Man settles for €4.1m over circumstances of birth

A 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy who had sued over the circumstances of his birth has settled his High Court action, with an interim payout of €4.1m.

Andrew Whelan cannot speak and will require full-time care and special accommodation for the rest of his life, the High Court heard.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr yesterday approved the €4.1m interim payment and adjourned the case for 10 years.

Through his mother, Angela Whelan, Church View, Nurney, Co Kildare, Mr Whelan sued the HSE and Dr John Patrick Corristine, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, then practising at Portlaoise General Hospital, over alleged negligence in the circumstances of his birth on August 5, 1993.

Among various claims, it was alleged the defendants negligently delayed in delivering the baby.

Denis McCullough, for Mr Whelan, said the settlement was against both defendants.

He said their case was that Andrew’s injuries could have been avoided “with proper care and management”. Andrew is a wheelchair user with severe physical and mental disabilities, he said.

Andrew cannot speak but can communicate by making sounds, is able to interact with others, and is close to his mother, the court heard. He attended school until aged 18 and now spends several days a week at daycare, which he enjoys.

Due to his injuries, Andrew has, and always will require full-time care, counsel said. His family believed the settlement was “fair and reasonable in the circumstances”.

The case was before the High Court for assessment of damages only but, following talks, the parties reached a settlement which included an interim payment of €4.1m for Andrew, plus legal costs.

The settlement is intended to cover the costs, including for care, aids, and appliances for Mr Whelan, over the next ten years.

Paul McGinn, for the defendants, said his side was consenting to the settlement.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement, agreeing to adjourn the case to February 2026 when further care needs will be assessed.

Afterwards, Mrs Whelan said in a statement that money “cannot repair Andrew’s brain or enable him to walk”, but the settlement will “at least improve his quality of life and remove some of the family’s worries for his future care”.


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