€5m awarded to 20-year-old disabled athlete from Cork over circumstances at birth

A 20-year old man who sued over the circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork has settled his High Court action for €5m, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

€5m awarded to 20-year-old disabled athlete from Cork  over circumstances at birth
Courts today

A 20-year old man who sued over the circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork has settled his High Court action for €5m, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, approving the settlement against the HSE to Martin Coleman, said it was a very good settlement and he praised his family for all they had done to bring the young man, who is a disabled sportsman so far.

The High Court was told the case against retired consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Liam Mundow was struck out and the settlement is against the HSE only.

Senior Counsel David Holland told the court the settlement will make a very considerable difference to the young man who has cerebral palsy and who is a disabled sportsman and medal winner.

His mother Karen Coleman thanked the court and those involved for giving her son "a good life".

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross commented that Martin from Whitegate, Cork, who has already won two bronze medals at the Cerebral Palsy World Games for javelin and discus has had already succeeded in sport and he wished him well in the future.

At the opening of the case this week, Counsel said it was their case there was a complete shut off of oxygen supply to the baby during his birth at St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork and that Martin Coleman suffered a hypoxic brain injury.

David Holland SC said this was not the usual case of cerebral palsy where there was a very high degree of disability, but he said Martin Coleman’s condition has had a devastating effect on the life he would have had.

Mr Coleman, Counsel said was stillborn and had to be resuscitated after birth and has dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Counsel said Martin Coleman has mild learning difficulties and while he is physically able and is a disabled athlete of note, Counsel said Martin has whole variety of physical conditions which impede him.

Mr Holland told the court his side was asking the court to write a prescription to cater for the rest of the young man’s life and his care needs. He said Mr Coleman aspires to have an independent life living in Cork city and for this he will require supports, the costs of which are significant.

The court heard the claim also included a claim for loss of earnings.

Martin Coleman, Ballyvaloon, Whitegate, Co Cork has sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at St Finbarr’s Hospital. Cork on May 25, 1997.

It was claimed that Martin’s mother Karen Coleman was admitted to St Finbarr’s Hospital on May 25, 1997 and placed in a room in the observation area. It was claimed while there the supervision and monitoring of the mother was allegedly sub standard and she was allowed to walk around the area for lengthy periods.

It was further claimed despite alleged concerns being raised as to the CTG trace, there was an alleged failure to properly investigate it and take appropriate and speedy action.

It was further alleged the CTG trace monitoring the baby was discontinued at one stage for seven minutes and at another stage for a 44 minute interval

It was further claimed there was another period of 24 minutes when the CTG was allegedly discontinued.

It was also claimed there was an alleged delay in summoning the consultant obstetrician and an alleged failure to have the paediatric team present for the birth.

The claims were denied.

Counsel told the court at one stage when Mrs Coleman was in labour she was transferred to a trolley to be brought to theatre.

In what counsel said was like a “ trolley farce”, he said there was something wrong with the wheels of the trolley and it could not be moved.

“ A second trolley could not get in to the room and the mother had to get off the first trolley and on to the second trolley,” he said.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up