Family reaches €788k settlement on behalf of boy, 6, with cerebral palsy

Family reaches €788k settlement on behalf of boy, 6, with cerebral palsy
Sarah Gibson, mother of Martin Gibson leaving the Four Courts today. Pic: Collins.

A six-year-old boy whose condition was described as one of the most severe cases of cerebral palsy to come before the courts has settled his High Court action against the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, over the circumstances of his birth.

The €778,606 settlement figure covers the care needs of Martin Gibson for the next year as well as past care provided by the boy's parents.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross praised Martin Gibson's family saying they deserved the praise of society for the care they have given their son.

Martin Gibson, Castle Manor, Newcastle, Co Wicklow had through his mother Sarah Gibson sued the National Maternity Hosptial, Holles St , Dublin over the circumstances of his birth on July 3, 2010.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to properly manage and monitor the labour, delivery and birth of the baby and an alleged failure at a review of the labour to recognise or respond to abnormalities present on the CTG, inlcuding persistent late decelerations and an alleged failure to recognise a pathological first stage CTG necessitating the taking of urgent action.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure at the review of the labour to proceed to an emergency caesarean section and there was an alleged inappropriate delay in the decision to deliver the baby by caesarean section in circumstances where it was claimed the abnormalities evident on the CTG trace demanded earlier urgent intervention.

Martin was flat on delivery and was later transferred to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children.

The hospital denied the claims and the High Court recently found that the defendant was 70% liable in the case.

Martin's senior counsel Denis McCullough SC told the court Martin is unable to communicate, uses a wheelchair and needs 24-hour care. Counsel said the settlement in relation to past care and care needs for the next year amounted to a total of €1.1m but taking into account the liability finding the final figure was €788,606.

He said the boy's future care needs and loss of earnings will be decided when the case comes back before the court next year.

Counsel said Martin's parents were concerned that there was going to be a shortfall.

Mr Justice Cross told Mrs Gibson they will be able to see in a year's time what the situation is and this was not the final settlement in the case.

He said the liability finding was made on the basis that there was a significant possibility, if the case went ahead, it may not succeed.


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