Brain-damaged boy settles for €5.5m

A 6-year-old boy who is severely brain damaged has settled for €5.5m his action against the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, over his care when he was brought to the hospital at eight days old and later diagnosed with meningitis.

Denise and Robert Montgomery, who sued the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, over his care when he was admitted in November 2010.

Robert Montgomery has cerebral palsy, is visually impaired, cannot talk, and is a very unwell boy, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told yesterday. He had sued the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, over his care when he was admitted to the hospital on November 5, 2010, and later diagnosed as suffering from septicaemia and later neo natal meningitis.

Denis McCullough, counsel for Robert, said his side would say the appropriate antibiotics were not given in time to Robert and the possibility of the meningitis being dealt with was missed.

Mr McCullough said if the appropriate antibiotics had been given in time Robert’s condition “would be much less severe”.

Counsel told the court “an expression of regret” was being prepared by the hospital for Robert and his family, which was part of the settlement agreed after mediation talks.

Robert Montgomery, of Upper Kilmacud Rd, Stillorgan, Dublin had through his mother Denise Montgomery sued the National Maternity Hosptial, Holles Street, over the circumstances of his care in 2010. The claims were denied.

It was claimed the baby, who had woken up with a piercing cry, was very listless and not feeding was referred by a GP to the hospital.

The baby attended the hospital at 12pm on November 5, 2010, with his parents and it is claimed there were told in the absence of an appointment they would have to wait in turn. Robert was admitted to the hospital two hours later and then admitted to the intensive care unit and diagnosed as suffering from septicaemia and later Group B Streptococcus neo natal meningitis.

The medical records indicate intravenous antibiotics were commenced between 6pm and 6.30pm and the baby remained in hospital until mid-December, when he was admitted to another hospital with increasing head circumference secondary to hydrocephalus.

Robert’s mother, Denise Montgomery, told the court it was very hard to accept the €5.5m because of what her son suffered that day and continues to suffer and because it was not the full value of the case. She said while they accepted the offer, there was a worry whether it would last.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said the Montgomery family are to be congratulated by the court and society for the care they have given to their son and he hoped their burden would now be eased by the settlement.

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