Sunday 19 January 2020

Boy (13) awarded €7.25m after High Court case over birth issues settled

Lisa Marie Murphy, mother of Finn Phillips, speaks outside court
Lisa Marie Murphy, mother of Finn Phillips, speaks outside court

A 13-year-old boy who sued over the circumstances of his birth at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) Dublin has settled his High Court case for €7.25m.

The settlement for Finn Phillips, who is on the autism spectrum, is without an admission of liability.

Jeremy Maher SC, for the boy, told the court the action was a test case. It was their contention he is on the autism spectrum as a result of issues which arose during his birth at the hospital.

The claims were denied.


Mr Maher said the essence of their case was the protracted labour and difficult birth were the alleged cause of Finn's autism.

Counsel said it was a test case and this issue had never been determined by a court in Ireland, the UK "or anywhere".

Finn, he said, was born limp and unresponsive.

Mediation talks had taken place last Monday and a settlement was reached to bring before the court, he said.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he was glad to hear it had been reached through mediation. He wished Finn and his family all the best for the future.

Finn, of Village Road, Lusk, Co Dublin, through his mother, Lisa Marie Murphy, sued the NMH over the circumstances of his birth on July 30, 2005.

Finn was delivered by ventouse delivery and it is claimed he was unnecessarily exposed to both asphyxia and trauma from the vacuum extraction.

Therefore, he was allegedly unnecessarily exposed to potential long-term consequences.

The injuries suffered, it was claimed, included developmental delay and autism.

There was an alleged failure to manage Finn's mother's labour appropriately and an alleged failure to intervene in time. It was further claimed an excessive number of pulls had been applied to deliver Finn and the baby had been allegedly subjected to excessive tractions.

Outside court, Finn's mother Ms Murphy said her son "is a wonderful boy".

"He would have been a fantastic man if everything had gone according to plan. Now we can make strides to help him be the best man he can be," she added.

"The settlement means as parents we don't have to worry, Finn's care is there."

Their solicitor Cian O'Carroll said the settled case did not stand as a precedent which would affect other cases and each case would be looked at according to its circumstances.

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