Boy who alleges excessive head growth not detected settles for €1.9m

Court heard claims public health nurses failed to plot the baby’s head circumference

Joe Keegan-Grant, now aged eight, cannot speak but attends mainstream school and is doing well, the court heard.

Joe Keegan-Grant, now aged eight, cannot speak but attends mainstream school and is doing well, the court heard.

 

A boy whose excessive head growth was allegedly not detected in post birth check-ups has secured €1.9m under a settlement of his High Court action.

It appeared nobody knew the head of the baby was growing too quickly, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told.

Joe Keegan-Grant, now aged eight, cannot speak but attends mainstream school and is doing well, the court heard.

The child was delivered by caesarean section on January 17th 2008 after a scan had shown a cyst near the base of his brain.

Through his mother, Patricia Keegan, Rushfield, Creggs, Co Roscommon, the child sued the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Dr Vladka Vilimkova, a consultant paediatrician at Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin.

It was alleged there was failure to exercise any, or any proper or adequate, care for the safety and well-being of the baby.  It was further claimed that public health nurses failed on a number of occasions to plot the baby’s head circumference on a centile chart.

It was also alleged that Dr Vilimkova failed, following a seven month developmental assessment, to take any adequate steps in the management of the baby’s care by referring him to specialist brain scans or for further assessment.

All claims were denied by both defendants.

Seeking approval of the settlement, Bruce Antoniotti SC, for the child, told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that public health nurses saw the baby on January 28th 2008 and on a number of occasions up to August 2008 but his head measurements were not plotted on a chart.

A public health nurse had in April 2008 found the child’s head circumference was 37.5cms and three weeks later, the consultant found it was 42cms, 4.5 cms bigger, counsel said. It appeared nobody knew the head of the baby was growing too quickly.

Counsel said the child’s mother brought developmental delays to the attention of the public heatlh nurse in August but the nurse may have taken comfort in the fact the baby was being seen by the paediatrician Dr Vilimkova ten days later.

At that appointment, the baby was referred for physiotherapy and advised to reattend for a further review at a later date.

In October 2008 the baby had a chest complaint and was brought to a GP who, concerned about the the baby’s head circumference referred the child back to Dr Vilimkova.

Counsel said the baby’s parents, when referred back to the paediatrician, insisted on a scan and it was found the baby had hydrocephalus.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross wished Joe and his family well for the future.