The High Court has approved a €15 million Birth Injury Compensation settlement for a boy, now aged 4, who was injured during his birth at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.
The hospital apologised to Eoin McCallig from Dunkineely in Co Donegal, and his parents for his injuries and for the devastating consequences for the family.
Following an apology issued by the hospital to the boy, Eoin McCallig his father, Anthony, said the family could forgive a mistake. However, they could not forgive the way HSE treated their family and others in similar cases.
Mr McCallig said that there must be a “better way” of handling cases involving catastrophically injured children than via litigation lasting years to a “bitter end” and last-minute settlement offers. He advised the High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the culture and procedures need to change.
He claimed that the HSE has spent approximately €800m in the course of the last ten years in fighting these cases. Mr McCallig stated that this money could be put to better use.
He said the settlement of €15m birth injury compensation settlement would never change what happened to Eoin, but it would provide some solace as they knew that Eoin would now be looked after if anything happened to his parents.
The Coombe Hospital, the court was told, stopped monitoring Eoin’s heart rate at 9.30am on the morning of his birth.
Eoin’s parents claimed that if he had been monitored after this, medical staff would have seen he was in distress before he was born at around 11.30am. The court heard he had been deprived of oxygen in the 20 minutes just before he was born.
It was claimed that if Eoin had been monitored and delivered early, he would not have suffered such injuries. The court was told Eoin was a very clever boy, but he cannot walk or talk and can communicate only with his eyes and expressions.
In a statement released through their solicitor, Michael Boylan, Eoin McCallig’s parent said the birth injury settlement was welcome but the family “would hand this €15 million settlement back in a heartbeat if Eoin could get back what was robbed from him in those two precious hours before his birth”.