The HSE has today apologised unreservedly to the family of a baby who died from meningitis at Our Lady's of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda after doctors there had sent him home several hours earlier.
Dean Patrick Kenny (four months) died at the Co Louth Hospital on July 1, 2002.
His family claimed that they brought the child to the hospital that morning after a GP suspected the child had meningitis but was sent home after the boy was examined by a doctor at the hospital.
They alleged that his condition got worse and they returned to the hospital that afternoon when the boy died. Arising from that, family sued the HSE for the mental distress they claimed the suffered arising out of Dean Patrick's wrongful death.
In its defence the HSE denied the claims. Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice John Quirke was informed that the action had been resolved and could be struck out. No details of the settlement were revealed to the court.
In a letter to Dean Patrick's mother Anita Kenny and father Barry Higgins the HSE said it wished "to apologise unreservedly for the wrongful death of their son while in our care".
The HSE also "extended its deepest sympathy to the Dean Patrick's parents and his family".
Afterwards, solicitor Ms Caoimhe Haughey for the family said that her clients were "happy that the case had been resolved" and that "the letter of apology was worth its weight in gold to Dean Patrick's mother Anita".
In proceedings brought on behalf of the family by Dean Patrick's mother Anita Kenny of Simcox Lane, Trinity Gardens, Drogheda it was claimed that the HSE was negligent on ground that it had failed to make proper enquiries into the child's condition and allowed him to be discharged when they knew it was unsafe to do so.
It was claimed that was taken back to his GP who diagnosed the child as having meningitis. The boy was taken back to the hospital on the afternoon of July 1 where the boy died, it was further claimed
In its defence, the HSE denied that it had acted negligently. It claimed that it had complied with general approved medical practises.