Girl (9) secures €850,000 settlement in case alleging she sustained shoulder injury during birth

A nine-year-old girl who claimed she suffered a shoulder injury during her birth at the National Maternity Hospital has settled a High Court action for €850,000.

The girl’s senior counsel, Oonah McCrann, told the court it was their case that during delivery the baby was pulled out abruptly and too quickly and suffered an injury, called Erb’s Palsy, to her shoulder and arm.

She said the girl, who cannot be identified by order of the court, must wear a splint on her arm every night and will continue to have functional problems.

The settlement is without an admission of liability. The hospital acknowledged the baby suffered Erb’s Palsy but denied this was caused by any negligence or breach of duty on its part.

The girl, through her mother, sued the National Maternity Hospital, at Holles Street, Dublin, over the circumstances of her birth in 2014.

It was claimed there was a failure to summon help immediately following recognition of shoulder dystocia and that traction was applied prematurely.

It was further claimed there was a failure to follow guidelines for the management of shoulder dystocia.

The delivery was alleged to have been extremely traumatic and, in the weeks following the birth, the baby was brought to a clinic for review and it was noted there was little improvement in her right arm symptoms.

She was later noted to have suffered a significant right side brachial plexus palsy since birth with no initial motion of the shoulder or elbow and she had to have special treatment for it.

The National Maternity Hospital denied the Erb’s Palsy was caused by any alleged negligence.

It said appropriate and necessary measures were adopted in the circumstances and the care provided was of a reasonable standard and consistent with best practice clinical guidelines that were operative at the time.

Approving the settlement, Ms Justice Denise Brett praised the girl for her tremendous efforts after hearing she excels at sport and music.

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