A 13-year-old Waterford boy has been awarded £3.25 million in the High Court, the largest personal injury award ever made. Through his mother, Alice, Seoirse Lawton from Tramore sued the maternity hospital and the consultant for damages arising from complications at birth. Seoirse Lawton is profoundly physically handicapped and suffers from cerebral palsy. He sued the Medical Missionaries of Mary who ran the now closed Airmount Maternity Hospital in Waterford, and Dr John Gallagher from the city. The defendants denied the claim; there was no admission of liability.
Denis McCullagh, Senior Counsel for the plaintiff, said that Seoirse's father, John, gave up his job as a Garda so he and his wife could provide round the clock care. Seoirse now attends the Marino Clinic in Bray. Mr McCullagh stressed there was no profit in the award for the Lawton's. Only £250,000 of it was for the plaintiff while the remaining £3 million is to provide the intensive care Seoirse will need for the rest of his life.
Mr Justice O'Donovan described the case as tragic and said that if Seoirse has had any luck in life it is to have the parents he has. He approved the settlement and awarded the Lawton's their costs of the action. Speaking afterwards, Alice Lawton said that the money could never repay the family for what Seoirse had lost. She said he would give all the money back for just one day of normality.