Judge Approves Second Cerebral Palsy Payment

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A judge has approved a second cerebral palsy compensation payment, and has adjourned the case for two more years in the hopes that a structured payment scheme will be introduced in Ireland.

In November 2004, Isabelle Sheehan (now eight years of age) was born in the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork. She was born by emergency Caesarean Section after a blood test on her mother-Catherine-revealed an alarming rise in the presence of certain antibodies in her blood.

Dr David Corr-Catherine’s consultant doctor failed to refer Catherine to an expert in foetal medicine. Had this measure been taken, it would have been recognised that Catherine’s antibodies were different to those of her husband, thus causing potential difficulties with the pregnancy.

When Isabelle was born, she was in a very poor condition. Upon medical inspection, it was revealed that she was diagnosed with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. On behalf of her daughter, Catherine made a claim for compensation for negligence against her consultant doctor.

The defendant admitted that he was liable for Isabelle’s injuries in October 2011, when the case was heard by Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill. The judge approved an interim cerebral palsy compensation payment of €1.9 million, and adjourned the case for two years in the hope that a structured compensation payments system would be in place to assure a life time of care for Isabelle.

Unfortunately, no legislation has yet been passed that would allow a structured system of compensation payments. The case was brought back in front of Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who heard that a further interim cerebral palsy compensation payment of €635,000 had been negotiated between the parties to provide the case that Isabelle needs for two more years.

The judge was told that Isabelle is a “bright and intelligent” child, and was managing well in her mainstream national school class and received home assistance. Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the interim cerebral palsy compensation payment, adjourned the case for a further two years and wished Isabelle a very good future.

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