€2.7m settlement for leukaemia sufferer

The High Court has approved a €2.7m settlement in an action brought on behalf of 14 year-old boy who it was claimed suffered permanent brain damage as a result of an experimental treatment he received for leukaemia at a Dublin Children's hospital eight years ago.

Following the settlement the parents of William Malone, Catherine and Liam called for an inquiry into all aspects of how Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin provided treatment for children suffering from leukaemia.

William from Millview Lawns, Malahide, Co Dublin, who sued through his mother, brought an action against Our Lady’s Hospital, and consultant oncologists Dr Anne O’Meara and Dr Finn Breathnach arising out of their treatment of the boy for leukaemia between January 1998 and 2002.

It was claimed the defendants were negligent by wrongly administering intravenous high dose Methotrexate, a toxic drug used in the treatment of cancer, and 14 injections of the same substance into William's spine over a nine week period which resulted in causing neurological injuries.

It was further claimed that the defendants had failed to properly diagnose a relapse of William's leukaemia.

Counsel for William Mr Denis McCullough SC told Mr Justice Eamonn De Valera that the matter had been settled for €2.7m plus costs.

The court was told that the case, which was due to commence on Wednesday was expected to last for six weeks, was settled after "protracted negotiations."

There was no admission of liability by the defendants, who had fully denied all the claims against them.

Speaking outside the four courts yesterday William's parents Catherine and Liam Malone said that were delighted to secure "a just settlement"

for their only child.

"No money would ever compensate William for what happened to him, but the award will mean that he should have sufficient money to provide all the help and care he needs for the rest of his life," said an emotional Catherine.

In calling for an inquiry the Malone's said that they had concerns about other children with leukaemia who had been given the same treatment.

His parents went on to thank other family members and their legal team for their help and support, and those medical professionals who had supported William's case.


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