Augustus Cullen Law Succeed In Securing An Interim Settlement Of €1.3million In Cerebral Palsy Action

Caoimhe Flood –v– Rotunda Hospital

On the 19th of February 2013 Augustus Cullen Law succeeded in settling, on an Interim Award basis, a claim on behalf of a six year old girl who suffered from acute near-total asphyxia during labour as a result of placental abruption.  The Plaintiff alleged substandard care on behalf of the Midwifery and Obstetric Staff at the Defendant Hospital in failing to recognise the symptoms of an impending placental abruption when the Plaintiff’s mother attended Hospital on numerous earlier occasions.  The Plaintiff’s mother had presented to hospital several times prior to the Plaintiff’s birth, with episodes of bleeding, abdominal cramps and other symptoms and it was alleged that although the Defendant Hospital outruled any other causes for these symptoms, it failed to recognise that the Plaintiff’s mother was at serious risk of placental abruption.  Despite her various admissions and symptoms, the pregnancy was allowed to continue for six days past full term, at which point on the 4th of April 2006 the Plaintiff’s mother attended  at the Hospital in labour and suffered a placental abruption.  As a result of this the Plaintiff suffered a severe hypoxic-ischemic insult, resulting in dystonic/spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, visual impairment, epilepsy and the need to be tube fed by jejunostomy tube.

Caoimhe was born in poor condition and has suffered the above injuries and very significant cognitive impairment.  She requires enormous assistance with all activities of daily living and she will never lead an independent life.  Furthermore she has been hospitalised with illnesses extemely frequently.  Caoimhe’s parents have provided her with exceptional care since her birth.

A full Defence was filed in the case and liability was very much at issue and the Defendant denied liability for causing the Plaintiff’s injury.  There was a significant factual dispute between the Plaintiff and the Defendant in relation to what had occurred on her mother’s various Hospital attendances.  The case was specially fixed for trial commencing on the 19th of February 2013 and ultimately settled on that date on the basis of a two year interim payment of €1.3million for the Plaintiff’s care during that period.  This payment was discounted to allow for the liability dispute between the parties but only for the initial two year interim period.  When the matter comes before the Court again the Plaintiff will be in a position to claim 100% of the cost of her future care and future care requirements.  Therefore the total figure recovered represented a compromised settlement due to the liability issues.

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