An eight year old boy has secured €3 million in settlement of his High Court case over the severe injuries he suffered at birth.
Yesterday the court heard that Sean Fitzpatrick, who has cerebral palsy, is unable to speak and will require a wheelchair as a result of the severe injuries he sustained following his birth at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar.
Sean (8 ), who sued through his mother Gillian Fitzpatrick, Nephin View, Foxford, Co Mayo, brought an action alleging medical negligence against the HSE and consultant obstetrician Dr Darragh Corcoran arising out of the circumstances of Sean's birth at 1.50am on March 29 2001.
The settlement was approved by the president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns. The case was due to commence before the High Court on Tuesday, however yesterday the court heard that the matter had been settled.
There was no admission of liability by the defendants.
It was claimed in the action on behalf of Sean, who has cerebral palsy, that the defendants were in breach of their duty and care by their failure to provide an adequate level of care, failure to act on certain abnormalities, that prior to birth had failed to assess Sean's wellbeing or ensure that delivery was expedited.
It was further alleged that Dr Corcoran had failed to deliver Sean when he arrived at the delivery suite, thereby causing Sean to suffer further hypoxic stress.
The defendants had denied any wrongdoing.
Denis McCullough SC for the family said that it was their case that Sean's mother was admitted to a delivery suit at 9pm on March 28. However she was not reviewed by any obstetrician until 1.10am the following morning.
Counsel said that Sean was delivered shortly before 2am but it was their case that he should have been delivered by 1.30am, which would have prevented him from suffering the injuries he did. After he was born Sean required resuscitation and was admitted to a special baby care unit.
Counsel told the court that Sean is “a very bright child”, who likes to be involved in everything his parents do at home. Counsel said that he will require a wheelchair for the rest of his life, cannot speak but can communicate, and is attending school.
Counsel said that Sean was “locked into a body that will not do what he wants it to do”. Counsel, describing the action as one of the most difficult cerebral palsy actions for alleged medical negligence he has ever dealt with, agreed with Mr Justice Kearns that there “significant medical conflict” in the case.
The case had been scheduled to last for five weeks. Due to the conflict of evidence counsel said that his clients had no more than a 50-50 chance of success.
Mr Justice Kearns said that in the circumstances he was happy to approve the settlement. The judge also praised Sean's parents for the level of care and support they had provided for him.