Boy burned during heel-prick test settles High Court action

Ren Cotter settles action for €70,000 after suffering blistering and redness as a baby

A boy who suffered burns and blistering as he was about to have a post-natal heel prick test at Cork University Maternity Hospital has settled a High Court action for €70,000.

Ren Cotter suffered “burns, blistering, redness and pain” after a glove with warm water was placed on his left foot to aid blood circulation, his counsel Doireann O’Mahony SC told the court.

She said liability was admitted and the hospital apologised to the little boy’s mother, Abby Cotter.

Ren was in hospital for several days after the incident and required dressings. A plastic surgeon who had examined the toddler’s left foot earlier this year said the scarring was not particularly noticeable, counsel added.


The now-two-year-old, from Blarney Street, Cork city, had sued the HSE through his mother over the care provided to him at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

He was born at the hospital on May 22nd, 2020, but in the course of general post-natal testing a warm glove was applied to his left foot to stimulate blood flow.

The application of the glove was alleged to have caused severe blistering, redness and burning to his left lower leg and foot. It was claimed the postnatal testing was completely substandard.

Also among the claims was an allegation that little to no information had been given to the baby’s mother as to the nature of the injury while she was in hospital and in a distressed state.

He has been left with altered pigmentation on his left calf and above his knee area.

Counsel told the court that a separate action for nervous shock brought by Abby Cotter had been settled and could be struck out. The terms of that settlement are confidential.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he was satisfied Ren’s settlement was fair and reasonable and he approved it.