The High Court has approved an interim settlement of a medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital after hearing the circumstances of a young girl´s birth.
At the Kerry General Hospital on 22nd April 2011, Skye Worthington was born. Her mother – Colleen – had been given syntocinon to speed up her labour and, although the drug had caused Colleen´s contractions to accelerate, they also caused Skye´s heartbeat to decelerate.
The deceleration of the foetal heartbeat was ignored by medical staff, and Skye was born with cerebral palsy due to a lack of oxygen in the womb. Skye – now three years of age – has to be fed through a tube, has difficulty sitting still, and can only communicate by using her eyes.
A review of the management of Skye´s birth found that if she had been delivered fifteen minutes earlier, her devastating injuries could have been avoided. Subsequently Colleen Worthington made a medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital on behalf of her daughter
The hospital acknowledged that errors had been made in the management of Skye´s birth, and an interim settlement of the medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital was agreed while an assessment is carried out to consider Skye´s future needs.
As Skye was unable to represent herself, the interim settlement of compensation had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, at the High Court, Judge Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of Skye´s birth and the devastating injuries she suffered as a result.
The court also heard an apology read to Skye´s parents stating that lessons had been learned from the review of Skye´s birth – in which her parents had participated – which had helped the hospital clarify a number of important issues.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross then approved the €2.32 interim settlement of the medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital, explaining to Skye´s parents that he was adjourning the case for three years.
He also explained that when they return to court after Skye´s assessment, they will have the option of receiving annual periodic payments – subject to legislation being passed – or taking a lump sum payment in final settlement of Skye´s medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital.