ú1.47m offer in negligence claim over boy's birth


The High Court has been asked to approve a ú1,475,000 settlement in an action taken by a five year-old boy, who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other disorders, against Waterford Maternity Hospital.

Ryan O'Sullivan, through his mother, Mrs Amanda O'Sullivan, of Rathfadden Park, Waterford, is suing Waterford Maternity Hospital, Airmount, Waterford, for alleged medical negligence.

Following discussions between lawyers for the two sides yesterday, Mr Justice Kinlen was asked to approve a settlement offer of ú1,475,000. The hearing is to continue today.

Mr Murray McGrath SC, for the defence, said the offer was without admission of liability and subject to court approval.

Mr Liam McKechnie SC, for the boy, said the action arose following Ryan's birth at the hospital at 3.23 p.m. on October 23rd, 1992. Almost immediately, it was noticed that the child had neurological deficit signs. He went on to develop and exhibit major mental, physical and neurological symptoms.

He now suffered from cerebral palsy and suffered epilepsy and many other neurological symptoms closely associated with that type of palsy. The case related to birth asphyxia and if proper care had been in place, Ryan would have been normal when born, counsel submitted.

The plaintiff intended to call two obstetricians who would state that problems arose as early as 9.30 a.m. on the date of birth. They would state that most obstetricians exercising reasonable care would have made plans for a Caesarean section at 10 a.m. and certainly by 11.15 a.m.

Counsel said Ryan had suffered for some time, and certainly in the hour before birth, a profound deprivation of oxygen which was the sole cause of the present symptoms. These would be lifelong.

The plaintiff's side would invite the court to conclude that Ryan should have been born at 10 a.m. If he had been born any time before 2.30 p.m., on the balance of probabilities, he would be perfectly normal now, Mr McKechnie submitted.