Friday 19 January 2018

US hospital threatens legal action over Ireland's new Children's Hospital name

An artist's impression of the new National Children's Hospital
An artist's impression of the new National Children's Hospital

Ryan Nugent

A US children’s hospital has written to Health Minister Simon Harris threatening legal action if the government go ahead with the naming of the new Phoenix Children’s Health.

Arizona hospital, Phoenix Children’s Hospital has said that they have informed the group for the new national children’s hospital in Ireland that “in the event it moves forward with this name, then we are compelled to pursue all available legal remedies”.

The letter, addressed to Mr Harris comes from David Higginson, Vice President of the Arizona hospital.

In the letter, Mr Higginson said that both hospitals having the same name would have an effect on their reputation, along with adding confusion for the public and consumers.

He said that if the Children’s Hospital Group “elects to use our name, this situation will become a much larger problem over time as patients, the media, government officials and the public  are exposed to an ever-growing confusing array of information”.

“This unnecessary situation poses risks to those who rely upon our hospitals and to our respective reputations and creates needless legal exposures.

“We understand that the development of the  new children’s hospital is in its early stages. Therefore we have communicated to the New Children’s Group our expectation that it reconsider the use of the Phoenix Children’s name and the goodwill that we have earned over more than 30 years,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the new Children’s Hospital Group last night said:

“We are aware that the Minister has received correspondence from the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona and that the Department will be responding directly to them.”

However, despite questions from this newspaper, the hospital has not indicated whether it is prepared to change its name following this threat of legal action.

In October, the government announced plans to name the new children’s hospital - at the grounds of St James’ Hospital  - as Phoenix Children’s Health.

The name, according to the Department of Health was to “symbolise the birth of new opportunities”.

The project is expected to cost in excess of €1 billion and is due to be completed by 2021.

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