Parents who ‘fought tooth and nail’ for daughter (7) settle court action for €6m

A seven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who had sued over the circumstances of her birth at a Galway hospital has settled her High Court action for €6m.

Faye Walsh has spastic quadriplegia, is non verbal and can only communicate with her family by making noises and smiling. She is a full-time wheelchair user and will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

The settlement against the HSE is without an admission of liability. The case against two consultant obstetricians, Dr Una Conway and Dr Declan Egan, was struck out by the court.

Denis McCullough SC, for Faye, told the court it was their case that an obstetrician should have been notified earlier and the vacuum assisted delivery of Faye at University Hospital Galway on August 15, 2011 should have been done earlier.

Outside court, the Walsh’s solicitor Michael Boylan said it was the end of a two-week trial and a four-year battle for the family.

Faye’s parents had done a brilliant job “fighting tooth and nail” for their daughter and also taking care of her, he said.

Since she turned six years of age, he said there was a deficit of support for Faye and a shortage of resources.

“Mum and dad were absolutely heroic in filling that deficit, they are to be commended,” he said.

The settlement, he said, will make an enormous difference to Faye’s life.

“She will be able to get all the assisted technology she can use and the therapies and hydrotherapy.

“She loves water and can move freely in it,” he added.

Faye, through her mother Martina, of Letterfrack, Co Galway, sued the HSE and the two consultant obstetricians alleging negligence and breach of agreement in relation to her birth.

The defendants denied all claims. The case against Dr Conway and Dr Egan, who operate private medical practices at Brooklawn Practice, Brooklawn House, Galway West Business Park, and also practice as consultants in the Galway hospital, were stuck out.

It was claimed by the Walsh side that despite alleged requests from Ms Walsh and her husband, neither of the defendant obstetricians was called to the hospital when or after Ms Walsh went into labour at about 11pm on Sunday, August 14, 2011.

Another obstetrician was contacted and Faye was delivered at 4.55am, but was in a very poor condition and required immediate resuscitation.

Approving the settlement in court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Faye will now be able to have the care and therapies that money can provide.


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