Father slams 'legislative failure' which forces children with cerebral palsy to come before courts

Father slams 'legislative failure' which forces children with cerebral palsy to come before courts
Nanci and Ruary Martin, parents of Milagros Martin, leaving the Four Courts. Picture: Collins Courts

By Ann O'Loughlin

The president of the High Court has approved a further payment for a young girl with cerebral palsy, bringing to €3m total payments agreed to date under a settlement of her case over the circumstances of her birth at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

Ruary Martin, father of six year old Milagros Martin, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly it is "wrong" and a "legislative failure" that cases of catastrophically injured children like his daughter stil have to come before the courts.

His daughter suffers from seizures and the latest bout of tests carried out on her for the purpose of assessments of her needs for this court hearing triggered a seizure, he said.

He had no issue with counsel or the courts but he considered it was not appropriate and it was wrong that, due to "ongoing legislative failure", families have to keep returning to court for such stressful applications.

Mr Martin had in 2015 called for the establishment of a duty of candour in such cases and for the then Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to set "a real date" for such legislation.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed it is a "horrible" situation and noted such assessments require a child to undergo a "battery" of tests by various medical specialists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists among others.

The "only good news" is the necessary legislation providing for payments to meet the life long care needs of catastrophically injured persons has been passed although not yet commenced, he said.

Noting the legislation was introduced some seven years after it was recommended by a courts working group, the judge said he hoped it will be commenced before the case returns to court in five years time.

He wished the family the best in the meantime, he added.

The judge made the comments today when approving an application by Des O'Neill SC for a further interim payment of some €1.1m to meet the child's care needs until 2023.

The settlement was reached followed a day long mediation between the sides.

The €1.1m payment follows an earlier payment of €1.9m agreed under a 2015 settlement of the child's case against the HSE over the circumstances of her birth at the Drogheda hospital.

As part of the settlement, the hospital apologised before the court in 2015 "sincerely and unambiguously" to the Martin family for the "deficits in care", saying "all staff regret the outcome of this tragic case".

Through her father, of Clonard Court, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, the child sued the HSE alleging negligence in the circumstances of her birth at the hospital on December 11th 2011.

It was claimed there was a failure to carry out a caesarean section within an appropriate period. It was further claimed, because the child's mother had a history of a prior caesarean section with her first child, there was a particular duty on medical staff in relation to future pregnancies and the mode of delivery.

Liability was admitted in the case in 2014.

More on this topic

Personal damages cap could be subject to disputePersonal damages cap could be subject to dispute

Wife of man on trial for murdering infant son tells court way her husband was treated is 'beyond cruel'Wife of man on trial for murdering infant son tells court way her husband was treated is 'beyond cruel'

'This is no place for holy statues': Carmelite nun at centre of planning row at Skibbereen court "This is no place for holy statues": Carmelite nun at centre of planning row at Skibbereen court

RTÉ reporter tells garda assault trial officer 'came forward to strike' cameraman at protestRTÉ reporter tells garda assault trial officer 'came forward to strike' cameraman at protest


More in this Section

Gardaí investigating passport fraud make an arrest in DublinGardaí investigating passport fraud make an arrest in Dublin

Report calls for the abolition of direct provisionReport calls for the abolition of direct provision

Finance Minister 'trying to hide' €24m payment to Aer Lingus and RyanairFinance Minister 'trying to hide' €24m payment to Aer Lingus and Ryanair

NI parties clash over Brexit and Westminster representation during TV debateNI parties clash over Brexit and Westminster representation during TV debate


Lifestyle

Ray Liotta never planned to be an actor. He only signed up for drama classes in college in a bid to dodge the more academic subjects, and didn’t make his first film until he was 30.Both sides now: Ray Liotta on his 40 year career

I am Jesus Christ! No, don’t worry, this writer’s ego isn’t quite that big. We won’t be turning water into wine. Rather, ‘I Am Jesus Christ’ is the name of a new game just announced on Steam.GameTech: The new video game 'I am Jesus Christ'

Johnny ‘Fang’ Murphy, frontman with Cork group The Stargazers, tells Ellie O’Byrne about the cultural milestones on his musical journey.Getting into the swing of things: Johnny 'Fang' Murphy on his musical journey

Clean skincare is cleaning up, but does it even mean anything in particular?The Skin Nerd: When clean does not always mean better

More From The Irish Examiner