The HSE and Sligo University Hospital have apologised in court to the family of a five-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who had sued over the circumstances of her birth.
The apology was read to the court as Megan McGoldrick from Sligo secured an interim settlement of €2.5m for the next three years.
Megan, who has dyskinetic cerebral palsy and is unable to communicate verbally, is a happy little girl, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told.
In the apology from the Sligo hospital manager, both the HSE and the hospital said they wished to sincerely apologise to the McGoldricks “for the negligent care and management” during Andrea McGoldrick’s labour and the delivery on November 28, 2015.
The statement reads: “We acknowledge the catastrophic injuries caused to Megan as a result of the deficits in care, which have had, and will continue to have a devastating and lasting effect on Megan and your family.”
The letter of apology concludes: “We appreciate this apology will not change the outcome for Megan and your family and for this we are deeply sorry.”
Outside court Megan’s father, John McGoldrick, said the interim settlement will allow the family put in place the vital services and accommodation that is required to care for Megan into the future.
He said it was regrettable to note in the letter of apology there was no mention of any lessons learned from “ the disastrous outcome of Megan’s birth". He pleaded with those “in positions of influence to review policies and procedures” in the hope it may prevent similar outcomes.
Mr McGoldrick, standing beside his wife Andrea, said their daughter Megan is a bright, determined, and fun-loving girl who is adored by her older sister and her extended family.
“Megan’s fight and determination are a constant source of strength for us as a family. Our role as parents is to love, protect, and motivate and encourage Megan to reach her potential,” he said.
He said they were thankful to the surgical paediatric staff who saved Megan’s life on the day of her birth and to all those who have contributed to Megan’s care over the last number of years.
Megan McGoldrick, of Ballintogher, Co Sligo, had, through her mother Andrea, sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth at Sligo University Hospital on November 28, 2015.
In an affidavit to the court, Mrs McGoldrick said she had a caesarean section with her first child. She went into labour with Megan in the early hours of November 28, 2015. Syntocinon infusion, which enhances labour, was later advised, which she claimed is a risk factor for rupture in a woman with a prior caesarean section.
A decision for an emergency caesarean section was made, she said, at 5.17pm and Megan was born at 5.35pm. Mrs McGoldrick said at this stage she had suffered a complete uterine rupture. Megan, she said, was born in a very poor condition having suffered hypoxia and she developed hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.
There was, it was claimed, a failure to have due regard to Mrs McGoldrick’s medical history and associated risks. There was also, it was claimed, a failure to have regard to worrying abnormalities on the CTG trace from 4pm and a delay on a decision for caesarean section until 5.17pm.
Mr Justice Cross was told liability was admitted in the case.
Approving the interim settlement, Mr Justice Cross congratulated the McGoldricks for the care they have given Megan and he hoped the settlement will mean they can now concentrate on their role as parents not just as carers.