A 13-year-old boy who sued over the treatment he was given for his hearing loss has settled his High Court action for €450,000.
Callan Molloy‘s speech and language development, it was claimed, was delayed significantly in his early years and he did not get a cochlear implant until he was eight years of age.
The boy’s hearing, it was claimed, was under-amplified from 2008 to around 2012 and a situation was allegedly allowed where the little boy had limited access to the speech spectrum during his optimal development age for language acquisition.
In the High Court today an apology from the HSE’s Community Healthcare West to Callan and his family was read out.
In the letter of apology it said it wished to “unreservedly apologise” for the standard of audiology care delivered to Callan.
It said the standard of the audiology care delivered “was not to the standard our services would believe was appropriate”.
Callan’s counsel, Doireann O’Mahony BL, told the court the little boy did not get a cochlear implant until he was eight years of age and prior to that he had hearing aids. Counsel said two years ago the HSE apologised for the failures identified in a review of paediatric audiology services in Mayo and Roscommon.
The HSE had carried out a review of services between April 2011 and February 2015 following concerns raised by the assistant national clinical lead in audiology. The concerns related to one audiologist who no longer worked in the audiology services.
Callan’s case is believed to be the first action before the courts on the matter. At the time it was thought 49 children were affected.
Outside court Callan’s Dad, Ronan Molloy said for five years his son’s hearing loss ”was misdiagnosed” and he was inadequately aided and he did not get a timely referral for cochlear implant. “This has resulted in a lifelong impairment to his speech and language comprehension,” Mr Molloy said.
He said his family now hope the HSE will implement the findings of their review “to ensure the audiology service in Ireland is properly resourced”. Callan Molloy of Ballinderreen, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway, had through his father Ronan Molloy sued the HSE.
A few months after Callan was born it became clear he had a hearing impairment and a bilateral hearing loss was diagnosed after an examination at University College Hospital, Galway.
There was no audiologist available in Galway and the little boy was referred to the audiology services of Mayo General Hospital for further management where he came under the care of an audiologist between March 2008 and August 2012.
The little boy was fitted with hearing aids initially which were later upgraded. His speech was very slow to develop and he used a lot of lip reading and focusing on faces to communicate.
It is claimed he had about 15 audiological appointments but these were mainly for moulds and checking that his hearing aids were working correctly. It is claimed regular audiological testing was not carried out and the boy's parents did not receive adequate information on his progress throughout this time.
The little boy was subsequently referred to Galway University Hospital for further audiological intervention and he was first assessed there in December 2012 and referred for cochlear implant assessment at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
He received the implant in March 2015 and his language and use of sentences improved markedly.
The claims were denied.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good one.