Payment of €11m to girl badly injured at birth


A girl who suffered severe injuries and brain damage due to alleged negligence in the circumstances of her birth at Tralee General Hospital in 2003 is to be paid €11 million in settlement of her court action.

The settlement for Bríd Courtney (9) was agreed without admission of liability by the HSE and was approved yesterday in the High Court by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. The child brought the action through her mother, Deirdre Courtney, Ardfert, Co Kerry.

An interim payment of €2 million was approved in late 2010 and the case was adjourned with the intention that additional payments to meet her future care needs would be assessed under the system of periodic payments.

The periodic payments system is intended to provide for people with serious injuries necessitating lifelong care.

The case resumed last week before Mr Justice Kevin Cross but was settled yesterday.

It was ruled in the afternoon by Ms Justice Irvine, who was told by Liam Reidy SC that an additional €9 million payment had been agreed to fully settle the case.

When previously outlining the case, Mr Reidy said Ms Courtney was admitted to Tralee General Hospital on February 24th, 2003.

During labour, hospital staff failed to consider the dangers associated with a sudden and dramatic change in the foetal heart rate pattern and failed to deliver the foetus as speedily as possible, Mr Reidy said. This caused the child to suffer perinatal asphyxia causing brain damage, he added.

Mr Reidy said Bríd was wheelchair-dependent and unable to communicate through speech, relying on the use of her eyes and facial expressions.

While profoundly physically disabled, her intellect was intact and she had an IQ of 106, he said. Bríd was a “joyful, happy” child who “communicates in a humorous way with everybody around her”.

Mr Justice Cross had heard the child’s parents had built a new home with money paid out from the interim payment.