€690,000 for girl who sued HSE for alleged negligence

The High Court has approved a settlement of €690,000 to a young girl who had sued the HSE and a Dublin hospital for alleged medical negligence arising out of the care she received prior to and during the months following her birth.

The award which, was made without admission of liability, was made in favour of Aisling Lenehan (aged seven) who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and heart problems following her birth in Sligo General Hospital in December 2004.

Through her mother Patricia Lynch Aisling sued the HSE and Our Ladies Children's Hospital Crumlin seeking damages for alleged medical negligence for failing to diagnose and treat Aisling in a timely fashion.

It was claimed there was a five-month delay before Aisling, who attended at both Sligo General Hospital and Our Ladies hospital in Crumlin, received a cardiology review. There was a delay in commencing Aisling on the appropriate medication, it was submitted.

This it was claimed caused her to develop severe pulmonary hypertension, a severe condition which effects the heart and is irreversible.

In her statement of claim, it was alleged the defendants failed to treat or care for Aisling properly.

Aisling will require medication and care for the rest of her life.

The defendants had denied the claims and the action was settled without admission of liability.

The settlement was approved yesterday by the President of High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who praised the family for their dedication and the level of care they have provided to date for Aisling.

The Judge added that in the circumstances Aisling had received a good settlement. Had they lost they case they would have come away with nothing.

The court heard that the family, who currently reside in Austrian capital Vienna, hope to return to Ireland.

In a statement following today's ruling Ms Lynch said she was delighted and relieved that "the ordeal was over".

The case, which started four weeks ago, she said was "a game of high stakes poker."

She said that had the family lost the action they "could have lost everything", including their home.

However as a result of the settlement they could now achieve things that would hugely improve the quality of Aisling's life.

She expressed her gratitude to her lawyers and those within the legal system who had come to the family's aid when "Aisling and I most needed it." The system worked for us although I do have grave reservations about the manner in which the HSE engaged with the system, she added.

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