6.7m interim settlement agreed in baby brain damage case, RTE News reports
Temple Street Children's Hospital has apologised in the High Court to a boy who was brain damaged as a baby because of a failure to diagnose an infection. … Continue
Temple Street Children's Hospital has apologised in the High Court to a boy who was brain damaged as a baby because of a failure to diagnose an infection.
The court approved an interim settlement of €6.7m in the case of Benjamin Gillick whose lawyers said his brain injury should never have happened.
The hospital admitted liability and the case had come before the High Court for assessment of damages. However, this afternoon the court was told the case had been settled for an interim figure.
Lawyers for the hospital read an apology in court which said Temple Street Hospital would like "to express sincere apologies for the failings that caused the injuries to Benjamin and for the consequential trauma experienced".
He was born prematurely in April 2010 and was one of twins. He was born at home while his twin brother was delivered in hospital.
Benjamin had a number complications associated with prematurity at birth but went on to develop normally and reached all his milestones. He had one residual condition of fluid on the brain.
At the age of 11 months he underwent a procedure at Temple Street Children's Hospital to drain the fluid on the brain. He had a shunt inserted but later developed an infection after he was discharged from hospital.
Despite admission to Temple Street , the infection was not diagnosed and doctors there instead suggested he had gastroenteritis. He got progressively worse and it was three days before his condition was diagnosed.
But by then he had suffered a seizure and a stroke and was left permanently brain damaged.
The court was told that when a baby has a shunt inserted and later becomes ill, one of the first things a neurologist should check is the possibility of a shunt infection which is a well known complication of the procedure.
Despite some medical staff suggesting this, the neurosurgeon declined to check for it, the court was told.
The hospital has admitted liability and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.
Lawyers for the boy said he has cerebral palsy and has a number of disabilities and must use a wheelchair.
He is dependent on others for all activities and will need constant care for the rest of his life. He also has behavioural issues and cannot speak but has mastered some elements of sign language.
His parents Miriam and Andrew have since returned to live in London.
His mother is a former investment banker and hopes to return to work but has been unable to do so because she is the full time carer for her son.
Miriam Gillick told the High Court the family currently live in a flat in Putney which has no lift. She described the difficulties they experience with their accommodation due to the number of physical aids her son requires.
The couple also have a third child who was born last year.
She said Benjamin's twin brother was doing very well and up to April 2011 they were both the same, normal children, whereas now Ben needs help with every aspect of life, even play.
"He needs help with everything, even just playing. He needs help just being a child." she said.
The court was told that unlike Ireland any award of damages will be subject to 20% tax in the UK even if awarded in this jurisdiction.
Today's settlement will go towards the cost of new accommodation for the family and for the cost of equipment, therapy and care for the rest of his life.
The case will return to court in three years’ time.