“Heroic” Teenager Compensated for Birth Injuries

The High Court of Dublin has approved a final settlement of birth injury compensation for a teenage girl who sustained severe brain damage after she was deprived of oxygen at birth.

On the 11th October 1999, Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital via an emergency Caesarean Section. However, her mother alleges that there was an unnecessary delay of eighty minutes in Mary’s delivery, as a miscommunication between staff meant that there was difficulty in locating a paediatrician. During this time, Mary was deprived of oxygen in utero and now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Acting on her daughter’s behalf, Maura Malee – of Swinford in Co. Mayo – made a claim for delayed delivery resulting in birth injury compensation against the Mayo General Hospital and the Health Service Executives. In the claim, she alleges that despite the fact Mary had been diagnosed with foetal distress syndrome, the hospital failed to deliver her in a timely manner due to the lack of paediatrician.

In March 2014, Mary was offered an interim settlement of compensation and the case was subsequently adjourned for two years whilst a new system of periodic settlements was introduced in Ireland. However, no such change came and earlier this month the Malee family returned to the High Court for the approval of a €5.56 settlement of compensation.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who oversaw the High Court hearing, heard from May that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”. Mary also detailed her dream of becoming a spokesperson for the disabled, and as he described Mary’s ability to overcome the challenges presented to her as “heroic”, Judge Kelly approved the settlement.

After the announcement of the settlement, Mary commented to the press that “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.

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