€1.9m interim payment from HSE to family of girl with cerebral palsy who ‘went through hell’

An 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who sued over the circumstances of her birth has settled her claim for damages in the High Court.

Mily O’Connor Ahearne, who lives outside Dungarvan, Co Waterford, had sued the HSE through her mother on 2 June 2011 over the administration of her birth at Waterford Regional Hospital.

The no-guilt settlement includes an interim payment of €1.9 million to meet Emily’s needs for the next five years.

The claims were dismissed.

The settlement was approved by Mr Justice Paul Coffey on Thursday.

He said the settlement was excellent and he had authorized the immediate disbursement of funds for a new wheelchair for Emily, a specially adapted car and a new home for the family.

Mrs O’Connor Ahearne had visited the hospital on June 2, 2011 in early labour.

It was claimed that signs of fetal distress were unresponsive and the mother was allegedly allowed to go into labor once meconium appeared.

The findings of the CTG trace device, which monitors the baby’s heart, were allegedly not sufficiently taken into account.

Family lawyer Liam Reidy SC, who was acting with Michael Counihan SC, said liability was very contentious in the case.

He said it was her case that the CTG trace allegedly showed pathological signs that would require an immediate cesarean section.

The baby, the lawyer said, should have been delivered immediately.

However, the attorney said his side had to admit that prior to arriving at the hospital, a significant event occurred in the womb of which Emily’s mother was unaware.

However, the plaintiff claimed that Emily’s condition was made worse by the fact that labor continued.

Emily, he said, has a severe intellectual disability and is PEG-fed and unable to speak, but she “commandes everyone in her own non-verbal way.”

Ann O’Connor Ahearne told the judge how she had to fight the HSE for therapies and even wheelchairs for her brain-damaged daughter, who cannot speak, has cerebral palsy and has spastic quadriplegia.

“It’s a shambles, our daughter Emily was deeply disappointed,” she told the court.

“The HSE has been very lax. It would be unfair to Emily not to say it, and I appreciate you listening.”

The court heard that Mrs O’Connor Ahearne and her husband Liam Ahearne look after their daughter every day.

“She’s been through every rift imaginable with the HSE fighting for wheelchairs, physical therapy and other therapies.”

Ms O’Connor Ahearne said her daughter is the “queen of the house”, very social and loves to be out and about, but she said “the world wasn’t made for people like Emily.”

The judge, who called Ms O’Connor Ahearne an extraordinary person, said she and her husband “went through hell”.

The judge said he hopes the resolution of the court case will bring the couple “serenity that you have achieved all you could in the court case”.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/19m-interim-settlement-from-hse-for-family-of-girl-with-cerebral-palsy-who-have-gone-through-hell-42046278.html €1.9m interim payment from HSE to family of girl with cerebral palsy who ‘went through hell’

Fry Electronics Team

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