Monday 18 June 2018

HSE has to help families, says mum of boy awarded €765,000

Liam and Noelle Tobin, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, with their children Billy, Juliet and Caitriona, outside court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix
Liam and Noelle Tobin, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, with their children Billy, Juliet and Caitriona, outside court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

The family of a five-year-old boy with cerebral palsy have called for families to be supported when a traumatic event occurs, "not left to their own devices to find out where to turn".

Billy Tobin, who has mild cerebral palsy, sued over the circumstances of his birth at South Tipperary General Hospital, yesterday settling part of the action for €765,000.

He will return to the court in six years when loss of earnings for the future will be assessed. Yesterday's settlement relates to future and past care.

Outside court, his mother Noelle, in a statement on behalf of the family, said there needed to be a duty of candour introduced so that time and money were not wasted dragging out investigations, only to have a case settled at the 11th 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, was not an easy one.

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

She said the family are happy 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 every teach him," she added.

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

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was shown a video of the young boy playing in snow last December - throwing snowballs, walking and running near his home.

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

Ms Tobin had given birth to twins by Caesarean section 16 months before, and had been booked in for an elective Caesarean 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 which increased the risk of uterine rupture and the risk of requiring a Caesarean section.

It was further claimed Ms Tobin was never properly advised of the increased risk associated with augmented labour when she had previously undergone a lower segment Caesarean section.

At 3.45pm, Ms Tobin was started on syntocinon, a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, and this was later increased.

It was alleged there was an excessive infusion of syntocinon, as a result of which Ms Tobin was caused to suffer a rupture - which it was claimed in turn caused the baby to be injured.

When Billy was born, he was close to death and had to be resuscitated.

There was also an alleged failure to perform cooling treatment on the baby in a timely manner.

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 his birth for head cooling.

Mr Justice Cross approved the settlement.

Irish Independent

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