Saturday 23 March 2019

First injury settlement with lifelong payments for girl with brain damage

Care: Eddie O’Connor and Michelle Farrell, parents of Saibhe. Photo: Collins
Care: Eddie O’Connor and Michelle Farrell, parents of Saibhe. Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

A 13-year-old brain-damaged girl has settled her High Court action against the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin over the care provided to her mother before her birth.

Saibhe O'Connor is to get an annual payout of €610,000 for her lifetime in the first case to come before the courts which has been finalised with lifelong payments.

Saibhe, who has already received interim settlement payments totalling €2.94m, is the first to accept the periodic payments which means an amount will be paid out annually for her care and upkeep.

The settlement of the case, in 2012, was without an admission of liability. President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, was satisfied it was an appropriate case in which to make a periodic payment order. He said Saibhe had demonstrated herself to be "somewhat of a warrior" and he thanked her parents Michelle and Eddie for the care they have given their daughter.

The judge said he was taking into account Saibhe's parents were happy with the periodic payments.

He was also satisfied the periodic payment order was in Saibhe's best interests. He added it was a wise decision in Saibhe's case to go for periodic payments and he was sure her parents were delighted it was their last time to come to the Four Courts in relation to the case.

Saibhe, of Croftwood Green, Ballyfermot, Dublin, through her mother Michelle Farrell sued the Rotunda over the circumstances of her birth on November 7, 2005. It was claimed there was negligence and breach of its duty of care towards Saibhe in the treatment and management of her mother's pregnancy.

The Rotunda had denied all claims. Ms Farrell, it was claimed, had gone to her GP and the doctor fearing the onset of pre-eclampsia. She was referred to the Rotunda as an emergency admission. In the hospital, on November 2, 2005, she was diagnosed with pre-eclamptic toxaemia. It was claimed that despite objections from her family, she was discharged on November 6, to be reviewed two days later. The following day her condition worsened.

An ambulance was called but en route Ms Farrell suffered an eclamptic seizure, and had to be brought to the nearest hospital for an emergency caesarean section. Yesterday, Saibhe's counsel Aongus Ó Brolchain said the O'Connors had intended to go for a final lump-sum payment but it was decided to accept a periodic payment.

Irish Independent

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