Young boy's fast head growth not picked up during check ups

An eight-year-old boy whose fast head growth was allegedly not picked up in check ups after his birth has settled his High Court action for €1.9m.

Joe Keegan-Grant cannot speak but goes to mainstream school and is doing well, the High Court heard yesterday. He was delivered by caesarean section on January 17, 2008 after a scan had shown a cyst near the base of the baby’s brain.

Joe Keegan-Grant, of Rushfield, Creggs, Co Roscommon, had through his mother, Patricia Keegan, sued the HSE and a consultant paediatrician at Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin, Dr Vladka Vilimkova.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to exercise any or any proper or adequate care for the safety and well being of the baby.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure on the part of public health nurses to plot the baby’s head circumference on a centile chart on a number of occasions.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure on the part of Dr Vilimkova following the seven-month developmental assessment to take any adequate steps in the management of the baby’s care by referring him to specialist brain scans or for further assessment.

All claims were denied by both defendants.

Counsel Bruce Antoniotti told the court public health nurses saw the baby on January 28, 2008, and on a number of occasions up to August 2008 but his head measurements were not plotted on a chart.

In April 2008, counsel said the public health nurse found his head circumference to be one measurement and three weeks later the consultant found it to be 4.5cm bigger. Counsel said it it appears nobody knew the head of the baby was growing too quickly.

Counsel said the mother brought developmental delays to the attention of the public heatlh nurse in August but the nurse may have taken comfort in the fact that the baby was being seen by Dr Vilimkova 10 days later. At that appointment, the baby was referred for physiotherapy and advised to reattend for a further review at a later date.

In October 2008, the baby had a chest complaint and was brought to a GP who, concerned about the the baby’s head circumference referred the child back to Dr Vilimkova. Counsel said the baby’s parents when referred back to the paediatrician insisted on a scan. Counsel said it was found the baby had hydrocephalus.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross wished Joe and his family well in the future.


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