€6m settlement means ‘Nadine will receive everything that she needs’

A 20-year-old Donegal woman who has cerebral palsy has settled for €6m her High Court action against the HSE over her care at the time of her birth.

Solicitor Joice Carthy, left, speaking to the media after the High Court approved an award for Nadine Wilkin from Letterkenny. Pic: Courts Collins

The settlement approved by Mr Justice Kevin Cross is without an admission of liability.

Afterwards, Nadine Wilkin’s parents, through their solicitor, said the settlement will give them comfort to know Nadine will receive everything she needs to make her life more comfortable and she will be looked after even beyond their lifetime.

Nadine Wilkin, of Abbey Park, Manorcunningham, Letterkenny, Co Donegal had through her mother, Judith Wilkin, sued the HSE over her care at the time of her birth at Letterkenny General Hospital on June 11, 1996.

It was claimed there was an alleged delay in the delivery of Nadine by caesarean section and an alleged failure to treat her case an an emergency case.

At 9.40am, it was claimed it was decided to carry out a caesarean section and Nadine’s mother, it was claimed, was sent to theatre at 10.40am. Nadine was delivered at 11.28am.

The claims were denied and the settlement was made without an admission of liability.

Nadine’s counsel, Denis McCullough, said it was their case that if Nadine was born before 10.15am brain damage would not have occurred.

The HSE disputed this. He said Nadine is a bright young woman who has dyskinetic cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. Counsel said she has high care needs and has to be fed through a peg tube.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said Nadine looked a very happy young lady and he had no hesitation in approving the settlement which he said at the minimum represented about 75% of the full value of the claim.

He wished Nadine every success for the future and praised her parents and carers for the great work they had put into her care in the past.

Outside court Nadine along with her parents, Judith Wilkin and Trevor Kincaid, stood while their solicitor Joice Carthy read out their statement. The family only commenced legal proceedings when Nadine was in her mid teens and a family friend advised them to look into the matter.

“Whilst we have put everything we have into her care, we have not been able financially to provide the level of care and therapy that experts say she needed,” the statement read.

It added: “If Nadine had been receiving this care over the last 20 years, we believe it would have improved her abilities and her quality of life and it would also have made things easier on her two younger brothers.”

They described their daughter as someone who knows her own mind and enjoys both music and cinema.

“It breaks our hearts when we think about what her life could have been like, had things been different.

“This settlement won’t change that but it will, at least, give us the comfort to know that Nadine will receive everything that she needs to make her life more comfortable and she will be looked after even beyond our lifetime,” the statement concluded.


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