The family of a girl, Alex Butler, who suffered brain damage at her birth have had their obstretic negligence claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff resolved at the High Court in Dublin.
Alex (8) from Dunmore East, County Waterford, was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005; however, due to the hospital´s failure to have an appropriate amount of properly trained competent medical staff to deal with the Alex´s delivery, and to ensure that an adequate and properly competent obstetrician was available, Alex´s delivery was delayed by twelve minutes – during this she suffered brain damage which led to permanent tetraplegic injury.
Through her mother – Sonya Butler – Alex made a obstretic negligence claim for birth injuries, alleging that her consultant obstetrician had been given clearance to take leave at the same time as the hospital´s two other obstetricians and that the hospital had employed a locum obstetrician without ensuring that he was indeed competent. They went on to claim that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment was substandard and there was a failure to recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section.
The High Court was told that the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability for Alex´s injuries, and the claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff against the consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and locum obstetrician – Mahmud Khbuli – were dismissed by the judge. A representative from Waterford read out an apology for the mismanagement of Alex´s birth and accepted that the mistakes that were made should never have happened.
The Court also heard that an interim settlement of Alex´s claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff amounting to €1.4 million had been agreed upon between the HSE and Alex´s parents. The obstretic negligence claim for birth injuries settlement is to be reviewed again in two years when an assessment of Alex´s care needs for the future has been made, and by which time it is hoped that the option of a structured settlement is available.