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.