Severely disabled Cork boy (8) awarded €13.5m

Gill Russell suffered brain damage at birth at Cork hospital

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has fixed the rate of return or discount in the Gill Russell case, a test case, at 1 per cent.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has fixed the rate of return or discount in the Gill Russell case, a test case, at 1 per cent.

 

An eight-year-old severely disabled boy who suffered brain damage at birth has been awarded €13.5million by the High Court.

The award was made to Gill Russell towards his care for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who has heard weeks of evidence in the case in relation to the boy’s future care, said he believed €13.5 million is a reasonable sum, fair to both sides of the case.

The case is also a ground-breaking test case. Monies for future care and expenses have usually been awarded by the Irish courts on the assumption that the monies will gain interest when invested of 3 per cent per annum and there is an built-in discount to to allow for that.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has fixed the rate of return or discount in Gill’s case at 1 per cent. Legal sources said this decision will have implications for future cases.

Gill’s mother, Karen Russell, had asked the court to award a lump sum payment for her son’s future care needs given the continuing absence of the necessary laws allowing for periodic payments for the catstrophically injured. She broke down with tears of relief after the judgment.

The case was adjourned two years ago with an interim payout of €1.4 million in anticipation of the legislation.

Two years ago the HSE and Cork University Maternity Hospital apologised to the then six-year old boy as part of the partial settlement of the case. Gill Russell, Aghada, Co Cork, cannot walk, suffers from dyskinetic cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

Through his mother, he sued the HSE alleging negligence in the circumstances of his birth at the Erinville Hospital, Cork on July 12th,2006.

Liability was admitted and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

It was claimed Gill was born at at 8.36am after an alleged “prolonged and totally chaotic” delivery. He had a severe shoulder dystocia and was born after his mother had a symphysiotomy.

He was transferred to Cork University Hospital where he remained for two months.

The court heard he will always be unable to walk and does not have function in his arms but can communicate and learn with the aid of a special computer which responds to his eye gaze.

In an apology read to the court last October on behalf of the HSE and Cork University Maternity Hospital, the defendants offered sincere apologies for the pain and distress experienced by Gill and his family following his care and delivery.

The apology stated the defendants did not underestimate the trauma experienced, but wished to assure Gill and his mother additional reviews of hospital practices are continually carried out with the aim of ensuring the safety of its patients at all times.