Saturday 24 August 2019

Parents 'delighted with €2m payout' for disabled son

'Through his mother, Alex, of Orchard Court, Rocky Road, Midleton, Co Cork, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth on October 5, 2010' Stock photo: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing
'Through his mother, Alex, of Orchard Court, Rocky Road, Midleton, Co Cork, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth on October 5, 2010' Stock photo: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

Tim Healy

A boy who sued over the circumstances of his birth in Cork University Maternity Hospital has settled his High Court action with an interim payout of €1.98m.

Alex Foley (6), who two years ago received a National Children of Courage award, has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

The court heard his family and friends fund-raised so that Alex could have a key operation in the US which means he can now walk for short periods but he also has to use a wheelchair.

Outside court, his counsel Doireann O'Mahony said Alex's parents, Laurane and Patrick Foley, were delighted with the settlement.

She said Alex, his twin brother Jacob, and the three other Foley children, could now look to the future.

Through his mother, Alex, of Orchard Court, Rocky Road, Midleton, Co Cork, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth on October 5, 2010.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to exercise reasonable care and skill in and around the management of Mrs Foley's pregnancy and an alleged failure to exercise sufficient vigilance at the antenatal stage.

There was, it was further claimed, an alleged failure to identify sooner a complication of pregnancy - vasa praevia - in which a baby's blood vessels cross or run near the internal opening of the uterus.

There was also, it was claimed, an alleged failure to have any or any sufficient regard to the operative risk indicators for foetal distress and injury including a low-lying placenta.

The claims were denied.

The court was told Mrs Foley was pregnant with twins and had a scan in June 2010 which showed a low-lying placenta.

There was another scan in September 2010 and a low-lying placenta meant there was a real risk of vasa praevia.

It was contended by the Foley side there should have been another more specific scan at this stage and if there had been it would have identified the risk.

On October 4, 2010, Mrs Foley began to suffer pains at home and went to the hospital where a cardiotocography (CTG) trace showed the foetal hearts to be normal.

After midnight, the mother's waters were artificially broken and she suffered heavy bleeding.

Alex's heartbeat started to drop and it was decided to deliver the twins by emergency caesarean section.

Alex was in poor health when born but his brother Jacob was normal.

The HSE contended it was not normal practice to carry out the second scan.

Mrs Foley told the court Alex was an extremely happy little boy who was an inspiration to a lot of people.

"He gets on with life. He is extremely happy," she said.

He recently played the lead role in the school Christmas play.

The case will come back to court in five years' time.

Irish Independent

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