Case alleging liquid leaked from cannula and burned baby’s foot settled for €75,000

Tomiwa Bobby Agbaje, now aged 13, was five days old at time of alleged incident in Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital

A High Court case in which it was alleged that a boy’s leg was burned by a solution leaking from a cannula in his foot when he was a newborn baby has been settled for €75,000.

Tomiwa Bobby Agbaje (13), from Mallow, Co Cork, was five days old and in the intensive care unit at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, when the incident was alleged to have happened.

His counsel, Dr Ciaran Craven, instructed by solicitor Gary Matthews, told the court the boy was born premature at 27 weeks. When he was five days old he was found to have too much acid in his blood, and an infusion of sodium bicarbonate was given, counsel said. It was the plaintiff’s case that the solution burned his left foot, which has been left with a scar.

Counsel said a breach of duty was admitted regarding the release of the solution. Tomiwa is attending boarding school in Lagos, Nigeria, the court heard. Tomiwa, with an address at Rathcoole, Mallow, had, through his mother, Agijat Adekunle, sued the Rotunda Hospital, of Parnell Square, Dublin.


He was born at the hospital on October 3rd, 2009 and transferred to the intensive care unit soon after his delivery, where he was intubated and ventilated for a short period. When he was five days old, a capillary blood gas sample was taken which revealed the acid. It was claimed an intravenous cannula was inserted into Tomiwa’s left foot.

After 20 minutes of infusing the sodium bicarbonate, it was noticed that the solution entered tissue surrounding the cannula. A doctor later noted a chemical burn on the left foot, which resulted in an open wound to the skin and visible bone.

The baby was referred to the plastic surgery team at the hospital for treatment and the wound was irrigated with a litre of saline a few times a day and wet dressings were applied. It was claimed there was a failure to infuse the sodium bicarbonate at the correct rate and to prepare and administer it at the correct concentration.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was a fair and reasonable settlement.