Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, yesterday unreservedly apologised in the High Court to a four-year-old boy left profoundly brain-damaged after an operation when he was a baby.
The apology was read as part of settlement of Jude Miley’s action with an interim payment of €3.5m over the next two years.
Counsel for the hospital, Emily Egan, turned to face Jude’s parents and read out the statement in which the hospital offered an “unequivocal, unreserved, and heartfelt” apology to Jude and his family for what had happened. It said it “appreciated and greatly regretted the huge trauma” suffered.
Jude was six months old when a suture used in an operation to release his diaphragm and help his breathing remained untrimmed, causing damage to the heart muscle. Two days later, he had a heart attack and had to be rushed to theatre for emergency surgery which saved his life.
Jude, of Holywell, Upper Kilmacud Rd, Dundrum, Dublin, had sued the hospital through his father Greville Miley.
Counsel Liam Reidy said Anne-Louise Miley, who was a public health nurse, had raised concerns about her son after his operation but these were dismissed.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross praised the Mileys for the care they had given their son.
In a statement outside court, the Mileys said their concerns after their son’s operation had been dismissed “as those of fussy parents”, but their son had sustained permanent and catastrophic brain damage.
They criticised “the lack of honesty and frankness” on the part of the hospital and said they had been lead to believe what had happened was “simply an unfortunate complication of the operation”.
“We were told it was just ‘one of those things’. We later learned this was certainly not the case,” they said.
“We are so lucky in this country that we have a court system capable of recalibrating the inequality that exists between the injured patients and the powerful medical profession. We were stone-walled. Only for the legal system, we don’t believe we would have achieved what has been accomplished here.
“A lot of people criticise the legal system but we can’t compliment it enough. It has worked for Jude.
“What didn’t work for Jude, however, was the failure of the hospital to engage with us and the legal system in an honest open and integral fashion. If they had done so, our journey would have been so much easier and Jude rehabilitated far sooner.”
In two year’s time, Jude’s case will come back before the court when his future care needs will be assessed.
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