€2.75m interim settlement for Tipperary boy (12) brain injured before birth

Case taken against consultant obstetrician by boy who was catastrophically brain injured

 The Four Courts. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

The Four Courts. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins


A boy who was catastrophically injured in the final stages of his mother’s pregnancy has settled his High Court action on terms, including an interim payment of €2.75 million to meet care costs for the next three years.

James McCarthy, now aged 12, was delivered by emergency Caesarean section at 33 weeks when a scan showed his identical twin had died in the womb. James is severely disabled and cannot walk, talk or sit unaided.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the interim settlement against Dr Raymond Howard, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St Joseph’s hospital, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. The case will return to court in three years, when future care needs will be assessed.

Through his mother, Linda McCarthy, of Derrygrath, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, James sued Dr Howard, the HSE and St Joseph’s.

Failure of care

At the start of the case, the court was told the proceedings against the hospital and the HSE could be struck out and that the matter was going ahead against Dr Howard, who had admitted liability.

James was a “victim of the most appalling injuries”, his counsel, John O’Kelly SC, said.

Expecting twins

The registrar consulted with Dr Howard, who did not believe Ms McCarthy should be admitted, and Ms McCarthy was asked to come back in one week.

When she returned on November 20th, a scan showed that one of the twins had died and a Caesarean was performed later that day. When James was delivered, he was in very poor condition.

The following day, Dr Howard told Ms McCarthy that “these things happen” and to concentrate on James, she said.

It was around the child’s first birthday that Ms McCarthy and her partner, James Cooney, learned that he had cerebral palsy and over time discovered the severity of his disability, she said.