Girl settles case over shoulder injury at birth for €400,000

Court told Alice Hayes suffered brachial plexus injury and has Erb’s Palsy as a result

A six-year-old girl who sued over a shoulder injury allegedly suffered at birth has settled her High Court action against the National Maternity Hospital (pictured) for €400,000. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A six-year-old girl who sued over a shoulder injury allegedly suffered at birth has settled her High Court action against the National Maternity Hospital (pictured) for €400,000. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A six-year-old girl who sued over a shoulder injury allegedly suffered at birth has settled her High Court action against the National Maternity Hospital for €400,000.

The settlement was made without admission of liability.

Dr John O’Mahony SC, with Doireann O’Mahony BL, for Alice Hayes, said their case was that the baby was delivered by junior doctors and excessive traction was applied.

Through her mother Norah McNulty, of Blackrock, Dublin, the child sued the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, over the antenatal care provided in the lead-up to her birth, the management of her mother’s labour and her own birth on September 8th, 2013.

It was claimed that Alice suffered a brachial plexus injury to her left shoulder and now has a shoulder condition known as Erb’s Palsy. It was further claimed that during the labour an alleged incorrect determination was made of the position of the baby.

Downward traction

It was alleged that excessive downward traction was applied to the baby’s head and, as a result, the baby suffered the brachial plexus injury.

Further efforts should have been made to overcome the shoulder dystocia instead of taking the action of applying traction, it was alleged.

It was further claimed there was failure to exercise the competence, diligence, care and judgement that should be expected in the provision of antenatal care in the lead-up to Alice’s birth and in the management of the labour and delivery.

If Ms McNulty had been appropriately advised on the options for delivery in respect of the birth of her daughter, and on the risks or benefits associated with the different options for delivery, she would have elected for a Caesarean section, it was also claimed.  

Dr O’Mahony said Alice is doing well under the care of very supportive parents.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good one and he wished Alice well for the future.