Sunday 19 November 2017

'Locked-in syndrome' man awarded €15m after 14-year wait

Edmumd and Karen O’Mahony, the parents of Eoin leaving court yesterday
Edmumd and Karen O’Mahony, the parents of Eoin leaving court yesterday

Tim Healy

A man left brain-damaged after an operation is to receive a €10m lump sum payment in final settlement of his High Court action - 14 years after he suffered his injury.

Eoin O'Mahony was left with "locked-in syndrome", which means he cannot even do simple tasks like press a button.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty will award the 32-year-old, of Station Road, Blarney, Cork, around €10m- the exact amount will be decided later.

"The figure reflects the gravity of the case and will meet Eoin's future care needs," he said.

"No financial award can bring back Eoin and his family to a life of fullness and achievement he had every reason to aspire to."

Edmund and Karen O'Mahony, parents of Mr O'Mahony, previously pleaded with the court to finalise the case with a capital lump sum payment after 13 years in litigation. The couple sat through 19 days of hearings as their son's future needs were analysed.

The sum, when added to previous payments totalling some €4.9m, will bring to almost €15m the settlement for Mr O'Mahony.

The judge said he intended to award between €10m and €10.1m to Mr O'Mahony as a final lump-sum payment to cover future care needs.

The exact figure will be finalised in October. The case was against the HSE, which admitted liability.

Mr O'Mahony was a Leaving Cert student in 2001 and, on November 23, following complaints of headaches, he was referred to Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork.

He was readmitted four days later and underwent a procedure to reduce pressure on the brain. On November 30, he underwent another brain procedure and partial removal of a tumour. On December 1, 2001, he lapsed into a coma. He sustained devastating brain injuries.

The court heard he cannot even use his finger to press a button and essentially suffers from "locked-in syndrome".

Mr O'Mahony settled his action five years ago on terms including interim payments of €2.9m and €1.2m.

Mr Justice Moriarty said this case had been "enormously long" and complex.

Adrienne Egan SC, for the HSE, said the HSE will meet the costs of the case.

Mr Justice Moriarty asked both sides to consider an award of between €10 and €10.1m and he adjourned the case briefly.

David Holland SC, for the family, said they were prepared "to split the difference" but the State side was not in a position to do that.

Mr Justice Moriarty said he would prepare a written judgment on the matter. He directed that €800,000 be paid out immediately.

Irish Independent

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