The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Dublin has apologised to a six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy for the shortcomings in care and the devastating injuries he suffered at birth.
A letter of apology was read out in the High Court as the child’s mother settled his legal action against the hospital for €18m. Fionn has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, cannot speak and needs 24-hour care.
The court was told that Fionn should have been delivered three hours earlier and that the brain injury was sustained towards the end of the labour, had he been delivered in accordance with proper standards Fionn would not be have suffered brain damage. After the Court hearing Fionn’s father said that over the last six years they have known sadness, worry and grief on a daily basis, but their son is “much more than his diagnosis.” He went on to say that it was their hope now is that they can finally have the opportunity to enjoy just being parents to Fionn, as opposed to primarily being his carers. He went on to say that “No amount can account for what Fionn has lost or ever bring back the child that Fionn should have been, but this money will go towards giving him a future he can look forward to and thrive in.”
The NMH Holles Street, Dublin was named as a defendant in the case which centred around the circumstances of Fionn’s birth in April 2015. It was claimed there was a failure to properly manage the pregnancy and labour of Fionn’s mother and a failure to properly monitor the baby’s foetal heart rate. It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to recognise and or act on the symptoms or signs of foetal distress and a failure to consider a caesarean section in the circumstance of elevated maternal temperature and pathological CTG trace.
The NMH admitted a breach of duty regarding the allegations made in respect of labour and delivery. It said a foetal blood sample should have been considered between 20.55 hours and 21.10 hours and consideration should have been given at 21.10 or shortly thereafter to delivery by caesarean section.
Approving the settlement Mr Justice Paul Coffey paid tribute to the Feely family and said they were remarkable parents.