A teenage boy has settled his High Court legal action for €15 million over his post-birth care at the Coombe hospital in Dublin.
Maternal Evidence of Infection
The court heard that there had been an alleged failure to diagnose and respond to sings of infection that began to present soon after his delivery. It was further claimed that there had been a failure to respond to maternal evidence of infection, to administer antibiotics in response, and that an urgent paediatric opinion was not sought when it should have been known to do so promptly.
As a result of the delay, it was alleged, the boy developed an infection which led to meningitis. The boy then went on to show signs autism in the months after his birth, including developmental delay, difficulties with hearing and language, as well as co-ordination issues.
Counsel for the complainant stated that the case centred on the alleged delay in diagnosis that led to these symptoms. Counsel contested that the infection should have been contested by the 15th hour post-birth, and that he would not have suffered a meningitis infection had it been detected on time.
Autism Link Denied
Although liability was conceded for some of the case, claims in relation to the development of autism were denied.
Professor Michael O’Connell, Master of the Coombe Hospital, offered sincere apologies on behalf of his staff and for the “failings in care that caused injury” in a letter to the family.
“We in the hospital understand and sincerely regret that our failings in care have led to lifelong consequences not only for (the boy) but also for his parents and family”, the letter stated.
In approving the settlement amount of €15 million, the biggest settlement to date among the small number of cases that have sought to establish an alleged link between autism and brain injury, Mr Justice Paul Coffey wished the family well.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*