On the 2nd November 2010, the team compromised a claim for a seven year old girl who was awarded the sum of €2m by way of an interim payment. The action was adjourned for a period of two years for final determination. It is envisaged that in two years time, legislation will have been enacted to enable damages in catastrophic injury cases to be awarded on an annual periodic basis. If such legislation is enacted over the next year or two, it would then be possible for an annual sum to be awarded to cover care and other future expenses and this sum would be index linked against inflation.
The Plaintiff sustained injuries in this case during the course of her birth at Tralee General Hospital (Kerry General Hospital), Tralee, County Kerry. The staff at Tralee General Hospital negligently managed her mother`s labour and, the Plaintiff's delivery. During the latter stages of labour, the Plaintiff suffered from a circulatory collapse and, fetal distress. The CTG trace became pathological at 12.17 / 12.18 hours and there was a total of 21 minutes, from when the trace became pathological, before the Midwife summoned the obstetrician, who on arrival did nothing to assist with the delivery. Given that the Plaintiff was born at 13.06 hours there was, therefore, some 49 minutes from when the trace became pathological before the Plaintiff was born. At birth the Plaintiff required resuscitation and an admission to the neonatal intensive care unit. The Plaintiff was acutely ill. However, the Plaintiff's condition stabilised and she was eventually discharged home the following month.
It was subsequently confirmed that the Plaintiff had sustained irreversible brain damage which has given rise to the condition of cerebral palsy of a dyskinetic/ athetoid (profound motor disability) kind with involvement of all four limbs. The Plaintiff is profoundly physically disabled. She has impaired motor function, cannot walk, is wheelchair dependant and, has to be lifted bodily for all transfers. The Plaintiff can see, hear and vocalise but cannot communicate using speech. She communicates by eye pointing. It appears that her higher faculties have been preserved as she appears to be intellectually intact. The Plaintiff attends mainstream school where she is keeping up with her peers. Because of her impaired motor function and mobility problems, she is and will always be, dependent upon the care and supervision of others. It is unlikely that the Plaintiff will be able to live independently. She requires and will require for life, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and nursing care/supervision. The Plaintiff is very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving, immediate and extended family who will leave no stone unturned in order to maximise her potential.
The Trial of this matter had been listed for hearing on the 18th November, 2010 and was compromised by way of a negotiated settlement on the 1st November, 2010 which was approved by Mr. Justice Quirke on the 2nd November, 2010. Mr. Justice Quirke stated as follows:-
"....This is a very well presented case. It has been carefully examined
and thoroughly investigated and I should compliment the
professional advisers in relation to it......"
The terms of the settlement as stated above include an interim payment of damages in the sum of €2m which will enable the Plaintiff`s parents to enhance the quality of the Plaintiff's life by purchasing items such as nursing care, aids and appliances, assistive technology and, to build a suitable house to accommodation the Plaintiff and her many and complicated needs.