Friday 22 February 2019

Teen paralysed by surgery gets €4.8m settlement and an apology

Emily Casey with her parents Dermot and Stephanie outside court yesterday
Emily Casey with her parents Dermot and Stephanie outside court yesterday

Tim Healy

A teenage girl yesterday received an apology in the High Court, six years after she was left paralysed after undergoing surgery on her spine.

Emily Casey will receive a total of €4.8m in settlement of her action against Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin, and consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dr David Moore.

Ms Casey celebrates her 19th birthday today.

Eoin McCullough SC, on behalf of the defendants, "sincerely apologised" to Ms Casey and her family for what occurred.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved a further €3.1m settlement on top of a €1.75m interim payment to her last May, bringing the final figure to €4.8m.

It was claimed that Ms Casey suffered injury after a screw was inserted into her spinal cord during an operation to treat curvature of the spine, on December 8, 2009.

As a result of her spinal cord being severely damaged, she is paralysed from the chest down, the court was told.

Ms Casey is now confined to a wheelchair, and requires care and assistance. The case was brought through her mother, Stephanie, of Nerano Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Ms Casey's counsel Liam Reidy said liability was admitted in the case in May.

He told the court that she had contracted meningitis when aged four. This resulted in ongoing health problems but she was, after time, able to walk with a frame and had a degree of independence. In 2009, she was diagnosed with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, and underwent surgery on her spine at Crumlin, he said.

Her injuries were caused when a special screw, known as a pedicle screw, was wrongly inserted into her spinal cord.

The screw was removed following further surgery the following day, he added.

Ms Casey remained in hospital until April 2010, when she was moved to the National Rehabilitation Centre.

Outside court, Emily said she was relieved and delighted and she was looking forward to celebrating her birthday with her parents and family.

Her mother said it had been a long legal road but Emily would now have all the services she required.

Irish Independent

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