Archive for November 2013

Girl to Receive Compensation for Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy due to a Mismanaged Birth

A twelve year old girl is to receive €2.3 million compensation for dyskinetic cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth after a hearing at Dublin High Court.

On 10th November 2001, heavily-pregnant Mary Conroy attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Portloaise believing that her waters had broken. After being reassured that they had not, and everything was fine, Mary was discharge from the hospital and returned home.

Three days later, Mary attended the clinic of Dr John Corristine – her personal consultant obstetrician – and, following an ultrasound, insisted she be admitted into hospital. A further CTG scan at the Midland Regional Hospital failed to show any sign of contractions, and Mary was advised to take a bath.

Unfortunately no hot water was available at the hospital, so Dr Corristine advised that Syntocinon be administered to encourage Mary´s contractions. Roisin was delivered the following morning, but shortly after her birth she started to suffer seizures and was transferred to a hospital in Dublin with adequate neo-natal facilities.

Roisin´s conditions failed to improve and she was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy; due to which Roisin (now 12 years old) is permanently disabled and can only communicate through her eyes. Mary Conroy blamed herself for Roisin´s injuries, and insisted on having her next two children delivered by Caesarean Section.

Mary and Kevin Conroy both gave up their jobs to care for their daughter; believing for many years that nothing could have been done to prevent Roisin´s condition and that they had been “just unlucky”. However, after speaking with a solicitor – who discovered that the administration of syntocinon had exacerbated Roisin´s foetal distress prior to her birth – the couple found out that Roisin was entitled to compensation for dyskinetic cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth.

A claim on Roisin´s behalf was made by her parents in 2011, but for two years Dr Corristine and the Health Service Executive denied liability for Roisin´s condition. Only weeks before the claim for compensation for dyskinetic cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth was due to be heard in court was liability conceded and negotiations started to agree a settlement of the claim.

At the Dublin High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine and the Conroy family heard an apology read by Dr Corristine and a representative of the HSE. In the apology both defendants said that “neither this apology nor the financial compensation granted by the court can negate the continuing heartache that the Conroy family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for them.”

Thereafter, Judge Irvine approved a €2.3 million interim settlement of compensation for dyskinetic cerebral palsy due to a mismanaged birth and adjourned the hearing for two years for an assessment of her future needs to be conducted. When the hearing reconvenes, it is hoped that a system of periodic payments will be available so that Roisin is assured of her financial security for the rest of her life.

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Claim for Nervous Shock after Death of Child due to Hospital Negligence Settled

A couple, who alleged that their consultant gynaecologist had mismanaged the birth of their child, have settled their claim for nervous shock after the death of their child due to hospital negligence.

Jane Farren and Feidhlimidh Wrafter from Rathgar in Dublin, made their claim for nervous shock after the death of their child due to hospital negligence following the death of their daughter Molly at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin on October 16th 2008.

Jane had been admitted to the hospital the previous day following a spontaneous membrane rupture. She was administered Syntocinon to help induce labour and, at 3.45 am the following morning, was taken to theatre to attempt a vacuum delivery.

When the vacuum delivery was unsuccessful, Molly was delivered half an hour later by emergency Caesarean Section. Unfortunately, due to being deprived of oxygen in the womb, Molly could not be resuscitated.

Jane and Feidhlimidh alleged that their consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Professor Fergal Malone had failed to properly manage the labour, delivery and birth of their child; and that staff at the Rotunda Hospital had failed to identify abnormalities in the foetal heart rate in a timely manner, which – if they had – would have led to Molly being born earlier and possibly surviving.

The couple also claimed that they were misinformed during the labour and delivery process, and were led to believe after Molly´s death that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. Jane and Feidhlimidh also explored the possibility that Molly´s death could have been due to a genetic problem or a pre-labour trauma, despite the couple already having two perfectly healthy children.

Professor Malone and the Rotunda Hospital denied that mistakes had been made in the management of Molly´s delivery; but, shortly before a scheduled hearing at the Dublin High Court was due to commence, it was announced that the claim for nervous shock after the death of a child due to hospital negligence had been settled for €150,000 without an admission of liability, and that the case could be struck out.

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National Audit Office Reveals Cost of Maternity Medical Negligence Cover

A review by the National Audit Office has revealed that the cost of insuring against maternity medical negligence has increased to £700 for every live birth in England.

According to figures released today by the National Audit Office, the NHS spends almost £500million each year insuring against maternity medical negligence claims for when babies sustain avoidable injuries during the delivery process.

Explaining that maternity services throughout England were generally good for women and babies, the public spending watchdog said there was still a lot of scope for improvement and highlighted “wide unexplained variations” between NHS trusts in the rates of readmissions, injuries and infections.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4´s Today programme, Laura Blackwell – the Director of Health Value for Money Studies at the National Audit Office, said that the number of maternity medical negligence claims had risen significantly in recent years.

She also commented that it was difficult to assess the current state of affairs within the NHS because it takes on average four years for a maternity medical negligence claim to be settled. It is also the case that parents do not also claim immediately after an avoidable injury has occurred, and it can be some years later before a claim for maternity medical negligence compensation is initiated.

The National Audit Office highlighted that the number of compensation claims for maternity medical negligence has risen by 80% in the last five years, that the cost of insurance cover in 2012 was £482million, and the average settlement per claim was £277,000.

The watchdog attributed the volume of claims to a shortage of midwives and consultants on maternity wards – concluding that a further 2,300 midwives are required to address a national shortage which saw a quarter of maternity units closed to admission for at least half a day last year because the demand for beds outstripped capacity.

The report also commented that more than half of maternity units are not meeting the standards recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

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