Wednesday 13 November 2019

Girl (13) settles High Court action against HSE over alleged negligence during birth with initial payment of €2.1m

Katie McGuane (13) with her mum, Niamh (Right) from Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick. Pic: Collins Courts
Katie McGuane (13) with her mum, Niamh (Right) from Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick. Pic: Collins Courts
Katie McGuane (13) with her mum, Niamh (Right) from Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick. Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A 13-YEAR-old disabled girl who sued over the circumstances of her premature birth has settled her High Court action against the HSE with an initial payout of €2.1million. 

Katie McGuane and her twin brother were born prematurely in November 2003 in a Limerick maternity hospital , but Katie's twin died six days later, the court heard.

John O'Mahony SC, for Katie, said his side contended  there were two omissions in the care of Katie's mother. A urine specimen was not examined and if it had been, counsel said, it would have shown an infection which could have been treated. 

The second omission was that full dilation was not diagnosed and steroids were not given which would have been beneficial to the babies. Katie is partially deaf, has epilepsy as well as physical and mental impairment, counsel said.

Through her mother Niamh McGuane, of Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick, Katie sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth at St Munchins Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick on November 26, 2003.

It was claimed Katie was prematurely born by way of caesarean section at 26 weeks and four days.

Katie McGuane (13) with her mum, Niamh (Right) from Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick. Pic: Collins Courts
Katie McGuane (13) with her mum, Niamh (Right) from Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick. Pic: Collins Courts

 It was claimed there was an alleged failure to note Katie's mum was suffering from a urinary tract infection and an alleged failure to heed the risk of the mother entering premature labour because of the presence of nitrates in the urine and and the fact that she was pregnant with twins. 

There was it was claimed an alleged failure to cause a mid steam urine test taken on November 10,2003 to be properly reported on. Ms McGuane. it was alleged, was exposed to a risk of premature delivery by reason of the failure to treat the infection.

There was it is claimed also an alleged failure to properly diagnose the mother's condition by way of premature labour when she attended the hospital on November 26, 2003. I

t was further claimed Katie  was allegedly deprived of the chance or opportunity of having treatment which would have  assisted her in the birthing process. She was allegedly unnecessarily exposed to a risk of developing significant physical and mental impairment by reason of her unnecessarily premature delivery. 

The claims were denied.

Ms MCGuane told Mr Justice Kevin Cross her daughter attends a school for the deaf. It was the best thing that had happened her. and she loves it, she said.

Mr Justice Cross said when the case comes back before the courts in five years time, Katies' future care needs will be assessed.

Outside court, the solicitor for the McGuanes, Sean O'Riordain, said the family were relieved it was all over and Ms McGuane wanted to thank her extended family for the way they have helped care for Katie over the years.

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