Interim Settlement of Claim Against Consultant Obstetrician approved in court

A High Court judge has approved a €2.75 million interim settlement of a twelve-year-old boy´s claim against a consultant obstetrician.

James McCarthy from Clonmel in County Tipperary was born by emergency Caesarean Section on 20 November 2001, when a scan revealed that his twin brother had died in the womb. James was delivered at thirty-three weeks with severe disabilities which were not identified as cerebral palsy until a year after his birth.

Through his parents – James Cooney and Linda McCarthy – James made an injury compensation claim against the consultant obstetrician who had been responsible for his mother´s care during the later stages of her pregnancy – Dr Raymond Howard of St Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel.

In their action against Dr Howard, it was claimed that Linda had been referred to St Joseph´s Hospital for ante natal care and – on 13 November 2001 – she had been seen by Dr Howard´s registrar. A scan was conducted and the registrar wanted to admit Linda as he had concerns over the health of her twin sons.

Dr Howard disagreed and Linda was asked to come back one week later. When she did so, a further scan showed that one of the twins had died, and James was delivered by Caesarean Section immediately. Due to the trauma that he suffered in the womb, James is unable to walk, talk or sit up unaided.

Although being under his care, the first time that Linda set eyes on Dr Howard was one day after James was born. It was alleged that neither Linda´s nor James´ conditions had been investigated, monitored, diagnosed or treated during the later stages of the pregnancy, and that James´ injuries could have been avoided with greater care.

Dr Howard admitted liability for James´ injuries and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that an interim settlement of compensation had been agreed in respect of the claim against the consultant obstetrician amounting to €2.75 million.

The judge approved the settlement and adjourned the claim against the consultant obstetrician for a further three years to allow for a report to be compiled for James´ future needs and for the possible introduction of a structured settlement system.

Maura Hurley Solicitors is a professional negligence solicitor.

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