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Teen with cerebral palsy gets €3.75m settlement

A MOTHER last night spoke of her overwhelming relief after her teenage son secured a €3.75m settlement in a medical-negligence case.

Sean Byrne (17), of Grange Heights, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, who suffers from cerebral palsy, had brought a case to the High Court alleging that there was negligence and a breach of duty during his birth at Mullingar General Hospital on March 23, 1994.

The HSE, which denied the claim, settled without any admission of liability.

"It has been a hard fight but I am delighted with the result," said Sean's mother Joan.

"It gives security for Sean's future and takes a lot of the pressure and anxiety off us," she added.

The court case taken by Sean's family alleged that Mullingar General Hospital failed to monitor Sean's foetal heartbeat adequately during the birth, and that it failed to ensure Sean was delivered by caesarean section, or otherwise, at the first available opportunity.

The hospital had also allegedly failed to recognise abnormal rhythms of the foetal heart in a cardiotocography (CTG) and failed to call in a consultant or doctor of sufficient experience to read the results of the foetal monitoring.

It was claimed labour was permitted to continue despite the abnormal CTG traces. As a result, the court was told, Sean was left with severe neurological impairment and cerebral palsy that affects the left side of his body.

The court heard that epilepsy was the worst aspect of Sean's condition and that he had fits on a frequent basis.

He falls and hurts himself occasionally, but he can walk, run and play football, as well as indulging in his hobbies of basketball and PlayStation.

Doctors have assessed Sean as being in the 'mild' range when it comes to his cerebral palsy.

Sean's legal representative Denis McCullough said it was the family's case that if Sean had been delivered 11 hours earlier by caesarean, he would have not been left with brain damage.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine observed there were many questions about the cause of Sean's condition and said she viewed the settlement as an excellent one.

Irish Independent