Interim Settlement of Cerebral Palsy Claim against Kerry Hospital Approved in Court

An interim settlement of a cerebral palsy claim against Kerry Hospital has been approved at the Dublin High Court in favour of a three year old girl.

On 22nd April 2011, Skye Worthington was born at the Kerry General Hospital in a distressed state after her mother – Colleen – had been administered the drug Syntocinon to accelerate her labour. Although the artificial drug had speeded up Colleen´s contractions, the administration of the drug had resulted in Skye suffering hypoxia in the womb.

Due to a lack of oxygen in the womb, Skye was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after she was born. Skye has difficulty sitting up, has to be fed through a tube, and can only communicate by using her eyes. An investigation into how Skye´s birth was managed revealed that if she had been born just fifteen minutes sooner, she would not have suffered such devastating injuries.

On her daughter´s behalf, Colleen Worthington from Castlegregory in County Kerry made a cerebral palsy claim against Kerry Hospital and the Health Service Executive. The Health Service Executive acknowledged the errors that had been made in the management of Skye´s birth and an interim settlement of €2.32 million compensation was negotiated.

As the interim settlement of the cerebral palsy claim against Kerry Hospital had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Skye´s best interests. Therefore, at the Dublin High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was made aware of the circumstances of Skye´s birth and the consequences of her injury.

At the hearing, Skye´s parents were also read a statement in which Kerry General Hospital and the Health Service Executive apologised unreservedly for the errors in the management of Skye´s birth. The apology added that lessons had been learned from the investigation into Skye´s birth which her parents had participated in and which had helped clarify a number of important issues.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross explained to Skye´s parents that the interim settlement of the claim for cerebral palsy against Kerry Hospital was a temporary settlement to allow an assessment to be conducted over the next three years for Skye´s future needs. Once the assessment is completed, the family will have the option of annual periodic payments – subject to legislation being passed – or be able to take a lump sum payment in final settlement of the cerebral palsy claim against Kerry Hospital.