Monday 21 January 2019

'Families should be supported when traumatic events occur' - boy (5) settles case over birth for €765k

Back Row L-R: Liam and Noelle Tobin pictured with their children, (Front Row L-R:) Billie, Juliet, and Caitriona all from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary leaving the Four Courts today Collins Courts
Back Row L-R: Liam and Noelle Tobin pictured with their children, (Front Row L-R:) Billie, Juliet, and Caitriona all from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary leaving the Four Courts today Collins Courts
South Tipperary General Hospital

Tim Healy

A 5-year old boy with mild cerebral palsy who sued over the circumstances of his birth at South Tipperary General Hospital has settled part of his action for €765,000.

Billy Tobin from outside Clonmel, Co Tipperary will return to the High Court in six years time when loss of earnings for the future will be assessed. Today's settlement relates to future and past care.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told Billy has had ground breaking spinal surgery in the US and he was shown a video of the young buy playing in snow last December throwing snowballs, walking  and running near his home.

Billy Tobin from outside Clonmel, Co Tipperary had through his father Liam sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth on June 15, 2012 at South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Billy's mother Noelle, who had given birth to twins by caesarean section sixteen months before, had been booked in for an elective caesarean section on June 20, 2012 but attended hospital on June 14 with a history of bleeding.

It is claimed on June 15, 2012 a decision was taken to augment labour and perform an artificial rupture with a Syntocinon infusion. It is claimed the decision to augment labour increased the risk of uterine rupture and the risk of requiring a caesarean section.

It was further claimed Mrs Tobin was never properly advised of the increased risk associated with augmented labour in a situation where she had previously undergone a lower segment caesarean section.

At 15.45 Mrs Tobin was started on Syntocinon and this was later increased.

It was alleged there was an excessive infusion of Syntocinon as a result of which Mrs Tobin was caused to suffer uterine rupture which it was claimed in turn caused the baby to be injured. 

It was alleged there was hyperstimulation in the womb and when Billy was born he was close to death and had to be resuscitated.

There was, it was claimed an alleged failure to advise Mrs Tobin either properly or at all of the risks associated with vaginal birth after elective caesarean section previously and an alleged failure to perform cooling treatment on the baby in a timely manner.

Billy's counsel Bruce Antoniotti SC told the court that while liability was not admitted in the case there was an admission in relation to negligence in not transferring the baby to another hospital after birth for head cooling.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross wished the young boy all the best for the future.

Outside court, Billy's mother Noelle, in a statement on behalf of the family, said there needs to be a duty of candour introduced so that time and money are not wasted dragging investigations only to have a case settled at the eleventh hour.

"Families should be supported when a traumatic event occurs and not left to their own devices to find out where to turn," she added.

The reality of having a child with extra needs in this country, she said is not an easy one.

"Carers and those they care for are often afterthoughts in our society, fighting for every little bit on intervention that might help their loved ones," she said.

She said the family are happy that they will now be able to give Billy everything he will need "to continue to thrive physically, socially and emotionally."

"He is a wonderful little boy who has taught us more than we will ever teach him," she added.

She said their son had made tremendous progress  since they travelled to the US for spinal surgery and they were so proud of him.

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