HSE apologise to Craughwell girl after UCHG care failings

Solicitor for the Farrells, Roger Murray (R), speaking to the media on Tuesday after the case, while Niamh and Shane Farrell, parents of Sadhbh Farrell (6), of Killeeneen, Craughwell, Co. Galway, look on. Photo: Courtpix

Solicitor for the Farrells, Roger Murray (R), speaking to the media on Tuesday after the case, while Niamh and Shane Farrell, parents of Sadhbh Farrell (6), of Killeeneen, Craughwell, Co. Galway, look on. Photo: Courtpix

An apology has been issued by the HSE to a six-year-old Craughwell girl with cerebral palsy over failings in her care after her birth at University College Hospital, Galway.

Sadhbh Farrell will also receive an interim payment of €2.66m under a settlement of her High Court action.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the baby appeared jaundiced in the days after her birth in January 2011 and that should have triggered a simple test, which could have rectified the situation for the baby within a day.

In the apology on behalf of the HSE and hospital, general manager Chris Kane sincerely apologised and expressed “deepest regrets” for the failings in care provided to Sadhbh in the week following her birth on January 23rd 2011.

The letter stated: “We do not underestimate how difficult and traumatic this has been for you and your families and the challenges that you and your families have faced as a result of the failings in the treatment and care provided to Sadhbh..

Sadhbh, of Killeeneen, Craughwell, had, through her mother Niamh Farrell, sued the HSE for negligence arising from the baby’s discharge from University College Hospital, Galway without investigation for jaundice.

The case centred on the failure to carry out a test for bilirubin levels in a baby who was jaundiced. It was claimed there was failure to have regard to visible jaundice affecting the baby prior to discharge from hospital on January 24th, 2011.

It was also alleged there was no proper clinical assessment of the jaundice and breach of the standard of practice in failing to have objective measure of bilirubin levels in a baby who was clinically jaundiced.

Mr Justice Cross was told liability had been admitted.

Sadhbh was born on 23rd January 2011 at 36-weeks’ gestation in good condition weighing 3.2kg.

Des O’Neill SC, for the child, said she showed signs of jaundice and this should have triggered a simple test but it was not done.

On January 31st 2011 she was referred as an emergency to the Galway hospital’s emergency department where a test showed high levels of bilirubin.

Sadhbh now needs 24 hour care, counsel added.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said this was an awful thing to have happened to Sadhbh in the first few days of her life.

This was a good settlement and he hoped it will take care of the child’s physical needs for the next five years, the judge added. The case will return to court in 2022 to decide future care needs.

Outside court, Niamh and Shane Farrell said Sadhbh was the adored baby of the family and “a beautiful, bright and very determined little girl whose smile lights up our world”.

“Her birth on the 23rd of January 2011 was one of the happiest days of our lives.”

“The failings in Sadhbh’s medical care in the days following her birth will restrict her ability to live out every aspect of her life to fulfil her dreams and also the dreams we had for Sadhbh, as every parent has for their child when they are born.

“The interim settlement we have reached today will never remove our ongoing grief for the independent life lost to Sadhbh, but will now help our little girl get the care and support needed to have every opportunity to live as full a life as possible.”

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