The HSE has apologised to the family of a seven-year-old Tipperary girl with cerebral palsy who has settled for €6.7 million her legal action over the alleged mismanagement of her birth.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told by senior counsel for Katie Manton that the Manton family thought the apology was "too little too late".
Michael McGrath SC, for Katie's parents Aoife and Raymond Manton, of Cashel, Tipperary, said he had been instructed to tell the court the apology was "too little too late in the circumstances".
Katie, he said, had brought the action over the alleged below-standard management of her mother Aoife’s obstructed labour and the excessive delay in delivering her at South Tipperary General Hospital on September 17th, 2008.
At the outset of the hearing on Thursday, an apology from the HSE was read to the court.
In it, the general manager of South Tipperary General Hospital, Grace Rothwell, said she wished to "express our sincere and unreserved apologies for the failings that caused the injuries to Katie and the tragic outcome".
She added:“I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that valuable lessons have been learned by the hospital and its staff.”
Katie Manton had, through her father Raymond Manton of George’s Land, Dualla Road, Cashel, Co Tipperary, sued the HSE as a result of the alleged inadequate and below-standard management of Aoife Manton’s obstructed labour and the alleged excessive delay in delivering Katie, who suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain.
It was claimed there was an alleged failure to deliver the baby, by caesarean section or otherwise, in a timely manner, and an alleged failure to properly diagnose the CTG readings either properly or at all. The claims were denied.
Counsel said Katie is severely and permanently disabled.
He said the family had been put to tremendous expense in the past seven years and had even bought a site to build a home for their daughter.
The girl’s mother said she was happy with the settlement, and was glad the legal action was over.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement and said it would be good for Katie.
He said her parents had brought Katie through the early years, and they were the heroes. He hoped the settlement would make Katie’s life as good as it could possibly be.
Outside court, Aoife Manton said they were relieved the case was finished. "It has been a very difficult time for the family," she said.
“Since Katie’s birth in 2008 we have tried to do our best for Katie, with limited means and resources. It is regrettable that even though the HSE admitted liability in these proceedings, it was not until today that there has been a semblance of an apology or an expression of regret from the HSE for its admitted negligence and failures.”
She added: “In light of the circumstances surrounding our daughter’s birth, and with regard to issues that remain to be addressed, it is simply too little, too late.
“The failures on the part of the HSE and South Tipperary General Hospital have affected the lives of everyone in our family, and more particularly our wonderful daughter Katie, whom we all love dearly and of whom we are very proud.”
She said that, after seven years, “we now have the opportunity to provide Katie with the very best of care and assistance to which she is entitled”.