Parents of girl who developed meningitis settle case with €2.6m interim payment

High Court told Soliat Asiyanbi (10) suffered brain damage, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair

Coombe Womens Hospital, Dublin.
Photograph: Aidan Crawley  28 August 2008

The parents of a girl who developed a meningitis infection weeks after her birth at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin have settled a High Court action with a €2.6 million interim payout.

Soliat Asiyanbi, who is now 10, suffered brain damage, has cerebral palsy and has to use a wheelchair, it was claimed before the High Court.

Bruce Antoniotti SC, for Soliat, told the court it was their case that the girl’s mother was not given information at the time of her daughter’s birth and discharge home from hospital on possible signs of Group B Streptococcus infection, the common cause of meningitis, and what to do if her baby fell ill.

It was their case that if the mother had been informed, she would have been more alert to the signs of developing infection. Counsel said there was a delay in bringing the baby to hospital where her infection was treated with antibiotics.


The Coombe Hospital, the court heard, admitted a breach of duty and conceded it should have advised the mother about Group B Streptococcus infection, but it contended that even if it had, Soliat would still have suffered brain damage. Causation remained at issue in the case.

The settlement, which includes a 25 per cent discount to reflect the litigation risk in the case, was reached after mediation. The girl’s parents, Theresia Bakekolo and Ismaila Asiyanbi, of Tallaght, Dublin, had sued the hospital.

The mother was treated with antibiotics at the time of the birth as a month earlier a swab was noted to show a light growth of Group B Streptococcus. Soliat was born soon afterwards on February 4th, 2014 and was kept under hospital observation for 48 hours because of the short duration of the maternal antibiotic course.

The baby was examined on the morning of February 7th and no abnormalities were identified and she was discharged home. Swabs taken from the mother later showed positive for Group B Streptococcus.

On February 26th, the mother noted her daughter was not feeding and crying a lot and she vomited her feed in the early hours of February 27th. The mother phoned the hospital but noticed her daughter’s hands were twitching and immediately took her to another hospital where she was seen in the emergency department at 6.45am. The baby was found to be positive for the infection.

In the proceedings it was claimed there was a failure to inform and advise the mother of the risk of the possible development of late-onset streptococcal disease and of the urgency of responding and seeking medical attention should her child become unwell.

It was further claimed there was a failure to take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure the mother was aware of and understood the potential importance of cultures positive for Streptococcus B taken after the birth. It was alleged a situation was caused where there was a delay in the child presenting at hospital and receiving antibiotic therapy.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was fair and reasonable considering the litigation risk in the case. The case will come back before the court in eight years, when Soliat’s future care needs will be assessed.