Cerebral palsy sufferer who claimed birth injury secures €2.1m

Ruth Carmel Foley sued HSE over management of her birth at Kilkenny hospital in 1986

A woman with cerebral palsy who claimed she suffered injuries at birth has secured €2.1 million under a settlement of her High Court action against the HSE.

Ruth Carmel Foley, now aged 29, has dyskinetic cerebral palsy, is unable to walk and has no consistent control over the movement of her limbs, the court heard.

Liam Reidy SC, for Ms Foley, said her parents had looked after her for the last 29 years with limited support and their care ensured she led an enjoyable life.

Ms Foley, of Killoughternane, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, had, through her mother, Carmel, sued the HSE over the management of her birth at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny in 1986.


Mr Reidy said his client's mother had been admitted to the hospital on May 26th, 1986, as it was expected the birth would be troublesome.

Requisite standard of care

It was claimed the subsequent management of the pregnancy and delivery fell below the requisite standard of care.

It was also alleged there was failure to intervene to allow the safe onset of labour and to ensure immediate transfer of Ms Foley to the labour ward once labour had commenced.

There was a further failure to observe and react appropriately to foetal distress from the commencement of labour, it was also alleged.

The claims were denied and the HSE contended the defence was prejudiced by long delay in the proceedings and because some of those involved had since died.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty praised the "enormous heroic" efforts of Ms Foley's family in their care for her.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times