Erb´s Palsy Compensation Settlement Approved at Dublin High Court

A €250,000 Erb´s Palsy compensation settlement has been approved at the Dublin High Court for a girl who suffered an avoidable brachial plexus birth injury.

Keelan Murray was born at the National Maternity Hospital in January 2004 after an obstetric emergency due to Keelan having shoulder dystocia – a situation in which the baby´s shoulders fail to clear the pubic symphysis. In resolving the shoulder dystocia situation, excessive force was used to extract the shoulders, resulting in Keelan suffering an avoidable brachial plexus injury.

Damaged brachial plexus nerves can heal themselves during the early months of a child´s life, but sometimes the damage is permanent – as in Keelan´s case – when the condition becomes known as Erb´s Palsy. Now eleven years old, Keelan is unable to make full use of her right arm due to the nerve damage she sustained and has had to learn how to write with her left hand.

Keelan underwent an operation to repair the injury in 2012, but surgery failed to improve her condition. Through her mother – Sharon Murray of Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow – Keelan made a claim for Erb´s Palsy compensation against the National Maternity Hospital, alleging that traction was inappropriately used to enable her delivery after shoulder dystocia had been identified.

The National Maternity Hospital denied that Keelan´s condition had been caused by medical negligence but offered an Erb´s Palsy compensation settlement of €250,000 without an admission of liability. Keelan´s mother accepted the offer on advice from her solicitor, but as the Erb´s Palsy compensation settlement was in respect of a claim made on behalf of a child, it had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Keelan´s best interest.

The approval hearing took place at the Dublin High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told how Keelan is a bright young girl who still manages to participate in sports despite her disability. Judge Cross agreed with Keelan´s solicitor that it would be prudent to accept the proposed Erb´s Palsy compensation settlement in the circumstances and he approved it – wishing Keelan well for the future as he closed the case.