Couple settles suit over death of ‘beautiful baby boy’ Senan

A private maternity hospital and two consultant obstetricians yesterday apologised in the High Court to the parents of a baby boy who died soon after his birth six years ago.

Couple settles suit over death of ‘beautiful baby boy’ Senan

Mount Carmel Hospital and Valerie Donnelly and Gerry Rafferty also acknowledged fault in the management of Roberta Dodd’s labour leading to her son Senan’s death.

The hospital in Churchtown, Dublin, and the consultants offered sincere apologies to David and Roberta Dodd for the tragic loss of their baby and the hurt and suffering that resulted for them from the care provided.

The apology was read out in the High Court as the Dodds, from Ticknock Dale, Ticknock, Sandyford, Dublin, settled their action for mental distress and nervous shock for an undisclosed sum.

The couple had sued the hospital and consultants following the death of Senan two days after he was born at the hospital on Mar 28, 2008. The baby was transferred to Holles Street Hospital, where he died.

It was claimed Senan’s death was caused by negligence and breach of duty and the parents had suffered mental distress and nervous shock as a result. There was a failure, it was claimed, to properly interpret or heed the significance of serious abnormalities in the fetal heart rate in a sufficiently prompt and timely manner and to ensure earlier delivery. The case had been before the court for assessment of damages only.

The High Court heard yesterday a trace showed Senan’s heart rate was slowing at 3.50pm but he was not delivered until four hours later. Bruce Antioniotti SC said an expert witness would have given evidence that if Senan had been delivered within an hour or even 90 minutes of the slow heart rate being detected he would have escaped injury.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine told the couple her only role in the case was in relation to a sum of €25,400 which was the fixed maximum sum — a gesture for loss of life.

Outside court, Mr Dodd said Senan’s death was “sadly avoidable”. “He was a beautiful healthy baby boy. Having suffered catastrophic brain injury arising from the management of the birth in Mount Carmel, Senan was transferred in the early hours of the morning by ambulance to Holles Street... He met his extended family, was named and baptised. He passed away two days later,” he said.

In a statement last night, the hospital said: “Any negligence in any hospital, where it is found to have occurred, is deeply regrettable.”

It said it “has robust clinical governance arrangements in place where any incidents at the hospital are examined and reviewed”.

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