A boy who sued over severe brain injuries suffered during his birth at Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital has secured an interim payment of €3m under a settlement of his High Court action.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement made in favour of Mohammad Daud Assad, now aged 11, who has cerebral palsy and will require full-time care for the rest of his life.
In proceedings brought on the boy’s behalf, it was claimed that a delay by the hospital in delivering the infant by caesarean section caused his injuries. Had he been delivered several hours earlier, he would not have sustained such catastrophic injuries, it was alleged.
Through his mother, Alia Muryem Assad, of Lough Conn Terrace, Ballyfermot, Dublin, the boy sued the hospital for damages over alleged negligence in the circumstances of his birth at the hospital on February 20, 2004.
Denis McCullough, counsel for the child, told the judge yesterday that liability had been admitted in the case within the last two weeks. A hearing to assess damages was not proceeding as the parties had reached a settlement which included an interim payment of €3m, the court heard.
After approving the settlement, the judge agreed to adjourn the matter for six years, after which the child’s future care needs will be assessed.
As well as reflecting damages for the injuries sustained by the boy, the interim award is intended to cover costs including of his past and continuing care needs, housing, specialised equipment, and music therapy.
Declan Buckley, for the defendant, said his client was consenting to the settlement.
In the action, it was claimed the defendant was negligent and breached its duty of care toward the boy by failing to prevent him from suffering the injuries he did by carrying out a timely caesarean section.
His mother arrived at the hospital at 9am on the date in question, having been 10 days overdue. Mohammad was delivered at 10.30pm by emergency caesarean section, when it was too late.
The hospital had excessively delayed in carrying out the procedure, it was claimed.
There was also an alleged failure to properly assess his mother and give consideration to the risk of failing placental function when it was noted hours before the delivery took place that the variability of the foetal heart rate was reduced.
The hospital, it was further claimed, failed to summon either the obstetrician or senior member of the obstetrics team much earlier than it did despite clear signs of foetal distress and potential serious complications in the course of labour.
Following his birth, the boy required resuscitation. Counsel said the boy suffered severe brain injuries, and has both mental and physical disabilities. He attends school but is unable to speak, though he is responsive and likes music.
Counsel said that the child lives with his family in Ballyfermot, but that the house is unsuitable for his needs.
The boys’ parents, represented by David Synnott, told the court they were content with the settlement.
Approving the award, Mr Justice Cross praised the Assad family for the level of care and support they provide for Mohammad.
The way the entire family had “rallied round”, the judge added, “restored one’s faith in humanity”.
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