€100k for girl burned by skin cleanser

A child alleged to have permanent scarring on her back resulting from a chemical burn suffered after birth when she reacted adversely to a skin cleansing solution administered during a clinical trial has settled her High Court action for €100,000.

Sophia Ryan, now aged 3 and suing through her father Paul, of Ballygannon, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, sued the National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin, over the incident on October 19, 2012.

When the case came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys yesterday, he agreed to approve a settlement of €100,000, plus costs.

Before her birth, it was claimed Sophia’s mother agreed to take part in the “SKA trial”, a randomised trial to compare two types of cleansing solutions to be used for skin cleansing prior to insertion of central lines.

It was claimed her mother was assured there was no risk involved .

It was claimed the child was born at some 24 weeks on October 19 in good condition, intubated, a dose of surfactant was administered and she was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit due to her prematurity.

It was claimed, before various catheters were sited on the child, her skin, pursuant to the SKA trial, was cleansed with chlorohexidine and she also underwent a lumbar puncture sometime on October 19 or 20, 2012.

On October 20, it was claimed she was noted by staff to have a big area of redness and a small area of ulceration on her back, immediately noted to be the probable result of burns from antisepsis. It was claimed the baby remained uncomfortable and at 7.30am on October 21 was noted to be suffering continued skin excoriations with redness but no new skin breaks of oozing.

On review in May 2014, a dermatologist noted a square scarred area on the child’s back was consistent with a chemical burn, most probably secondary to the alcohol component of the wipes.

As a result of the alleged negligence, the child has been caused to suffer permanent scarring to her back, the affected skin will be permanently discoloured, and she may need a skin graft in the future, it was claimed.


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