Friday 23 March 2018

'We'd give back €2.5m to see Skye walk and talk'

Colleen and Kevin Worthington outside the Four Courts yesterday after the High Court settlement
Colleen and Kevin Worthington outside the Four Courts yesterday after the High Court settlement
Skye Worthington (3), of Cloghane, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry. The High Court approved a settlement of €2.52 million for damages, in relation to Skye (3). PIC: COURTPIX

Tim Healy

The mother of a young girl left brain damaged at birth said they would give back a €2.5m settlement just to see her walk and talk.

The HSE and Kerry General Hospital apologised unreservedly to three-year-old Skye Worthington in a statement the judge described as "out of the ordinary".

Outside court, her parents Kevin and Colleen Worthington said Skye, their only child, has to fight for her place on this earth, sometimes fighting for every breath, but she is feisty and determined and they are very proud of her.

"We don't know what route Skye's life will take but this settlement will help pave that route, and give her the tools she needs to thrive. If we could return this settlement and magically enable Skye to walk and tell us she loves us or where she has pain, we would, but that's not an option for us," her mother said.

Speaking on Wednesday, Ms Worthington said that the family had accepted the HSE and Kerry General Hospital’s apology.

“We thought it was a very sincere apology and we’ve accepted it,” she told Newstalk’s Lunchtime.

“We will keep a copy for Skye for when she is older and able to read it herself.”

“Now we are just hopeful that there are procedures in place to prevent such a catastrophic mistake happening to other families.”

Skye of Cloghane, Castlegregory, Co Kerry, sued the HSE through her mother as a result of injuries sustained during her delivery at Kerry General, Tralee, in April 2011. The court was told that liability had been admitted in the case.

The HSE and Kerry General Hospital settled her High Court action over the circumstances of her birth with an interim payout of €2.52m to cover the next three years.

Skye has cerebral palsy, can only sit for a while, has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes.

But if she had been delivered 15 minutes earlier, she would not have been injured.

Bruce Antoniotti SC, for Skye, read an apology to the court from the general manager of Kerry General Hospital, TJ O'Connor.

It stated the HSE South/ South West Hospital Group and the Kerry General maternity department "wish to apologise unreservedly".

"Whilst it was not intentional and it cannot be undone, we have learned lessons from the management of Skye's birth by having a formal review of which you were part."

Approving the €2.52m settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was an apology which was "out of the ordinary" and not "just a formation of words".

The court heard Mrs Worthington had been admitted to Kerry General on April 21, 2011.After 4am on April 22, a drain of meconium was noticed and syntocinon, a drug used to speed up labour, was administered after 10am.At 10.58am.

 Mrs Worthington's contractions were very strong and there was a prolonged deceleration noted in the baby's heartbeat.The "cardinal error", counsel for the Worthingtons said, was that the deceleration in the heartbeat caused by the contractions was ignored.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News