Girl left severely physically compromised settles case for €7.1m

Ellie May Justice (12), who has Down syndrome, sued over operation at Temple Street

Ellie May Justice, from Brittas, Co Dublin, had sued the hospital, through her mother Josephine Justice. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Ellie May Justice, from Brittas, Co Dublin, had sued the hospital, through her mother Josephine Justice. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A girl described as having been left catastrophically physically compromised after an operation has settled her High Court action for €7.1 million.

Ellie May Justice, now aged 12, who has Down syndrome, had an operation at the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin, and has been left with a weakness of all four limbs and has to use a wheelchair, the court heard.

She settled her High Court action this week against the hospital over an operation carried out there in 2014.

Declan Doyle SC, with Jonathan Kilfeather SC, for the child, said their case was the operation should never have happened, and that Ellie May could have had a different operation.

Counsel said Ellie May had to have a series of operations between 2013 and 2014.

He said liability was admitted in relation to the fourth decompression and fusion operation at the hospital.

The operation changed Ellie May from being a fully able young girl with Down Syndrome to being catastrophically physically compromised,he said.

Ellie May Justice, from Brittas, Co Dublin, had sued the hospital, through her mother Josephine Justice.

It was claimed there was a failure in time to detect the girl’s post-operative deterioration after her fourth surgery. It was claimed she sustained a major complication following the fourth procedure which, it was claimed, should not have been carried out.

Her neurological condition deteriorated rapidly following her return to the ward and she required emergency surgery to remove a partly liquid haematoma within the wound, it was claimed. The haematoma was evacuated but she required ventilation for two days and was left with severe weakness of all four limbs.

She spent 10 days in the paediatric intensive care after the operation and missed two years of school after the operation.

Her father Keith Justice told the court the family were satisfied with the outcome “out of the unfortunate circumstances.”

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good settlement and he wished the family all the best for the future.