Cork boy wins €2m interim settlement with HSE in brain damage case

Cork boy wins €2m interim settlement with HSE in brain damage case
Lee Gibson (centre) with his mother Aileen (right) and his grandmother Stephanie (left). Pic: Collins

A 10-year old boy who it is claimed suffered brain damage at birth in a Cork hospital has settled his action against the HSE with an interim payout of €2m.

Lee Gibson has cerebral palsy, cannot talk and is confined to a wheelchair. His case will come back before the High Court again in two years time for assessment of general damages in the case.

Senior Counsel Liam Reidy told the High Court it was one of the most complex cases to come before the courts.

Lee Gibson had through his mother Aileen Gibson, Carthage Place, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork on July 5, 2005.

It was claimed Lee suffered a number of injuries to his brain due to a lack of oxygen and the effect of an untreated infection suffered by his mother.

It was also claimed there was an alleged delay of between 91 to 106 minutes before delivery by emergency caesarean section once the decision for an emergency caesarean had been made.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to treat the case as an emergency case and an alleged failure to give a candid explanation for what happened and why.

The claims were denied and the settlement was without admission of liability.

In court Lee signed "thank you" to the judge after the settlement was approved by the court.

Lee's mother Aileen said she first went to a solicitor in 2009 but was put off by the potential costs of expert reports. She said it was only in 2011 when solicitor Susie Elliott of Ernest J Cantillon took on the case that " all the stops were pulled out."

"I had a sixth sense about an early delivery that maybe he would not nave been as sick as he was if he had been delivered earlier," Aileen Gibson said.

She said Lee attended a special school and had made great progress and he was learning to communicate, but he will need touch-screen technology.

She told the court that Lee was a big fan of television and his favourite programme was Mrs Brown's Boys and Winning Streak.

The money from the interim award will go towards the cost of his past and future care and will be used to purchase a site so the family can build a specially adapted house.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who came off the bench to chat to Lee, congratulated the boy's mother and family for the progress Lee had made and said he had no doubt he would become a "stunning member of the community in Ringaskiddy".

He also commended the family solicitor Susie Elliott and said: "sometimes people criticise litigation as a means of achieving justice but he said sometimes it is the only way to achieve it."

Lawyers for the boy told the High Court it was one of the most complex cases to come through the courts and it was only with the "dogged approach taken by his solicitors that the case came to fruition".

The case will come back to court again on November 2017.

Lee Gibson is a bright happy boy who cannot speak, but he was in the High Court today to use his hands to sign "thank you" to the judge who approved a €2m interim payment for his care.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross came off the bench to chat with the 10-year-old from Ringaskiddy, Cork who was in the Four Courts to settle his case against the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr's Hosptial, Cork.

Outside the Four Courts, Lee's mother Aileen said her son is an amazing young man.

"We are so proud of him. He is so brave and cheerful, in spite of all he goes through every day of his life," she added.


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