20-year-old man sues over circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr's Hospital

A 20-year old man who has cerebral palsy has taken a High Court action over the circumstances of his birth at a Cork Hospital.

Martin Coleman's senior counsel told the High Court it was their case there was a complete shut off of oxygen supply to the baby during his birth at St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork and that he suffered a hypoxic brain injury.

David Holland SC said this was not the usual case of cerebral palsy where there was a very high degree of disability, but he said Martin Coleman's condition has had a devastating effect on the life he would have had.

Mr Coleman, Counsel said was stillborn and had to be resuscitated after birth and has dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Counsel said Martin Coleman has mild learning difficulties and while he is physically able and is a disabled athlete of note, Counsel said Martin has whole variety of physical conditions which impede him.

Mr Holland told Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon his side were asking the court to write a prescription to cater for the rest of the young man's life and his care needs. He said Mr Coleman aspires to have an independent life living in Cork city and for this he will require supports, the costs of which are significant.

The court heard the claim also includes a claim for loss of earnings.

Martin Coleman, Ballyvaloon, Whitegate, Co Cork has sued the HSE and retired consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Liam Mundow over the circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr's Hospital. Cork on May 25, 1997.

It is claimed that Martin’s mother Karen Coleman was admitted to St Finbarr’s Hospital on May 25, 1997 and placed in a room in the observation area. It is claimed while there the supervision and monitoring of the mother was allegedly sub standard and she was allowed to walk around the area for lengthy periods.

It is further claimed despite alleged concerns being raised as to the CTG trace, there was an alleged failure to properly investigate it and take appropriate and speedy action.

It is further alleged the CTG trace monitoring the baby was discontinued at one stage for seven minutes and at another stage for a 44 minute interval

It was further claimed there was another period of 24 minutes when the CTG was allegedly discontinued.

It is claimed there was an alleged delay in summoning Mr Mundow and an alleged failure to have the paediatric team present for the birth.

The claims are denied.

Counsel told the court at one stage when Mrs Coleman was in labour she was transferred to a trolley to be brought to theatre.

In what counsel said was like a “ trolley farce”, he said there was something wrong with the wheels of the trolley and it could not be moved.

“ A second trolley could not get in to the room and the mother had to get off the first trolley and on to the second trolley,”he said.

The case which is expected to last four weeks continues tomorrow.


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