herald

Sunday 18 August 2019

€8m payout for teen over how hospital managed her birth

Waterford Regional Hospital
Waterford Regional Hospital

An 18-year-old woman with cerebral palsy has settled a High Court action over the circumstances of her birth at Waterford Regional Hospital for €8.4m.

Ciara Ormond has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, needs 24-hour care and has to use a wheelchair.

The settlement was without a full admission of liability.

Ciara and her family were not in court, with counsel Bruce Antonioni telling Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon that the family had travelled to Italy for the wedding of Ciara's mother, Jean Ormond.

Abnormal

On their behalf, he said it was alleged that during labour, CTG monitoring of Ciara's foetal heartbeat was discontinued for one hour and 25 minutes and this was "completely unacceptable".

Counsel said it was the HSE's case that Jean went for a shower, and that is why the CTG trace was disconnected.

The mother would say she was not in the shower for one and a half hours.

Counsel said when the CTG trace was recommenced it was "immediately abnormal".

In a statement read outside court, the Ormond family said the settlement figure is "not some kind of windfall" but is to secure Ciara's future and will finally provide her with the specialist care and therapy she needs.

They said it had been a long time coming, and they just wanted to move on and give Ciara the life she deserves.

Ciara Ormond (centre) with her mother Jean (right) and
brother Cillian (left)
Ciara Ormond (centre) with her mother Jean (right) and brother Cillian (left)

In the statement, read by their solicitor Joice Carthy, the Ormond family added: "No amount of money will give Ciara back what she has lost out on, and will continue to lose out on in the future.

"Ciara will need round-the-clock care and numerous therapies, such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and many others."

Describing Ciara as "an amazing young woman who is loved greatly", the Ormonds said they are extremely proud of Ciara and she is "almost always upbeat and cheerful despite her difficulties and everything that she has to go through every day".

Ciara, of Ursuline Crescent, Waterford city, sued the HSE, through her mother Jean, over the circumstances of her birth on November 5, 2000.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to properly manage and monitor the labour, delivery and birth.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure continued and careful monitoring of the condition of the baby and her mother during labour, including careful monitoring and recording of foetal heart rate.

The claims were denied and the HSE claimed there had been a delay in bringing the case.

When Ciara was born, she "was like a doll" and required vigorous resuscitation.

Today, she suffers from spasms and can only hold her head up for a few minutes.

Approving the settlement, Ms Justice O'Hanlon said this was a tragedy which occurred at a birth and the consequences for Ciara was nothing short of catastrophic.

The settlement, she said, was achieved by agreement and she said it was "a fair and just arrangement in the circumstances".

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