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Scared parents took 31.5m for brain injury

THE father of a boy with cerebral palsy caused by alleged medical negligence at birth says the family has been "pushed into a corner" to accept a €1.5m High Court settlement against a maternity hospital.

A lawyer for Jack Kenny (6) believed a more realistic offer from the hospital should have been between €3m and €4m, the court heard.

His father, Cathal O'Donovan, told the court the award will still mean they would be financially worried about the rest of the child's life.

The judge agreed it was not enough but there had been a similar case where a family got nothing.

"We are scared. It is so unfair. We really feel hard done by," Mr O'Donovan said.

The proceedings were taken by Jack, suing through his mother, Lynsey Kenny of The Court, Larch Hill, Santry, Dublin, against the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin.

The defendant denied the claims and the settlement was without admission of liability.

Denis McCullough, the boy's lawyer, said a settlement offer of €1.5m had been made but he felt a more realistic offer should have have been in the region of €3m to €4m.

Counsel said his real concern was the family might fail in the proceedings. The defendant did not wish to go above €1m but eventually, with a great deal of persuasion, agreed to €1.5m.

Mr McCullough said Jack was a very bright alert boy because of the attention his parents had given him over the years.

He said the child was born with it umbilical cord around its neck on March 19 2003.

In the statement of claim, it was submitted that Jack was nearly dead at birth and required extensive resuscitation, taking some eight minutes in all. The infant was in hospital for 45 days and developed cerebral palsy.

Addressing the court, Jack's father Cathal said his son was a beautiful boy "but it was so hard to just look at him -- we love him so much.

"The boy is full of happiness and I think he deserves more in life."

He felt the family was being being "pushed into a corner and have to put up or shut up and get on with life".

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice John Quirke said while the €1.5m wasn't enough to provide for him, it was better than ending up with nothing as happened in a similar case he dealt with. The Supreme Court also dismissed an appeal brought by the parents in that case.