herald

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Family slate HSE as boy gets €8.5m for injuries

RELIEF: Dylan Gaffney Hayes (centre) with parents Jean Gaffney and Thomas Hayes and older sister Shauna
RELIEF: Dylan Gaffney Hayes (centre) with parents Jean Gaffney and Thomas Hayes and older sister Shauna

THE family of a six-year-old boy who have reached a €8.5m settlement for injuries he received at his birth have spoken of their relief that their ordeal is over, but criticised authorities for their "appalling" handing of the matter.

The parents of Dylan Gaffney Hayes from Co Waterford, who was left with cerebral palsy after complications arose during his birth, said that the lengthy legal battle to secure yesterday's result had caused them "considerable distress".

APOLOGY

Speaking after the settlement Jean Gaffney and Thomas Hayes accused the HSE and the State Claims Agency (SCA) of "failing to deal candidly and fairly with Dylan" and added: "They have not had the decency to apologise to us."

Dylan's parents claimed that had medical staff not "dismissed out of hand" their pre-birth request for their son to be born by Caesarean section, arising from his mother having had a previous difficult birth and a miscarriage and had the labour been appropriately managed, his injuries would have been avoided.

Jean Gaffney was told it would be "a feather in her cap" if Dylan was born via normal delivery, the High Court heard.

In Dylan's case, his parents claimed they sought on July 20, 2007, two days before before Dylan's birth in Waterford Regional Hospital, to have the birth effected via Caesarean section.

This was because their first child, Shauna, was born by emergency section for foetal distress after 51 hours labour while a second pregnancy ended in miscarriage after 12 weeks gestation.

An ultrasound scan had indicated Dylan weighed some nine pounds four ounces, considerably bigger than Shauna, Ms Gaffney said.

SETTLEMENT

While the obstetrician involved had told them there would be "no cover-up", "games" were played over years by the HSE and State Claims Agency, Dylan's parents said.

The judge said she rarely made remarks about how a defendant conducted their defence of a case but this was the second case before her this week where the HSE delayed in admitting liability, causing additional stress and fear for the children and families involved.

Earlier this week, the judge approved a €2.6m interim payment for another child with cerebral palsy whose parents also criticised the HSE over delays in admitting liability.

hnews@herald.ie

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