High Court approves €4.6 million interim payment to boy over circumstances of his birth

The HSE has apologised and made a €4.6m interim payment to a boy who brought a High Court medical negligence claim over the circumstances of his birth at Cavan General Hospital.

Tadgh James McKenna, who has cerebral palsy and requires constant care, had sued the HSE for alleged negligence and breach of duty of care during his delivery on 31 August 2017.

The HSE had already conceded its liability concerning breach of duty but causation was still at issue. That aspect of the claim was due to be heard by the High Court later this year, however following out-of-court talks, the matter was resolved.

As part of the settlement, a statement was read before the High Court on Wednesday in which Cavan General Hospital and the HSE “unreservedly apologised for the failings in care that caused the injuries sustained by Tadgh at birth, and the consequential upset suffered” by the McKenna family.

It acknowledged that the HSE understood “that neither this apology, nor the financial compensation granted by the court could negate the continuing distress and upset” endured by the McKennas “on a daily basis”.

The court heard that the boy, of Sruth An Mhuillan, Emyvale, Co Monaghan — who had sued through his mother Emma Louise McKenna — suffers seizures, respiratory attacks, fevers and requires constant medical care and monitoring.

His counsel Jerry Healy SC, appearing with Jonathan Kilfeather SC said the family was happy to accept what was a good offer from the HSE.

As well as the apology the HSE agreed that an interim payment of €4.6m should be made to provide for Tadgh’s care.

The compromise of the proceedings was welcomed by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who after approving the award praised the McKenna family for the ongoing care they have given the boy.

The judge adjourned the matter to a date in June 2025. McKenna had also sought exemplary or aggravated damages over the alleged involvement of Dr Aamir Iqbal Malik, who had been the subject of a disciplinary investigation in the UK arising from the boy’s birth.

Dr Malik was suspended from the medical register in Ireland by the High Court in May, pending further order.

In a statement read outside the court by their legal representatives, Tadgh’s parents, Emma and Damian McKenna — who were not present — said they appreciated the fact the HSE had “finally admitted liability for the substandard care” provided to Tadgh and his mother.

However, they were disappointed that they had to wait almost three years and criticised the HSE for “breath-taking negligence”.

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