October 10, 2013

gavel1AN 11-year old Co Donegal girl with cerebral palsy has won a €1.25m interim payment to cover her care for the next three years as part of a settlement of her High Court action over alleged negligence during her birth.

Ardara girl Jessica McHugh, the court heard, is spastic quadriplegic and has to use a wheelchair.

Mum Louise, from Belcoo, Ardara sued the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, Dublin, on her daughter’s behalf for alleged negligence and breach of duty arising from personal injuries she suffered at the time of her birth on July 20,2002.

The claims were denied.

Ms McHugh was admitted to the labour ward of the hospital at around 9pm on July 19, 2002.

It was claimed there was a failure to properly or at all interpret a CTG trace and, at one stage, the CTG was stopped for 45 minutes and Ms McHugh told to go for a walk.

It was further claimed there was later a failure to to make a decision on the basis of an abnormal CTG to deliver by caesarean section and a failure to have the baby delivered at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jessica had to be resuscitated on birth and later had further seizures.

The hospital said the CTG trace was interpreted in a reasonable manner and a decision to stop CTG monitoring to allow the mother to mobilise was also reasonable.

Eoin McCullough SC, for Callan Tansey solicitors, told the court that Jessica is a full time wheelchair user and can understand a great deal of what is said to her.

Approving the periodic payments, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the type of settlement was a cast iron way of dealing with Jessica’s care .

She said in three years time the court will again look at Jessica’s care and hopefully the legislation allowing for periodic payments will be in place by then.