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Boy who suffered brain damage at birth awarded €13.5m by High Court

An 8-year old severely disabled boy who suffered brain damage at birth has been awarded €13.5million by the High Court.

The award was made this morning to Gill Russell towards his care for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross  who had spent weeks hearing  evidence in the case in relation to the boy's future care said he believed  €13.5million is a reasonable sum, fair to both sides of the case.

The case is also a ground breaking test case. Monies  for future care and expenses have usually been awarded by the Irish courts on the assumption that the monies for the furture care and expenses will gain interest when invested of  3 per cent per annum and there is an in built discount to to allow for that. Mr Justice Kevin Cross today fixed the rate of return or discount  in Gill's case at 1 per cent compared to the more usual 3 per cent previously factored in. Legal sources said this decision will have implications for furture cases.

Gill's mother, Karen Russell - who had pleaded with the court to award  a lump sum payment for her son's s future care needs given the continuing absence of the necessary laws allowing for periodic payments for the catstrophically injured- broke down with tears of relief after today's judgment.

Gill Russell's case was adjourned two years ago with an interim payout of €1.4m in anticipation of the legislation.

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Solicitors for Karen Russell, Cliona Kenny pictured speaking to the media after the settlement

Solicitors for Karen Russell, Cliona Kenny pictured speaking to the media after the settlement

Solicitors for Karen Russell, Cliona Kenny pictured speaking to the media after the settlement

Two years ago the HSE and Cork University Maternity Hospital apologised to the then 6-year old boy as part of the partial settlement of the case.

Gill Russell, Aghada, Co Cork,  cannot walk, suffers from dyskinetic cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

Through his mother, he sued the HSE alleging negligence in the circumstances of his birth at the Erinville Hospital, Cork on July 12th,2006. Liability was admitted and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

It was claimed Gill was born at at 8.36am after an alleged "prolonged and totally chaotic" delivery. He had a severe shoulder dystocia and was born after his mother had a symphsiotomy.

He was transferred to Cork University Hospital where he remained for two months. The court heard he will always be unable to walk and does not have function in his arms but can communciate and learn with the aid of a special computer which responds to his eye gaze.

In an apology read to the court last October on behalf of the HSE and Cork University Maternity Hospital, the defendants offered sincere apologies for the pain and distress experienced by Gill and his family following his care and delivery.

The apology stated the defendants did not underestimate the trauma experienced but wished to assure Gill and his mother additional reviews of hospital practices are continually carried out with the aim of ensuring the safety of its patients at all times.


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