An 18-year-old youth with cerebral palsy who had sued for alleged negligence in relation to the circumstances of his birth in a Cork hospital was yesterday granted a further €475,000 towards his care.
Three years ago Connor Corroon’s case was the first to be adjourned in the High Court as it was hoped new legislation would be put in place to allow for periodic payments. At that time, an interim payment of €1.6m was approved as part settlement of his medical negligence action against the hospital and a consultant obstetrician.
Connor of Copstown, Mallow, Co Cork, the High Court previously heard, suffered catastrophic injuries when he was born at City General Hospital, Cork, in 1995 and is permanently disabled, cannot speak and will require care for the rest of his life.
Connor, through his mother Judith Mary Corroon, Copstown, Mallow, Co Cork, had sued City General Hospital, Cork, and Dr Pallany Pillay, both of Infirmary Road, Cork, over the circumstances of Connor’s birth on Feb 6, 1995. Liability was conceded and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.
Yesterday, counsel for the Corroons, Denis McCullough SC, told the court the €475,000 relates to care one year in arrears and for the next year. He said Connor attends a secondary school in Mallow and uses an electric wheelchair. Counsel said written in to the latest settlement agreement is that when the case comes before the court again next year, the Corroons can opt to continue interim payments if the legislation is in place or go for the one off lump sum payment to finally settle the case. He said the family found the process of interim payments very difficult.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he had sympathy with the Corroons point of view and said it would place an “intolerable burden” on families if they had to come back to court every two years.
The judge said he thought there was absolutely no reason to be confident a change in the law will take place soon. The judge made his remarks after he had been earlier told that Ms Justice Mary Irvine who handles the personal injuries courts list had received a communication from the Attorney General indicating the legislation was not ready and several parties needed to be consulted.
At a previous hearing, Connor’s mother Judith Mary Corroon told the court the family wanted to go ahead with the assessment of damages as a lump sum payment rather than wait for the legislation promised by Justice Minister Alan Shatter last January.
“Our main concern is will this ever finish. Connor wants it closed. He sees the intrusion it has been in our lives. When is the legislation going to be introduced?” Mrs Corroon asked the High Court.
The case is regarded as a test case for several others waiting in line.
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