A failure to diagnose a child’s hearing impairment at age four resulted in her being awarded €340,000 compensation yesterday — 10 years later — at the High Court in Cork.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the settlement offer from the HSE seemed to represent the full value of the case.
Clodagh Enright brought the case through her mother Eileen Enright of Laccanoneen, Knocknagoshel, Co Tipperary, against the HSE.
Dr John O’Mahony senior counsel for the plaintiff, said the HSE had made an offer of €340,000 in settlement of the case. Dr O’Mahony said the teenager’s father is a farmer and her mother works at Kerry General Hospital.
When Clodagh was four, her parents noticed some speech difficulties. They got in touch with the local health nurse dealing with speech and language and she was referred to audiology to have her hearing checked.
“Unfortunately, she had a hearing test in 2006 and she got the all-clear on that. Her parents and the speech and language people remained concerned about the plaintiff and her hearing. 13 months later in 2007, having been cleared in April 2006, a further hearing test was done in May 2007,” said Dr O’Mahony.
A significant hearing impairment was detected in this second test and she went on to have hearing aids and a cochlear implant.
Dr O’Mahony said that as a consequence of the delayed diagnosis, there was the obvious delay in managing the problem and a consequential loss of ground in education at that time. He said every step had been taken by her parents, in terms of grinds and so on, to make up for the lost time.
Mr Justice Cross said he considered it a very good settlement from the plaintiff’s point of view and he lodged the settlement for the benefit of the plaintiff until she reaches the age of 18 in four years time.
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