Sunday 22 July 2018

Woman (20) with cerebral palsy settles case for €1.9m

Shauni Breen, from Glanmire, Co Cork, at the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins
Shauni Breen, from Glanmire, Co Cork, at the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

A 20-year-old woman with cerebral palsy who sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth has settled her action with an interim payout of €1.95m.

Shauni Breen was born about 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister in Wexford General Hospital, the High Court heard.

Ms Breen has cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is confined to a wheelchair.

The young woman will come back to court in five years' time when her future care needs will be assessed.

Ms Breen, from Meadowbrook, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co Cork, had sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth on December 30, 1997. It was claimed that when the twins were 33 weeks and three days, their mother Marie Foley was admitted to Wexford General at 5am. Ms Breen's twin Nicole was born healthy at 6.10am.

It was further claimed the second stage of labour for Ms Breen lasted 40 minutes. The management of her birth was incompetent, it was alleged. There was an alleged failure to have an anaesthetist present and to have a full team in attendance, ready and prepared for every eventuality.

There was also an alleged failure to recognise it was a high risk labour.

The court was told the claims were denied and the HSE contended the management of the birth complied with general and approved practice. It was also contended the treatment was entirely consistent with conventional medical practice in a district hospital maternity unit in 1997.

Counsel said the baby had an abnormal presentation and his side contended she should have been delivered by caesarean section within 15 minutes of her sister.

He said Ms Breen had to be resuscitated and was transferred to another hospital.

Counsel said the young woman was doing well and the care by her mother throughout her life had been extraordinary.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement.

Irish Independent

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