Three-year-old awarded €20,000 after fingertip severed in push-chair accident

A three-year-old girl whose left ring fingertip was sliced off in a fold-up pushchair accident a year ago, has been awarded €20,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Quick-thinking assistants at a Dublin crèche searched for and found little Roisin Longo’s fingertip and packed it in ice for her mum who was rushed by ambulance with her daughter and the amputated fingertip to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

Barrister Angus Buttanshaw told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery yesterday that although surgeons had sewn the fingertip back on, the tissue later died and had fallen off.

Mr Buttanshaw said Ferrys Solicitors had initiated an investigation on behalf of Roisin’s mother, Ms Elaine Deans, of Rathvilly Park, South Finglas, Dublin.

As a result of their inquiries a €38,000 damages claim had been taken by Ms Deans (aged 41) on behalf of Roisin against MacLaren Europe Limited, of Long Buckby, Northampton, England, who had manufactured the pushchair.

Mr Buttanshaw said liability had not been formally conceded by MacLaren Europe Ltd but the company had made a settlement offer of €20,000 and he was asking the court to approve it.

The court heard that Roisin’s finger had caught in an unguarded hinge mechanism of the MacLaren folding pushchair and that inquiries by civil engineer Desmond Kirwan Browne revealed the model had been recalled in the United States and hinge repair kits issued to customers.

Kirwan Browne had found that the MacLaren Umbrella Stroller had been manufactured in England and that the product complied with EU and British safety standards.

The Techno XT model involved, and up to a million variations of the product, had been recalled in the US but Kirwan Browne was not aware of any product recall in Ireland.

Mr Buttanshaw told the court that on April 15 last year, Ms Deans was collecting her daughter from the crèche at Mellow Spring Childcare Development Centre in Finglas West, Dublin.

As she was opening the MacLaren folding pushchair Roisin had run towards her and reached out her hands to get into it. As she did so her finger became caught in the hinge mechanism and the tip of it had been sliced off.

Roisin had been in a lot of pain and distress and she herself was in shock at what had happened.

Judge Deery, approving the €20,000 settlement, said that although the repaired fingertip had fallen off following surgery, Roisin had not suffered any physical dysfunction and her finger had healed really well with minimal cosmetic scarring.

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