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Left blind and wheelchair-bound -- little Jade (9) will need care for rest of her life

THE High Court has approved an award of €4.75m to young girl who suffered "devastating and permanent injuries" due to alleged medical negligence after she was born.

Jade Keane (9) was born at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, Dublin, on March 21, 2001.

As a result of an alleged failure to treat her, she was left with hydrocephalus, also known as "water on the brain".

It has left her blind, wheelchair-bound, and requiring care for the rest of her life.

Through her mother, Gillian Keane, Wyattville Park, Loughlinstown, Dublin, she sued the HSE, GP Dr Dermot Stones, Albany Court, Shanganagh Road, Ballybrack, Dublin, and the NMH over alleged negligence and breach of duty of care in relation to her treatment.


Judge Iarfhlaith O'Neill approved the award of €4.75m, plus costs, to Jade.

Speaking afterwards Jade's family welcomed the settlement. The settlement was against the HSE and the hospital only.

However, the HSE and the hospital are to continue an action seeking a contribution and or an indemnity against Dr Stones next week.

In their defence, it was argued that Jade had hydrocephalus both at and prior to her birth and her injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition.

Lawyers for Jade said she suffered from the condition in the weeks after she was born.

Denis McCullough, for Jade, said yesterday that negligence had been admitted in the case but all of the defendants had disputed the claims as to causation of the injuries.

Jade's family, counsel said, were happy to accept the offer, in an action that had a full value of €7m.

An application would be made to have Jade made a ward of court.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain, counsel said.


Due to increased pressure inside her skull, Jade's head began to enlarge.

It was their claim that Jade's head circumference was measured at 35cm when she was discharged from Holles Street, and that she was feeding normally and able to smile.

Counsel said it was difficult to accept the child would have been discharged from the hospital if her head circumference was 39cm as the hospital subsequently claimed.

After she was discharged, she was brought to the family GP and to a public health nurse at Loughlinstown Clinic on several occasions.

She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in June 2001 and had emergency surgery performed on June 11 at Crumlin Children's Hospital. However, she was left with permanent brain injuries.