Brain injured girl awarded €4.75m

THE High Court has approved a €4.75 million award to young girl who suffered “devastating and permanent injuries” due to an alleged failure to treat her hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, in the weeks and months after she was born.

The award was made to Jade Keane, who was born at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, on March 2, 2001.

Jade suffered brain damage which has left her blind, wheelchair-bound, and requiring care for the rest of her life. It is claimed the cause of the injuries was hydrocephalus, also known as “water on the brain”.

Through her mother Gillian Keane, Wyatville Park, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, Jade sued the HSE, Dr Dermot Stones, Albany Court, Shanganagh Road, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, and the NMH, over alleged negligence and breach of duty of care in relation to her treatment.

Yesterday Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved the award of €4.75m, plus costs, to Jade. Speaking afterwards Jade’s family welcomed the settlement.

The settlement was made against the HSE and the hospital only. However, the HSE and the hospital are to continue an action seeking a contribution and or an indemnity against Dr Stones next week.

In their defence, the defendants argued that Jade had hydrocephalus both at and prior to her birth and her injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition.

However, it was claimed on Jade’s behalf that she had suffered from the condition in the weeks after she was born. It was also alleged both the HSE and Dr Stones failed to act when Jade’s head began to enlarge to an abnormal size and also failed to act on her family’s concerns about the degree of the head enlargement.

It was also alleged the NMH failed to observe the child’s head size was abnormal, failed to act in accordance with good standards appropriate to a maternity hospital and failed to intervene surgically.

Denis McCullough, counsel for Jade, said it was their claim that Jade’s head circumference was measured at 35cm when she was discharged from Holles Street. Counsel said it was difficult to accept the child would have been discharged if her head circumference was 39cm, as the hospital subsequently claimed.

Jade attended a public health nurse at Loughlinstown Clinic on seven occasions between April 9 and June 5 2001, he said.

She also attended her GP, Dr Stones, on April 30, May 15 and 28, 2001. Her head circumference increased from 35cm to 47cm and that should have indicated to the defendants that something was wrong, he said.

Jade had emergency surgery performed on June 11, 2001, at Crumlin Children’s Hospital. However, she was left with permanent brain injuries, he said.

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