The Irish Times – November 25, 2015

A girl who has cerebral palsy as a result of injuries caused at her birth at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise has settled her High Court action with a final payment of €9m.

The payment increases to a total €11.6m the settlement amount for 14-year-old RóisínConroy who previously received an apology from the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the constultant obstetrician who treated her, plus an interim payment of €2.6m.

Róisín is permanently disabled with dyskinetic cerebral palsy, can only communicate with her eyes and needs a wheelchair to get around.

Through her mother Mary Conroy, Dysart, Portlaoise, the child had sued the HSE and a consultant obstetrician, John P. Corristine, attached to Portlaoise General Hospital, now the Midland Regional Hospital, as a result of injuries sustained at the time of her birth on November 14th 2001.

In court yesterday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross described the final settlement as a very good one that will look after Róisín’s needs for the rest of her life.

Outside court, Kevin Conroy, father of Róisín, said while it was a very large settlement, that only reflected the catastrophic injuries suffered by his daughter and the complex needs she must endure for her entire life.

“Thankfully Róisín’s care is now secure for life and for that we are very grateful,” he said. “Obviously, like all other parents, this is the last place in the world you would want to be but we are and we must move on.”

In 2013, counsel for the HSE and Dr Corristine read an apology to the court which expressed their “sincere apologies for the failings that caused injuries to Róisín Conroy and the consequential trauma experienced by Róisín and her family”.

The statement said the defendants undertsood neither the apology nor the financial compensation “can negate the continuing heartache that the Conroy family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for them”.

Róisín’s mother, the court heard, was a private patient of Mr Corristine.

On November 10th 2001, Mrs Conroy went to the hospital when she thought her membrances had ruptured. She was reassured and discharged home. Three days later, she attended Mr Corristine’s clinic and, following an ultrasound, she insisted she be admitted to hospital.
Denis McCullough SC, for the family, said a CTG trace was commenced after Mr Corristine examined Mrs Conroy but there was no recording of contractions.

After another examination, Mrs Conroy was advised to take a bath but there was no hot water in the hospital, counsel said.

At 12.30pm, it was claimed Mr Corristine ordered that medicine be administered. It was alleged Mrs Conroy did not see the consultant again at the labour or the birth of her daughter.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told Mr Corristine would say he had given over care of the patient to another consutlant and Mrs Conroy would argue this was done without her knowledge.

When Róisín was born she was in poor condition, later had seizures and was transferred to a Dublin hospital.

The court was told both parents had to give up their jobs to care for their daughter.

In a press statement the Dublin Midlands Regional Hospital Group chief executive Susan O’Reilly acknowledged “significant failings” in the care but said lessons “have been learned” and changes had been undertaken at the hospital. She was confident Portlaoise today provides a “safe level of service” to patients.