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€9m settlement for 25-year-old man brain damaged at birth

The High Court has approved a settlement of €9 million in the case of a now 25-year-old man who was brain damaged from a lack of oxygen at birth.

The man, who cannot be identified by order of the court, was diagnosed with epilepsy and later with cerebral palsy and needs constant care which up to now has been provided by his mother without any other supports.

The woman has four other children.

In an action for damages the court was told the woman was over her due date and was admitted to the Rotunda Hospital in October 1998 to be induced.

She was not seen by a doctor until 8.30pm and there were large decelerations in the baby’s heart rate. The baby was delivered by ventouse suction at 10.30pm.

It was claimed that the standard of care provided was inadequate and there was failure to deliver the baby earlier by Caesarean section in circumstances where she had a high temperature and the baby’s heart rate was decreasing.

Liability was admitted in the case, Senior Counsel Johnathan Kilfeather told the court, adding that the plaintiff’s mother had given up everything to care for her son.

He said the family’s main concern at the moment was accommodation as they were living in “totally unsuitable” local authority housing.

The settlement sum will help to pay for a suitable home for the man, along with his future care needs, treatment and equipment.

The 25-year-old had through his mother sued the Rotunda Hospital, Parnell Square, Dublin over the circumstances of his birth in 1998.

The mother told the court her son cannot even tell the time and is not able to look after himself.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was fair and reasonable and he wished the man and his mother and family well for the future.

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