The family of a five-year-old girl, who has been left with a permanent scar on her forehead after an elasticated type bandage was left on her head for 30 hours after her birth at Cork University Maternity Hospital, has settled her case for €240,000.

Senior counsel Dr John O’Mahony previously told the High Court little Abigail Byrne from Whitechurch, Co Cork, will have the “cross on her forehead for the rest of her life”.

The scar, 10cm long and 1cm wide, “mutilates Abigail’s striking natural beauty,” senior counsel said.

Abigail Byrne’s mother, the court previously heard, was told the mark on her forehead would fade within a week but a public health nurse on a visit after the mother’s discharge from hospital said it looked permanent and told her to seek advice.

Dr O’Mahony yesterday told Mr Justice Kevin Cross the scar will never go away and options such as plastic surgery will not be available to Abigail until she is in her late teens.

Abigail Byrne, Tobartae House, Ryefield West, Whitechurch, Co Cork, had through her mother, Jennifer Byrne, sued the HSE as a result of the treatment after the birth in 2011 at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

Little Abigail had been delivered by forceps delivery on the morning of January 14, 2011, after a difficult birth. It was advised a stocking bandage be applied to her head and it remained around her head until the evening of January 15, 2011, which, the court heard, was about 30 hours.

It was claimed there was a failure to ensure the positioning of the stocking bandage so that it would not give rise to tissue dislocation or damage and when it was removed there was a red mark visible of on the child’s head.

It was further claimed the stocking bandage was applied too tightly and excessive pressure from a crease in the bandage cut off blood supply to the skin and tissue.

Had the bandage been applied correctly it was claimed Abigail would not have been left with a facial deformity.

Liability was admitted in the case which was before the court for assessment of damages only.

In evidence, Abigail’s mother, Jennifer, said when Abigail was born, she thought her daughter’s head was misshapen. She had a tiny mark from the forceps but Ms Byrne said she was reassured the damage was all on the outside of the head. She said a stocking bandage which was an elasticated piece of fabric was recommended for Abigail’s head.

“I can only imagine it was too tight. It was either unwarranted or on for too long. I was reassured it would fade. I was told it would be gone by the end of the week,”she said.

She said they had delayed Abigail’s christening by a month so the mark would not be so obvious.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said it was a reasonable one and he wished the little girl well for the future.


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