Girl’s settlement over birth injuries increased to €15.6m

Isabelle Sheehan’s award believed to be highest ever for plaintfiff in such a case

A number of settlements have been increased following the Court of Appeal’s “Russell” judgement.

A number of settlements have been increased following the Court of Appeal’s “Russell” judgement.


An €11.6m settlement for a young girl with cerebral palsy has been increased by €3.9m to more than €15.6 million as a result of a recent ruling affecting interest rates on such awards.

The €15.6 million final settlement for Isabelle Sheehan, approved on Monday by the President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly is believed to be the highest ever for a catastrophically injured plaintiff.

Isabelle, now aged 13, was among six such plaintiffs whose settlements were increased on Monday by sums totalling more than €13 million following the Court of Appeal’s “Russell” case judgment earlier this year altering interest rates on such awards.

All six cases previously settled on a different rate of return but the terms provided, should the High Court Russell decision altering the rate of return be upheld by the Appeal Court, the plaintiffs would benefit from the improved rate of return. The additional funds will be paid into court as the six are wards of court.

Through her mother, Catherine, of Millbrook, Mallow, Co Cork, Isabelle Sheehan sued Dr David Corr, of the Cork Clinic, Western Road, Cork, who was carrying on a private practice at the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital, Cork, when Isabelle was born there in 2004.

It was claimed Dr Corr failed to act on blood tests carried out on Ms Sheehan during her pregnancy which showed a significant risk to the health of the baby. Dr Corr admitted liability and an apology on his behalf was previously read to the court.

Also on Monday, Mr Justice Kelly approved a €3.5 million uplift on previous payments totalling some €11.4m for Eoin Dunne, bringing to some €14.9 million the teenager’s total award over birth injuries at the Coombe Women’s Hospital in Dublin.

Catastrophic injuries

The High Court previously ruled the hospital was liable for catastrophic injuries sustained by Eoin, of Malahide, Co Dublin in the circumstances of his birth there in July 2002. Eoin has severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy, cannot walk or speak and is totally dependent on others for all his needs. He had sued through his mother Dr Fiona Murphy, an anesthetist.

The judge also approved a €2.89 million increase for Roisin Conroy, Dysart, Portaloise, who previously settled her case for €11.6 million. She has cerebral palsy as a result of injuries caused at her birth at the Midland Regional Hospital in November 2001. She had received an apology from the HSE and a constultant obstetrician who treated her, John P Corristine, attached to Portlaoise General Hospital, now the Midland Regional Hospital.

In another case, the judge approved a €1.24 million increase for Nadine Wilkin (21), Abbey Park, Manorcunningham, Letterkenny, who also has cerebral palsy. She previously received €6 million under a settlement of her action against the HSE over her care at the time of her birth at Letterkenny General Hospital on June 11th 1996. The settlement was made without an admission of liability.

In the case of Emily Casey (20), Nerano Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, the judge approved an uplift of €1.45 million on her overall settlement of €4.85 million. Ms Casey, who was left paralysed after undergoing surgery on her spine, sued Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dubin, and a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Dr David Moore, over an operation in December 2009 at the hospital to treat curvature of the spine. Liability was admitted and an apology was provided.

In the sixth case, the judge approved a €367,559 uplift on a €3.5 million settlement for 13-year-old Aaron Hanrahan, Alleen, Donohil, Co Tipprary, who has spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy. He sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at South Tipperary General Hospital in April 2004. The settlement included an apology on behalf of the hospital.