Damages of €8m to date for girl injured at birth

Judge approves €4.3m to ensure best quality of life for Skye Worthington over next nine years

A further payment for a girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at Kerry General Hospital has brought her total damages to date to some €8 million.

Nine-year-old Skye Worthington has cerebral palsy, cannot speak and can only communicate through special eye-gaze technology.

The latest interim payment of €4.3 million, to meet her care needs for the next nine years, brings to more than €8 million the total damages awarded to the child under the settlement of her High Court action against the Health Service Executive.

Approving the latest payment, president of the High Court Ms Justice Mary Irvine said on Monday she was thrilled the child is doing so well and taking part in activities, including horse riding and swimming.

When her mother, Colleen Worthington, said she was a lucky girl, the judge replied Skye was very lucky to have such loving parents.

David Holland SC told the court the family were happy with the latest payment which was for a total of €4.7m but, with allowances for unspent monies, came to some €4.3m.

The judge said during a remote hearing the application for approval was terribly important to ensure the funds were sufficient to give the child the best life she can have for the next nine years.

When the case settled in 2015, the HSE and Kerry General Hospital, Tralee, apologised unreservedly before the court to Skye who sued over injuries sustained during her delivery in April 2011.

Lessons had been learned

The court was told lessons had been learned from the management of Skye’s birth and a formal review had taken place.

An interim payment of €2.5 million was paid in 2015, followed by a further payout of €1.35 million in 2018.

From Rochestown, Co Cork, Skye, through her mother, sued the HSE as a result of injuries sustained during her delivery at the hospital in April 2011.

The court was told liability had been admitted in the case.

Among various claims, it was alleged there was mismanagement of labour and that the labour accelerant drug syntocinon should have been stopped when a deceleration in the baby’s heartbeat was noted. Had she been delivered 15 minutes earlier Skye would have been spared acute hypoxia, the court was told.

She was delivered by emergency Cesarean on April 22nd, 2011, but was flat and was transferred to Cork University Hospital where she received excellent care, it was stated.

The case will come back before the High Court in 2029 for assessment of Skye’s future care needs.