€1.4m awarded to girl injured at birth

Friday 26 April 2013 15.32
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Alex Butler sued the HSE and two consultants
Alex Butler sued the HSE and two consultants
Waterford Regional Hospital apologised for the injuries
Waterford Regional Hospital apologised for the injuries

The High Court has approved an initial award of €1.4m for an eight-year-old girl seriously injured at birth.

Through her mother, Alex Butler sued the Health Service Executive and two consultants claiming negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract.

Alex is tetraplegic with cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan approved the award and the family will return to court in two years for a decision on care packages for the future.

In a statement read to the court, the Health Service Executive said Waterford Regional Hospital wished to say sorry to Alex for the injuries she received at her birth, which the hospital accepts should not have happened to her.

The hospital sincerely regrets the tragic consequences their failings have caused to both Alex and her parents, the court heard.

Alex was born in the hospital on 12 April 2005.

The High Court heard that if she had been born ten or 12 minutes earlier she would not be physically disabled.

Alex, through her mother Sonya Butler, had sued consultant obstetrician at Waterford Regional Hospital, John Bermingham; then locum consultant obstetrician at Waterford Regional Hospital, Mahmud Khbuli and the HSE as a result of the management of her birth on 12 April, 2005.

Liability was admitted by the HSE on behalf of its servants and agents with the settlement against the HSE only and the case struck out against Mr Bermingham and Mr Khbuli.

It was claimed the HSE failed to have any or any proper number of properly trained competent medical staff to deal with the baby's delivery and failed to ensure there was an adequate and proper competent obstetrician available to effect a delivery.

It was further claimed that the HSE failed to ensure Mr Khbuli was a competent obstetrician and permitted consultant obstetrician Mr Birmingham to be absent without ensuring there was competent cover in place.

It was further claimed that the pre-operative assessment of Mrs Butler was substandard and there was a failure to recognise the necessity for a caesarean section.

The case will come before the court again in two years time when Alex's future care needs will be assessed.