A 5-year old boy who has been left brain-damaged and permanently disabled has sued Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin, over a failure to diagnose an infection when he was 11 months old.

Benjamin Gillick has cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic, and cannot speak, his counsel, Dermot Gleeson, told the High Court.

He said Benjamin, who is now nearly six, suffered a brain stem injury when he was 11 months old, which should not have happened.

The boy, who now lives in London with his family, underwent a procedure as a baby to drain fluid on the brain at Temple Street Children’s Hospital. A shunt was inserted but he later returned to hospital, vomiting and unwell.

Counsel told the court a shunt infection is a known complication of the procedure and the cause of the negligence was that, for up to three days, this possibility was not investigated. Benjamin got progressively worse, said counsel.

Benjamin, of Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod, Dublin, but now living in Putney, London, sued The Children’s University Hospital, Temple St, over his care in April 2011.

It is claimed the hospital was negligent about investigation, diagnosis, management treatment, and care of the shunt infection he presented with on April 9, 2011.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told liability has been admitted and the case is before the court for assessment of damages only.

Among the matters being sought in the case is the provision of a home for Benjamin.

Miriam Gillick told the court she, husband Andrew, and their three children live in a three-bedroom apartment on the first floor. Mrs Gillick had given up her job in investment banking to look after her son. The court heard that a house in the Putney region near Benjamin’s special school could cost in the region of €6.5m.

Counsel said Benjamin has to use a wheelchair and will need constant care for the rest of his life.

At the outset of the hearing yesterday, Mr Justice Cross dismissed an application by the hospital to have the case assessed on the basis of interim payments rather than a once-off lump sum.

The case continues.


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