High Court begins assessment of damages for ‘catastrophic’ injury at birth

© The Irish Independent

The High Court has begun assessing damages and care costs which a hospital should pay for catastrophic injuries suffered by a boy minutes after his birth.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine has already found the Coombe Women’s Hosptal in Dublin is liable for the injuries sustained by Eoin Dunne of Malahide, Co Dublin in July 2002.

Had Eoin been effectively ventilated nine minutes after birth rather than at 17 minutes, he would probably not have suffered his devastating injuries, Ms Justice Irvine ruled last February.

The delay was unacceptable and the hospital was negligent in failing to ensure the child received the type of intubation and ventilation “mandated in the first ten minutes of his life”, the court heard.

Today the judge was told that Eoin, who has severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy, cannot walk or speak and is totally dependant on others for all his needs.

The judge has been asked to assess the amount of an interim payment to cover care costs for the next two years as well as damages. At the end of the two-year period the court will decide on future care costs.

The court heard today that retrospective care over the next two years as well as physiotherapy, aids and appliances,the cost of adapting the family home as well as other necessary items could run to over €2million.

In his action against the Coombe, it was claimed Eoin suffered his injuries due to delays by the hospital in resuscitating him in the minutes after his birth.

The case ran for 43 days extending over about a year. It was adjourned mid-hearing as a result of the boy becoming ill and the hospital raising questions about whether that illness might be relevant to the issue of causation of his injuries.

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