Boy, 7, settles case for interim €2.1m

A 7-year-old boy who was catastrophically injured during his birth at Cavan General Hospital has settled his High Court action with an interim payout of €2.1m.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told yesterday that Cavan General Hospital had admitted liability at an early stage in the case and apologised to Patrick Brannigan and his parents.

Counsel Denis McCullough told the court that Patrick, from Annyalla, Castleblayeny, Co Monaghan, has dyskinetic cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, and has no means of communicating.

Patrick, through his mother Niamh Brannigan, had sued the HSE as a result of the circumstances of his birth at Cavan General Hospital on July 20, 2007.

Counsel said there was a “catalogue of errors” and the baby, when he was delivered by an emergency caesarean section, was in very poor condition.

Mr McCullough said Patrick is a cheerful and good-humoured boy who is cared for full-time by this parents.

The case will come back before the court in three years when Patrick’s future care needs will be assessed.

The court heard that Mrs Brannigan had been admitted to Cavan General Hospital, and from 5.55pm on July 20, 2007, the CTG trace showed signs of foetal distress. At about 6.30pm, Mr McCullough said the CTG trace was showing signs of being pathological but it was decided to commence syntocinon, a drug used to speed up labour. Counsel said syntocinaon should never have been used when a CTG trace is pathological and there are signs of foetal distress.

It was claimed there was a failure to manage adequately or at all the labour and delivery, and a failure to monitor the baby adequately or at all while labour progressed.

It was also claimed there was a failure to deliver the baby as quickly as possible once there were clear signs of foetal distress.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross wished Patrick and his family well.

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