Cerebral palsy boy (12) gets €10.5m settlement from HSE after suing over birth

A 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who sued a hospital over alleged failures surrounding his birth has settled his legal action for €10.5m.

The High Court was told Samuel Forde has cerebral palsy which has affected every aspect of his life. He will have extensive requirements and will need lifetime care.

The settlement from the HSE was without admission of liability, Samuel’s counsel, Des O’Neill SC, told the court.

Outside court, solicitor David O’Malley said on behalf of the Fordes that the family wanted Samuel to have a life which is “as happy and as inclusive as possible”.

“Hopefully the financial settlement can bring him that stability. Mediation was a very effective mechanism to resolve this case,” he said.

Samuel, of Glenview Park, Grange, Co Sligo, had sued the HSE through his mother Deborah Forde.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the Forde family only brought court proceedings over the birth after Deborah and Samuel’s father Des sought legal advice in 2014 when his medical card was withdrawn.

Mr O’Neill added that it was the family’s case that a CTG trace of the baby’s movements on August 19, 2006, at Sligo General Hospital was not reassuring, but the HSE side claimed it was reassuring.

The family believed that an emergency caesarean section should have been done that day, the day before Samuel was finally delivered by caesarean section.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to promptly diagnose and act upon the baby’s condition.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to admit Deborah Forde to hospital on August 19, 2006, when her condition and that of the baby could be monitored and acted upon appropriately.

It was further alleged the pregnancy was allowed to go well past its due-by date and there was an alleged failure to deliver the baby at an appropriate stage. All the claims were denied.

Ms Forde attended for a check-up on August 15, 2006 and all was well but two days later she attended the hospital as she thought she might be in labour. A CTG was applied to monitor the baby’s heartbeat.

Two days later, she returned to the hospital and after checks, was told she could return home.

A midwife checked over the phone about the baby’s movement and when she reported less movement on August 20 she was told to return to hospital immediately.

A CTG and checks were carried out and Samuel was delivered. He had to be intubated following the birth.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said the Fordes had looked after their son “over and above” and added that he wished “the loving and protective family” the best for the future.

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