Final payment of €10m approved for Straide girl with cerebral palsy

A Straide girl with cerebral palsy has secured a €10 million lump sum payment under a final settlement of her action against the HSE over the circumstances of her birth at Mayo General Hospital.

The payment increases to €12.2m the total amount paid to Rachel Gallagher, now aged 11, of Straide, Foxford, Co Mayo.

Through her mother, the child sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth at Mayo General Hospital on September 28, 2006.

Denis McCullough SC, for the family, said her parents were of a strong mind they wanted to finish the legal process with a lump sum payment because they, and Rachel, found the process of undergoing medical examinations and assessments before a number of court appearances very difficult.

Approving the settlement, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said this would have been Rachel’s third time in court.

Before coming to court, she had to each time go through “a battery of tests and assessments”, creating a lot of stress for herself and her family, he said.

He had a great deal of sympathy for the Gallaghers and had seen other families who also did not want another interim payment and sought a final lump sum payment.

Mr McCullough said Rachel needs one-to-one care because she is at risk of falling but is in fifth class at school and it is hoped she will go on to secondary school and university. Her father had reduced his involvement in his business to help with her care.

Counsel said €10 million was reasonable and her parents are satisfied it is a fair and reasonable figure.

Rachel’s mother Ciara Hynes told the court that, in an ideal world, they would maximise the damages for their daughter but it is not an ideal world and they were satisfied with the settlement.

The judge said the settlement was a good one and will provide for Rachel for her life and he would approve it.

Rachel has made the best of the situation and is a great example of the heroism of those suffering with this condition, he said.

When Rachael put up her hand to be allowed speak, and said: “Thank you, your honour,” the judge remarked very few judges are thanked and he was very grateful to Rachel.

Ms Hynes was admitted to Mayo General Hospital on September 27, 2006. The next morning, staff started to induce the birth and the labour accelerant syntocinon was commenced after midday. Rachel was born at 6.22pm.

It was claimed there was failure to properly manage and monitor the labour, delivery and birth of the baby and failure between 2.44pm and 3.30pm to recognise, heed, or act upon a highly suspicious pattern evidenced on the CTG trace including deceleration.

There was also alleged failure to take any, or any sufficiently proper or timely action, to obtain specialist advice as to the condition of the baby and steps to be taken in the circumstances.

The court heard negligence was admitted in the case.

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