Thursday 18 January 2018

Paralysed boy gets €3.7m payout and HSE apology


Matthew McGrath (12) from Kilmurry, Gorey, Co Wexford with his parents Alan and Cathy, and his sister Nicola.
Matthew McGrath (12) from Kilmurry, Gorey, Co Wexford with his parents Alan and Cathy, and his sister Nicola.
Matthew McGrath from Kilmurry, Gorey, Co Wexford.

A 12-YEAR-old boy left paralysed after hospital treatment for meningitis as a baby has settled his action against the HSE with an interim payout of €3.7m.

Matthew McGrath cannot move his arms or legs and can only breathe through a ventilator, the High Court heard.

To describe his injuries as catastrophic is an understatement, his counsel told the court.

Matthew, from Acacia, Kilmurray, Gorey, Co Wexford, through his mother Catherine McGrath, sued the HSE as a result of his treatment at Wexford General Hospital when he was a baby.

It was claimed there was a delay in treating him for the infection and in particular with antibiotics. It was further claimed that a lumbar puncture performed on the then 17-month-old had led to him suffering an injury.


Had he been treated with antibiotics and fluids when his condition deteriorated, he would have been spared the devastating injuries he suffered, it was claimed.

The settlement, with an interim payment of €3.73m for the next five years, included an admission of liability and an apology which Matthew's solicitor Roger Murray read outside the court.

It stated that the HSE said Wexford General Hospital wished to offer its sincere apology to Matthew and his parents, Alan and Catherine McGrath, in relation to events following his admission to the hospital on May 27, 2004.

"The hospital extends unreservedly its unequivocal and heartfelt apology for the shortcomings in the care provided and the suffering and dis- tress that this has caused."

Speaking afterwards, Mrs McGrath described the apology as heartfelt and said "there is a certain unexpected peace in the admission of liability".

"Life is still the same for us. We won't have to take on the system as well as dealing with the daily challenges of caring for Matthew," she said.

Desmond O'Neill SC, for Matthew, said he "is a bright intelligent, cheerful boy who goes to school and follows rugby".

As a baby, he said Matthew had to spend two years in hospital, but as a result of a campaign by his parents he was allowed to be cared for at home, a task which his parents had willingly and lovingly taken on.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very good settlement.

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