Wednesday 22 November 2017

'We grieve every day for the life Eoghan has lost' - Mum of brain damaged boy as interim settlement of €2.5m approved

University Hospital Waterford
University Hospital Waterford

University Hospital Waterford has apologised to the parents of a 6-year old boy left brain damaged just before his second birthday after the High Court heard there was a "profound misdiagnosis " of his chicken pox infection.

Eoghan Keating, who cannot talk and is tetraplegic today, settled his action against the HSE for €2.5m. His counsel told the High Court there was a misdiagnosis with mumps when he had infectious chicken pox. The boy later suffered a brain injury of the most profound kind, Liam Reidy SC said.

The hospital's general manager Richard Dooley read a statement to the High Court and apologised on behalf of the management and staff for "the deficiencies in the care provided to Eoghan at the hosptial on August 24, 2012."

"I would also like to acknowlege the many challenges that you and your family have faced as a result of the treatment afforded to Eoghan," he said.

He added:

"I do not underestimate how traumatic this has been for you and we are truly sorry for the distress this has caused to you and to Eoghan."

Eoghan Keating, Upper Dunhill, Co Waterford had, through his mother Martina Keating, sued the HSE over the care he received when he was brought to the A&E of Waterford Regional Hospital on August 24, 2012  with a rash and a high temperature.

The baby had a high fever was irrtitable and crying and it it was claimed his parents were advised Eoghan had mumps. It was noted he had a rash all over his body especially his abdomen and a diagnosis of chickenpox with mumps was then made.

It is claimed the management plan was to discharge Eoghan for him to take ibuprofen and Calpol and for his parents to contact the hosptial if concerned.

That night it is claimed a swelling in the baby's neck increased and he was lethargic and his parents rang the hospital and were told Eoghan had mumps. When they called again they were advised to contact the caredoc GP service.

The caredoc service advised that the swelling was very serious and Eoghan was brought back to Waterford Regional Hosptial. At the hospital the boy was intubated and ventilated and he was later transferred to a Dublin hospital.

It was claimed there was a failure to admit Eoghan at Waterford Regional Hospital and to treat him intravenously with an antibiotic when he first presented and an alleged failure to heed the indicators of a significant evolving infection.

Eoghan's mother Martina told the court that before he became seriously ill, they had so many hopes and dreams for him.

"He was an energetic, fun loving toddler and very sociable and he loved nothing more than giving hugs to everyone. It would have meant everything to us to see him grow into a young man, fall in love and eventually form a loving family of his own. Unfortunately for Eoghan this now not to be," she said.

She added: "We grieve every day for the life Eoghan has lost but we know we are blessed to still have him with us."

Calling Eoghan their "little warriior" she said there is now no singing of nursery rhymes or dancing in the kitchen with his sister like there once was and he cannot reach out his arms to give hugs anymore.

"We get a turn of his head in recognition of our voices on a good day and on a very good day when there is no discomfort we get a smile which is so very precious, but we do miss the sound of his little laugh," she told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

She said they would return the settlement "if it would miraculously enable Eoghan to be pain free and carefree like he once was.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross told the Keatings "your suffering cannot be described or defined". The case will come back before the court in two years time when another aspect of Eoghan's case will be assessed. The court hear that an action for nervous shock by Eogan's patents is also in the pipeline.

Outside court, Eoghan's Dad, Larry urged the Government and those in management to help all children with chronic, life limiting conditions.

"These children are the real heroes who battle, through their parents for the most basic of needs on a daily basis. They deserve so much better than what is currently available," he said.

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