Archive for February 2014

Court Hears Misuse of Syntocinon Resulted in Birth Injuries

The Dublin High Court has heard that the misuse of syntocinon resulted in birth injuries to a young girl who now suffers from dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

Grace Orchard (8) from Carrigaline in County Cork was born at St Finbarr´s Maternity Hospital on 23rd February 2006. Prior to her delivery, her mother had been administered the drug syntocinon to speed up her contractions.

However, syntocinon also has the effect of exacerbating foetal distress and rather than conduct a Caesarean section on her mother, Grace was delivered by forceps after four previous attempts to bring her into the world – including one using a vacuum cup – had failed.

Grace had to be resuscitated after she was born, and was in a poor condition due to the trauma she had suffered in the womb. She was subsequently diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy which – according to her solicitor – was attributable to “appalling poor handling” by hospital staff during her delivery.

Through her mother – Deidre O´Callaghan – Grace made a compensation claim against St Finbarr´s Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE); alleging that the misuse of syntocinon resulted in birth injuries.

The HSE admitted responsibility for Grace´s birth injuries two weeks before a court hearing to determine liability was scheduled to commence. Consequently the case proceeded for the assessment of damages only.

Describing the circumstances of Grace´s birth as a “tragedy”, Grace´s solicitor told Mr Justice Daniel Herbert at Dublin High Court that Grace had been left in a catastrophic position and that the HSE should apologise for the misuse of syntocinon that resulted in birth injuries.

The Court heard that Grace´s family did everything they could for her during her early years – including taking her to a specialist centre in New York for physiotherapy – and that Grace had been accepted into mainstream school, but the services available to her are being reduced due to cut-backs. The case was adjourned for a full assessment of Grace´s future requirements to be made.

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Courts Awards Woman Compensation for London Ambulance Delay

A woman, who was diagnosed with PTSD after waiting fifty minutes for emergency services to attend to her dislocated knee, has been awarded £522,379 in compensation for a London ambulance delay.

Ceri Leigh (50) from Wimbledon in Surrey dislocated her right kneecap in November 2008 while trying to get off a bus. She was unable to move for 50 minutes while she waited in pain for a London Ambulance to arrive and take her to hospital.

Due to the extended delay and the physical trauma Ceri suffered, her knee did not fully recover for eighteen months – during which time she was housebound and suffered flashbacks, nightmares and dissociative seizures.

Ceri was medically retired from her position as Exhibitions Manager at the Natural History Museum and returned to live in South Wales due to financial pressures. There, Ceri was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and she sought legal advice to claim compensation for the London ambulance delay – the trigger which her psychiatrist considered to be the cause of her condition.

The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust acknowledged that there had been an avoidable seventeen minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to attend to Ceri, but disputed the link to her psychiatric issues and the amount of compensation for a London ambulance delay that was being claimed.

The NHS Trust also argued that Ceri had been suffering family and financial problems which could have both triggered her PTSD but, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Globe ruled that he was satisfied Ceri´s seizures were part of the PTSD she had been diagnosed with and were attributable to the trauma she experienced while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The judge awarded Ceri £522,379 in compensation for a London ambulance delay, saying that every additional minute that the emergency services were delayed had added to Ceri´s trauma until she was left in “utter despair”.

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Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for the Failure to Act on a CTG Trace

The Dublin High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for the failure to act on a CTG trace that resulted in a young girl suffering brain damage.

Katie Martin from Trim in County Meath was born at the Coombe Hospital on November 9th 2000 – the same day as her mother – Fiona – had been admitted to the hospital complaining of having irregular contractions.

Fiona underwent a CTG trace when she was first admitted to the hospital that indicated Katie was distressed in the womb. However, it took nearly 90 minutes for staff at the hospital to act on the results of the CTG trace and organise an emergency Caesarean Section.

When Katie was born, she showed no signs of life having suffered a cardiac arrest in the womb. She was resuscitated, but Katie – now thirteen years of age – had suffered serious brain damage as the result of being deprived of oxygen, and she will need twenty-four hour care for the rest of her life.

On her daughter´s behalf, Fiona Martin claimed compensation for the failure to act on a CTG trace against the Coombe Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that if the Caesarean section had been organised sooner, Katie would not have suffered such devastating injuries.

Liability for Katie´s injuries was contested and a full defence against the claim was prepared; in which it was alleged that Katie was starved of oxygen in the womb before her mother arrived at the hospital and when it was too late to prevent Katie suffering brain damage.

However, at the Dublin High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that a settlement of €4 million compensation for the failure to act on a CTG trace had been agreed without the hospital admitting liability for Katie´s injuries.

Judge Irvine was told that the case was before her for the approval of the settlement and, after hearing the circumstances surrounding Katie´s birth, approved the settlement – commenting that it was a good one considering that the case had been contested by the defendant.

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Court Hears Apology for Wrongful Death due to Dehydration

The Health Service Executive has publicly apologised to a family for the wrongful death due to dehydration of their mother at Cavan General Hospital.

In January 2010, Eileen Brady (65) from Crosskeys in County Cavan visited her family GP suffering from mouth ulcers. Her GP referred Eileen to Cavan General Hospital, where her mouth ulcers were diagnosed as being attributable to poor fluid intake. Eileen was admitted into the hospital to be treated for dehydration.

At the time of her referral and admission into Cavan general Hospital, Eileen was also undergoing chemotherapy for stomach cancer at a Dublin Hospital. Because of the treatment Eileen was receiving for her stomach cancer, her veins collapsed and the dehydration treatment was ineffective. However, whereas alternative procedures could have been used to treat Eileen´s condition, she died the next day from multiple organ failure.

An inquest into Eileen´s death revealed a “catalogue of errors” at the hospital. Medical experts determined that Eileen´s wrongful death due to dehydration could have been avoided if her medical records had been examined properly, if senior doctors had been consulted about Eileen´s health or if anybody had spoken with the hospital in Dublin that was providing Eileen with her chemotherapy treatment.

Martin Brady – Eileen´s son – had made a claim for compensation against Cavan General Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE); alleging that the family had suffered mental distress after his mother´s wrongful death due to dehydration. The claim was settled for an undisclosed amount – subject to a public apology being read out at Dublin High Court.

At the hearing, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard a solicitor representing Cavan General Hospital and the HSE read out a statement in which the two parties apologised for the negligent medical care which resulted in Eileen´s wrongful death due to dehydration. The HSE also apologised for the subsequent grief, hurt and stress that had been suffered by her immediate family and friends.

Another of Eileen´s sons – Aidan Brady – responded on behalf of the family. He said he hoped that both Cavan General Hospital and the HSE had learned from “the grave mistakes” made in this case “and that no other family would have to go through the trauma and distress that we have suffered”. Ms Justice Mary Irvine extended her personal sympathy to Eileen´s family before closing the hearing.

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