright, from Co Limerick, said they could now get on with their lives.

"What Charlie lost in August 2013 is priceless. No amount of money can replace it. We are happy with the settlement," they said.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kelly praised the Enright family. He said the whole extended family had got together to care for "a remarkable boy".

Two years ago Charlie settled his case against the HSE arising out of his birth at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick, with a first interim payment of €1.75m to cover his needs for two years.

His mother said: "We have so much joy along with all the pain."

Liability was admitted early in the case, the court heard. That had "eased a burden and also in my head the burden of was it me?" she said. "It became clear it was not me and I could move on."

She said in the last two years they have started to build a house specially adapted for Charlie beside the family home.

Her son's physical ability had improved, she said. Ms Enright added that the biggest difficulty Charlie faces is communication.

Ms Enright said he is starting at the local school in September.

Charlie, of Raheen, Ballyneety, through his mother, sued the HSE in relation to his birth at the Midwestern Regional hospital in August 2013.

Ms Enright had been admitted to the hospital 37 weeks in to her pregnancy, on August 19, 2013. A decision was made to induce labour.

In his action, it was claimed in the events that followed there was a breach of duty with an alleged failure to provide an appropriate standard of care.

Charlie was flat [unresponsive] when he was born and transferred to Cork University Hospital for 'head cooling' - a treatment given to babies who have been deprived of oxygen to prevent brain damage. An MRI scan showed evidence of intracranial haemorrhage.

He was later transferred back to the Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick and discharged at the end of September 2013.

Irish Independent

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