Tuesday 17 July 2018

Family of brain damaged young boy 'never given any hope' he would recover

Jude Miley with his mum and dad Anne Louise and Greville from Dundrum in Dublin Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Jude Miley with his mum and dad Anne Louise and Greville from Dundrum in Dublin Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File

A father whose young son is profoundly brain damaged following an operation at Crumlin Children's Hospital has told the High Court the family were never given any hope for the boy.

Jude Miley was just six months old when a suture used in an operation to release his diaphragm and help his breathing remained untrimmed, causing damage to the heart muscle.

Two days later, the baby had a heart attack and was rushed to theatre for emergency surgery which saved his life.

His parents, Anne Louise and Greville Miley, were told Jude had suffered irreversible damage and an MRI scan days later showed he had widespread damage to the brain.

In proceedings brought on behalf of the child, now aged four,  the hospital has admitted liability and the case is before the High Court to assess damages.

Greville Miley, who cares full time for his son, told the court on Friday he and his wife were told by doctors in Ireland that Jude was not going to recover because of the damage to brain.

Using their own funds, and money from a trust fund set up by friends, they brought Jude to the US where there was "an enthusiastic ethos" to his son's recovery.

While doctors here suggested PEG feeding for his son, doctors in the US had dealt with feeding properly by using new therapies, leading to his son eventually being able to eat certain foods. Jude also took his first steps walking unaided at a clinic in the US, he said.

Doctors here could advise but could never give practical examples because anyone here with his son's level of brain damage or less was "still lying in a bed, still in a wheelchair, not walking and not talking".

Mr Miley was giving evidence in the action on behalf of Jude, of Holywell, Upper Kilmacud Road, Dundrum, Dublin, against Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin.

Jude was born on July 16, 2011, and, by January the following year, a condition regarding the contour of his diaphragm was diagnosed.

Necessary surgery was carried out on January 24, 2012, which, it was alleged, was below the standard of care.

It was claimed a suture was placed in the wrong place damaging the heart resulting in the baby deteriorating culminating in the child suffering a cardiac arrest on January 26, 2012.

It was alleged there was failure to use the correct suture or a suture had been placed to protrude in such a way as to abrade the baby's heart muscle.

Other claims included alleged failure to take into account and act appropriately upon the baby's parents concern post operatively regarding Jude's condition.  Liability was admitted last year.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr has already approved a €1.8m settlement under accommodation and loss of earnings headings and now has to assess damages under other headings, including future care. The case continues next week.

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