Hospital ‘sorry’ for boy’s brain damage

University Hospital Waterford has apologised in court to a six-year-old boy left brain damaged just before his second birthday after the High Court heard there was a “profound misdiagnosis “ of his chickenpox infection.

Hospital ‘sorry’ for boy’s brain damage

Eoghan Keating, who cannot talk and is tetraplegic, yesterday settled his action against the HSE for an interim sum of €2.5m. His counsel told the High Court there was a profound misdiagnosis when he had infectious chicken pox. The boy later suffered a brain injury of the most profound kind, counsel Liam Reidy said.

University Hospital Waterford general manager Richard Dooley in a statement read to the High Court apologised on behalf of the management and staff for “the deficiencies in the care provided to Eoghan at the hospital on August 24, 2012”.

“I would also like to acknowledge the many challenges that you and your family have faced as a result of the treatment afforded to Eoghan,” he said.

“I do not underestimate how traumatic this has been for you and we are truly sorry for the distress this has caused to you and to Eoghan.”

Eoghan Keating, of Upper Dunhill, Co Waterford, had through his mother Martina Keating sued the HSE over the care he received when he was brought to the A&E of Waterford Regional Hospital on August 24, 2012, with a rash and a high temperature.

The baby had a high fever, was irritable and crying and it was claimed his parents were advised Eoghan had mumps. It was noted he had a rash all over his body especially his abdomen and a diagnosis of chickenpox with mumps was then made.

It is claimed the management plan was to discharge Eoghan, for him to take ibuprofen and Calpol, and for his parents to contact the hospital if concerned.

That night it is claimed a swelling in the baby’s neck increased and he was lethargic and his parents rang the hospital and were told Eoghan had mumps. When they called again they were advised to contact the Caredoc GP service. The Caredoc service advised that the swelling was very serious and Eoghan was brought back to Waterford Regional Hospital. At the hospital the boy was intubated and ventilated and he was later transferred to a Dublin hospital.

It was claimed there was a failure to admit Eoghan at Waterford Regional Hospital and to treat him intravenously with antibiotics when he first presented and an alleged failure to heed the indicators of a significant evolving infection.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross told the Keatings “your suffering cannot be described or defined”.

The case will come back before the court in two years time when another aspect of Eoghan’s case will be assessed. An action for nervous shock by Eoghan’s patents is also in the pipeline.

‘There is no dancing. He cannot reach out his arms to give hugs any more’

Eoghan Keating cannot hug anymore. He can’t talk and is tetraplegic.

The little boy was just short of his second birthday when he was brought to the A&E of Waterford Regional Hospital with a high temperature and a rash.

There was, his counsel told the High Court yesterday “ a profound misdiagnosis” of his chicken pox infection and the boy was not admitted for treatment. He later became ill and suffered a brain injury.

Yesterday, the High Court approved a €2.5m interim settlement for Eoghan, who is now six years of age.

University Hospital Waterford also apologised in court to Eoghan and his family for “deficiencies in the care provided” to him at the Waterford hospital on August 24, 2012.

His mother, Martina Keating held back tears as she described her son before and after his illness.

“He was an energetic, fun-loving toddler and very sociable and he loved nothing more than giving hugs to everyone when he was leaving a room or saying goodbye. It would have meant everything to us to see him grow into a young man, fall in love and eventually form a loving family of his own. Unfortunately for Eoghan this is now not to be.”

She added: “We grieve every day for the life Eoghan has lost but we know we are blessed to still have him with us.”

Calling Eoghan their “little warrior”, she said there is now no singing of nursery rhymes or dancing in the kitchen with his sister like there once was and he cannot reach out his arms to give hugs any more.

“We get a turn of his head in recognition of our voices on a good day and on a very good day when there is no discomfort we get a smile, which is so very precious, but we do miss the sound of his little laugh,” she told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

She said they would return the settlement “if it would miraculously enable Eoghan to be pain-free and carefree like he once was”.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross told the Keatings “your suffering cannot be described or defined”.

Outside court, Eoghan’s father, Larry urged the Government and those in management to help all children with chronic, life-limiting conditions.

“These children are the real heroes, who battle, through their parents, for the most basic of needs on a daily basis. They deserve so much better than what is currently available.”

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