Failure to Treat Compensation Awarded by Court

The High Court of Dublin has approved a seven-figure settlement of compensation for a girl who sustained severe brain damage as a result of doctor’s failure to treat.

In April 2006, Caoimhe Flood was born at Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital. However, because of injuries sustained at her birth, Caoimhe suffers from cerebral palsy. Her mother alleges that this was a direct consequence of her doctor’s failure to treat her abdominal pains.

Caoimhe’s mother, Marlis, had a history of ante part haemorrhages. In the months preceding her daughter’s birth, Marlis regularly attended the Rotunda for check-ups. However, between the 30th March and the 2nd April, she was admitted to hospital with pains in her abdomen. The day after her discharge, she returned for scans as she was beginning to experience other symptoms.

In her legal action, Marlis alleged that the scan was not conducted on the 3rd April, and she was sent home instead. The next day she returned to the hospital once again, her pain getting ever worse. An exam showed that she was in labour, and Caoimhe was born later that day. This, Marlis believes, was an unnecessary and available delay in her baby’s delivery.

After her daughter’s diagnosis with cerebral palsy, Marlis made a claim on her behalf against the Rotunda Hospital and the Health Service Executives, alleging that Caoimhe’s injuries could have been delayed if the hospital had treated her in a prompt manner.

The Rotunda denied that the were liable for Caoimhe’s birth injuries, though in 2012 they agreed to pay am interim settlement of compensation worth €1.3 million without admitting liability. Earlier this month, the case proceeded to the High Court for approval, as it was made on the behalf of a minor.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard at the court of how Caoimhe’s delayed birth left her a spastic quadriplegic. She is now reliant on full-time care. The final settlement – worth €2.6 million – was approved by Judge Barton, who expressed his relief that the drawn-out case was settled for the family.

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