Boy settles case over birth at National Maternity Hospital for €7.25m

Lawyers for Finn Phillips (13) claim he is on autism specturm due to issues during delivery

A 13-year-old boy who sued over the circumstances of his birth at the National Maternity Hospital has settled his High Court case for €7.25million.

The settlement for Finn Phillips, who is on the autism spectrum, was made without an admission of liability

Jeremy Maher SC, for the child, told the court this was a test case. The Phillips side alleged that the boy is on the autism spectrum as a result of issues which arose during his birth at the hospital. He said Finn was born limp and unresponsive. The claims were denied by the hospital.

Mr Maher, instructed by solicitor Cian O’ Carroll, told the court the essence of their case was that protracted labour and difficult birth were the cause of Finn’s autism. Counsel said it was a test case and this issue had never been determined by a court in Ireland, the UK or anywhere else.


Counsel told the court mediation talks had taken place last Monday and a settlement was reached to bring before the court.

No hesitation

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement and that he was glad it had been reached through mediation. He wished Finn and his family all the best for the future.

Finn, of Village Road, Lusk, Co Dublin, had through his mother, Lisa Marie Murphy sued the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin over the circumstances of his birth on on July 30th, 2005.

The boy was delivered by ventouse delivery and it is claimed he was unnecessarily exposed to both asphyxia and trauma from the vacuum extraction and therefore was unnecessarily exposed to the potential long term consequences. The injuries suffered, it was claimed, included developmental delay and autism.

It was claimed that there was a failure to manage Finn’s mother’s labour appropriately and an alleged failure to intervene in time.

It was further claimed an alleged excessive number of pulls had been applied to deliver Finn and the baby had been subjected to excessive tractions. The claims were denied.

‘Wonderful boy’

Speaking outside court, Ms Murphy said her son is a “wonderful boy”.

“He would have been a fantastic man if everything had gone according to plan. Now we can make strides to help him be the best man he can be,” she said. “The settlement means as parents we don’t have to worry, Finn’s care is there. It means we can go privately for his care.”

Mr O’Carroll said the settled case does not stand as a precedent which would affect other cases and each case would be looked at according to its particular cirucmstances. He said all the parties involved were happy with the outcome.