Girl (7) settles case over brain injury at birth for €5.8m
Judge praises Ellen O’Kane’s parents for extraordinary care she has received to date
A seven-year-old girl who was alleged to have suffered a brain injury during her birth at Portiuncula Hospital, Co Galway, has secured an interim payment of €5.8 million under a settlement approved by the High Court. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.
A seven-year-old girl who suffered a brain injury during her birth at Portiuncula Hospital, Co Galway, has secured an interim payment of €5.8 million under a settlement approved by the High Court.
Ellen O’Kane’s case will come back to court in 15 years time for assessment of her future care needs.
Denis McCullough SC, instructed by Michael Boylan solicitor, for the girl, said their case was that because of excessive traction as attempts were made at instrumental delivery, Ellen was “severely compromised” and had to be intubated after being delivered by an emergency caesarean section.
Counsel said an MRI scan later confirmed a skull fracture and that the baby had suffered a hypoxic ischaemic injury.
In the High Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross praised Ellen’s parents for the extraordinary care they have given their daughter.
“You are to be congratulated for the care you have given to Ellen and I thank you,” he said when approving the interim settlement.
Ellen, of Kiltybegs, Longford, had, through her mother Mary Brady, sued the HSE over the care provided at the time of her birth on September 19th, 2012 at Portiuncula Hospital.
It was claimed that there was failure to exercise any, or any proper or adequate, care for the safety and well being of the baby who was born in a very poor, flat and asphyxiated condition.
It was alleged that syntocinon, a drug used to induce labour, was used unnecessarily and when Ms Brady was already having strong contractions. It was further alleged there was failure to stop the use of syntocinon which was allegedly causing atypical variable decelerations in the foetal heart rate. The baby was not delivered in a proper and timely manner and her skull was deeply impacted against her mother’s hip, it was claimed.
Mr McCullough told the court that Ellen has had seizures and, while she is attending mainstream school, her family plan to home school her. The settlement includes €520,000 for home schooling. Mr Justice Cross approved the settlement as a good one and he wished Ellen well for the future.
This article was last amended on February 3rd, 2020.