‘Life’s the same but we won’t have to take on the system’

That is how a lawyer described to the High Court the injuries suffered by Matthew McGrath when he was only 17 months old.

‘Life’s the same but we won’t have to take on the system’

Matthew, now 12, and his parents Alan and Cathy won a long legal battle over his treatment at Wexford General Hospital where he was brought in suffering from an infection. It later turned out to be meningitis.

The boy is completely paralysed, confined to a wheelchair, cannot breathe without a ventilator, and can only eat by being fed through a tube.

Senior counsel Des O’Neill told the High Court that if Matthew had been treated with antibiotics and fluids when his condition deteriorated in hospital, he would have been spared the devastating injuries he suffered.

He was in the High Court yesterday to quietly say thank you to Mr Justice Kevin Cross who approved a €3.73m interim payout for the boy’s care in settlement of his action against the HSE.

Matthew, from Gorey, Co Wexford, proudly wore his Leinster rugby shirt and told the judge he was an avid rugby fan who regularly travels to the Aviva stadium.

A letter of apology from Wexford General Hospital was read by Matthew’s solicitor outside the court.

In the apology, the HSE said Wexford General Hospital wished to offer its sincere apology to Matthew as well as Alan and Cathy McGrath in relation the events following his admission to the hospital on May 27, 2004.

“The hospital extends unreservedly its unequivocal and heartfelt apology for the shortcomings in the care provided and the suffering and distress that this has caused.”

Ms McGrath described the apology as heartfelt and said “there is a certain unexpected peace in the admission of liability”.

“Life is still the same but we won’t have to take on the system as well as dealing with the daily challenges of caring for Matthew.”

The settlement, she said, would ensure that Matthew continues to receive the excellent care he has been getting at home since 2006 “without the worry of being subject to budget cuts”.

This is not the first battle for the family.

The court heard it had initially been thought Matthew would have to stay long-term in hospital, but after two years, the McGraths brought their son home to live.


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