Monday 18 December 2017

Our beautiful daughter Roisin can finally get the help she needs - father of girl (12) awarded €2.6m

Kevin Conroy with his wife Mary outside court
Kevin Conroy with his wife Mary outside court
Roisin Conroy

Tim Healy and Alan O'Keeffe

A FATHER whose daughter finally received an apology 12 years after suffering serious birth injuries has told how his family endured extra suffering for years, because health authorities and a specialist refused to own up.

Kevin Conroy (52) said official refusals to accept responsibility meant his daughter Roisin missed out on valuable treatment and his wife Mary suffered additional emotional suffering.

But in the High Court the HSE and consultant obstetrician John Corristine tendered an apology for injuries Roisin received at birth. An action for damages was also settled with an interim payment of €2.6m.

Roisin has dyskinetic cerebral palsy, can only communicate with her eyes, and needs a wheelchair to get around.

Mr Conroy said that his wife had "blamed her own body" for what happened and insisted on having cesaerian sections for the births of their other two children, Samantha and Luke, who are both healthy.

"We were told nothing could have been done to have prevented what happened so Mary took to blaming herself. She felt her own body had let down our daughter," he said last night from the family home in Dysart, Portlaoise.

Through her mother, Roisin had sued the HSE and Mr Corristine, attached to the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, as a result of injuries sustained at the time of her birth on November 14, 2001.

The settlement, which allows for Roisin's family to come back to court in two years time when her future care needs will be decided, was with an admission of liability.

Family solicitor Michael Boylan said the case was a classic illustration of why there should be a legal duty of candour for health care professionals.

It would prevent further years, and in this case more than a decade, of hardship and extra trauma that the family have suffered, he said.

Mr Conroy said last night: "If they had admitted responsibility a year ago, I would not have had to give up the job I loved as a supervisor with the ESB. But I had to take redundancy in January in order to stay at home and look after Roisin full-time."


Welcoming the settlement, he said: "Our beautiful daughter Roisin can now get the specialist care and therapy she needs.

"While we put literally everything we have into the care for Roisin, we have not been able to provide the level of care and therapy that the experts say would, over the course of 12 years, have significantly improved her condition and abilities."

"Roisin needs 24 hour care, but she gives us back so much. It just tears our hearts to think what might have been for her."

Mr Conroy added that Roisin is a huge fan of One Direction and it would be "a dream come true" if she could one day meet its Mullingar star Niall Horan and the rest of the band. She calls her toy monkey 'Harry' after heart-throb Harry Styles.

Senior counsel Denis McCullough earlier outlined to the court how Rosin's mother was a private patient of Mr Corristine. On November 10, 2001, Mrs Conroy had gone to the hospital when she thought her membranes had ruptured.

She was reassured, and discharged home, but three days later she attended Mr Corristine's clinic and insisted she be admitted to hospital.

It was claimed that Mr Corristine ordered medicine be administered and that Mrs Conroy did not see the consultant again at the labour or the birth of her daughter.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told Mr Corristine would say he had given over care of the patient to another consultant -- but Mrs Conroy would argue this was done without her knowledge.

In the apology yesterday, defence counsel said they wished "to express their sincere apologies for the failings that caused injuries to Roisin and the consequential trauma experienced by Roisin and her family".

It added: "They understand that neither this apology nor the financial compensation granted by the court can negate the continuing heartache that the Conroy family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for them."

Irish Independent

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