Boy who faced brain injury at birth settles case for €20.75m as hospital apologises

Ten-year-old has cerebral palsy and requires round-the-clock care, counsel said


A hospital has apologised to the family of a 10-year old boy for the failings which caused his devastating brain injury at birth.

The apology from University Hospital Waterford was read in the High Court today as Kevin Dunphy English settled for €20.75m his action against the HSE over the care he received at his birth in the hospital.

In a letter to the family, the hospital said, on behalf of its staff and management, it wished “to express sincere apologies for the failings on the part of the hospital that caused the devastating brain injury to your son Kevin at his birth.”

Kevin “suffered permanent profound disabilities which affect him in every facet of his life”.

It added: “The hospital understands that neither this apology nor any financial compensation recovered in court proceedings will assuage the continuing heartache that the family must feel every day. The hospital acknowledges that Kevin’s disabilities are and will continue to be a cause of major hardship for Kevin and his family.”

Dr John O’Mahony SC, with Cian O’Mahony BL, for the boy, told the court a lot of red lights were flashing but went unheeded before the boy’s delivery. It was their case that had Kevin had been born an hour earlier at the hospital, he would have been saved injury.

The baby was in intensive care for the first 24 days of his life.

He has cerebral palsy and global developmental delays and requires round the clock care, counsel said. He has to use a wheelchair for long distances and has an extremely limited vocabulary of about eight or nine words.

Kevin’s parents, Jane Dunphy and Seamus English from Co Kilkenny, had dedicated their lives to their son’s care, counsel added.

The court approved a final lump sum settlement in Kevin’s case of €18 million which, with interim settlement payouts totalling over €2m in the last five years, brings the total to €20.75m.

Ms Dunphy told the court the family are delighted and relieved to have come to the “end of a long road” in the legal process.

“It has been a very long road. Kevin is good and he is happy. Every day he is a challenge. We are going to care for Kevin and do the best way we can for him,” she told Mr Justice Cross.

Kevin Dunphy English of Carrick Road, Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny had, through his mother, sued the HSE as a result of injuries allegedly sustained at the time of his birth. It was claimed he suffered significant brain damage during his delivery at on July 9th, 2010.

His mother was admitted to the hospital on the evening of July 8th, 2010, and labour progressed slowly. After 2.30am on July 9th, decelerations on the CTG trace changed, it was alleged.

A foetal blood sample had been taken at 1.40am but that was not repeated despite the deterioration in the CTG trace, it was alleged. Had the foetal blood sample been repeated, the result would have prompted a decision to intervene earlier in terms of delivery, it was alleged.

Dr O’Mahony previously told the court liability was conceded in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

In 2013, the HSE had accepted it was in breach of duty to Kevin in the management of his birth by failing to effect a timely delivery, counsel outlined.

Approving the final settlement on Thursday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross congratulated Kevin’s parents for their work and the love they have given Kevin up until now. The judge also said he was sure the apology will give some comfort to Kevin’s parents.