8-year-old boy settles birth injury case for €5m after mediation

By Ann O'Loughlin

An 8-year old boy with cerebral palsy who sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Sligo General Hospital has settled his High Court action for €5m.

The settlement in the case of Kyle Carpenter took place after mediation talks between the sides.

Kyle Carpenter, Gort na Si, Coolaney, Co Sligo had through his mother Lisa Kiely sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth in May 2009.

It was claimed that on May 1, 2009 Ms Kiely went to Sligo General Hospital after she had pain. A CTG was normal and reassuring and she was advised it was claimed she was not in labour and she was allegedly discharged after less than an hour.

It was claimed Ms Kiely had further pains the next day and felt the baby kicking. On May 3, it was claimed Ms Kiely woke up and did not feel any movements and had no pains.

She went back to the hospital and she was attached to a CTG trace. It was claimed she was allegedly advised the heartbeat was high and there was nothing to worry about.

It was claimed the CTG on May 3 was pathological from the outset and that at 14.10 it was allegedly noted there had been no recorded foetal movements. A decision was made for a caesarean section and Kyle was delivered at 15.37pm on May 3, 2009.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to have immediate regard to the CTG trace started on May 3 which it was alleged was pathological from the outset and there was an alleged failure to deliver the baby at the earliest opportunity.

The HSE admitted a breach of duty for failing to deliver Kyle by 14.38 on May 3.2009 but denied all other claims..

Kyle's senior counsel Des O'Neill SC told the court liability was contested fully in the case the settlement had taken place after mediation. Experts on Kyle's side, he said acknowledged it was a very complex case with an uncertain outcome.

He said the settlement was the full and final settlement in the case . Kyle he said is looked after by his parents and attends mainstream school.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good one and he wished Kyle and his family all the best.

Outside the Four Courts, Kyle's solicitor Roger Murray said mediation has to be the way forward in cases such as this.

Kyle's parents Lisa and Michael he said had embarked on the legal process to get justice for their son and they had got the same outcome through mediation and avoided a long drawn out court battle.

"This has to be a signal of how things should be especially in cases involving emotional situations or complex needs involving children." he said.

He added that the mediation process diminishes the stress for the family involved .

"Some 26 expert witnesses were lined up to give evidence before the court for either side, with the case set to run for several weeks from the beginning of May. Through mediation, however, the action was settled.

"This is exactly the type of case that the mediation process was designed for. In achieving this outcome, the family were spared the ordeal and stress of a protracted court battle, and there was substantial cost savings for the State”.

In January 2008, the Mediation Act came into force and Mr Murray said we will see more and more cases going to mediation.

"It has to be a template for moving things forward he said.

Kyle's parents he said added their voice to those who have asked the State to settle cases such as these early and said mediation is the way forward and is a "win win".

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