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'I would give back the €1.35m to watch Luke kick a football about'

A MOTHER whose four-year-old son was awarded €1.35m for brain damage at birth said yesterday she would give it all back just to see him kick a football.

Emily Miggin (46), of Ballinadrimna, Athboy, Co Meath, was speaking after the High Court approved the interim settlement to her son Luke.

Luke suffered severe injuries which left him with cerebral palsy, wheelchair-bound and requiring 24-hour care as a result of medical negligence arising out of his delivery at Mullingar General Hospital on February 28, 2006.

Speaking after the settlement, Ms Miggin said an apology about the matter would also have "been nice".

She would "give it all back five-fold if I could see Luke kick a football".

Last night, Ms Miggin told the Irish Independent that the interim settlement was not the end of the case and that she would be back in court again this week in relation to the proceedings. Because of the brain damage to her son, her own business had suffered.

"Luke is the light of my life and he is a very bright boy but you can't help but think what could have been. Two people's lives have been ruined here," she said.

Through his mother, Luke had sued the HSE and consultant obstetrician Michael Gannon of Mullingar Hospital. Liability was admitted by both defendants. The court heard the €1.35m settlement was on the basis that promised legislation to deal with lifetime care in catastrophic injury cases like these will come in within two years. If not, the matter will come back before the court for further consideration.

In Luke's statement of claim, it was alleged the defendants were guilty of negligence and breach of duty towards the child who was healthy when his mother was admitted to hospital at 5.30am on February 28, 2006.

Dr Gannon, it was claimed, failed to note and/or appreciate decelerations in the child's heart rate on a cardiotocograph (CTG) trace. By 2pm that day, he failed to have adequate regard to what was an abnormal CTG trace and failed to carry out a caesarean section. By 3.30pm, having been informed by phone of CTG findings, he ordered Ms Miggin be given the labour-inducing drug Syntocinon.

Dr Gannon attended at 4.40pm and the child was born by forceps delivery at 5.05pm but required resuscitation.

Luke's counsel Bruce Antoniotti said Luke's father, Laurence Byrne, had become estranged from Ms Miggin six months after the child's birth and since then she had cared for him with the father taking "no part" in his care.

Mr Byrne told the court what Mr Antoniotti had said was "a distortion of the truth on an extreme level".

He asked the judge to consider that sums of money were taken from him for the extra care the child needed which were in excess of what a normal child required.

Irish Independent