The HSE has apologised in the High Court to the family of an 8-year-old boy who was brain-damaged at birth at Kerry General Hospital and who yesterday settled his legal action with a €2.8m interim payout.
Tadhg Costello, of Gurrane East, Sunhill, Killorglin, Co Kerry, has cerebral palsy, needs 24-hour care, cannot speak, and is confined to a wheelchair.
His mother Mary Costello told the High Court the family had been treated very badly for the last nine years and liability had not been admitted in the case until last month. She said a consultant involved in the case had, after the birth, cried in a private meeting with herself and her husband Gerard, but the HSE then fought the case for the next nine years.
“It was very hurtful that the HSE defended the case against us. We were trying to deal with the grief of what had happened and for them not to admit liability added insult to injury. We were trying to fight it emotionally and financially” she told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.
Tadhg, through his mother, had sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Kerry General Hospital on May 25, 2006. It was claimed there was a failure to deliver the baby on a timely basis and a failure to treat it as an emergency case.
It was claimed Mrs Costello had to travel an unacceptable distance to the operating theatre; that there was a failure to ensure the consultant obstetrician was aware of the worrisome heart rate pattern documented by the midwife; and a failure to regard the CTG recording as pathological and to consider the possibility that foetal hypoxia could occur.
Tadhg was delivered by caesarean section and was later diagnosed with mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy.
Senior counsel Liam Reidy told the High Court there was a two-hour delay in delivering the baby and, as a result, he suffered brain damage.
At the outset, an apology on behalf of the HSE to the Costellos was read to the court. In it, the manager of Kerry General Hospital, TJ O’Connor said: “We would like to apologise unreservedly to both of you and to your son Tadhg for the injuries he sustained at his birth in 2006. Sadly, we are unable to change what happened to Tadhg, but we would like to inform you that we have since introduced specific guidelines and protocols to assist us in preventing adverse outcomes in the future.
“We understand how life-changing and difficult this has been for you. We recognise that the past eight years have been extremely difficult for you and your family. We are glad that the settlement today enables your family to meet Tadhg’s needs. On behalf of HSE, we are sincerely sorry for what occurred.”
Approving an interim payment of €2.8m for Tadhg’s care needs over the next two years, the judge said this was a case of love and courage, adding that and these cases, where the love and courage of parents shine out, are an inspiration.
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