Boy with handicap paid £1.3m by hospital


A boy who is brain-damaged and profoundly handicapped is to be paid £1.3 million under a settlement approved by the High Court yesterday.

Christopher Joyce, now aged nine, had taken an action against Portiuncula General Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, where he was admitted in August 1990 with vomiting and fever. The hospital denied a claim it had failed to properly investigate his condition.

Christopher sued the hospital through his widowed mother, Mrs Ann Joyce, who lived in Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co Westmeath, but now lives in Brideale Close, Peckham, London.

It was submitted that Christopher, who is in a wheelchair, would require special medical treatment for the rest of his life.

He was admitted to the hospital on August 29th, 1990, and detained there until September 23rd, 1990, when he was transferred to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin. In the Dublin hospital, it was claimed, a diagnosis of meningitis was made.

Mr John Finlay SC, for Christopher, told Mr Justice Johnson the settlement was being made without any admission of liability.

The judge approved the settlement and directed that £100,000 of the money be given to lawyers for the boy, of which £70,000 was to be paid to Mrs Joyce for her care to date and £30,000 was to go towards immediate medical essentials.

It was clearly a case in which the care given in the home was very important, the judge said.

It is expected an application will be made later to have Christopher made a ward of court.