University Hospital Waterford has apologised to the parents of a six-year-old boy who was brain damaged four years ago after doctors misdiagnosed an infection from chicken pox which led to sepsis.

The High Court approved an interim settlement of €2.5 million in a case taken on behalf of Eoghan Keating from Upper Dunhill, Co Waterford.

His parents Martina and Larry acknowledged the apology but said the price their son had paid was far too high.

Ms Keating fought back tears in court as she described how her son was a fun loving toddler until just before his second birthday.

The court heard that in August 2012 he became ill and developed a rash and a lump in his neck and was taken to the emergency department of the then Waterford Regional Hospital.

He was wrongly diagnosed with mumps and was sent home.

His parents became increasingly concerned about his condition. They phoned the hospital twice and were again told he had mumps.

They were told to contact an on-call GP, who then sent him back to hospital as an urgent case. He continued to deteriorate and was transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital but by then he had lost consciousness.

Eoghan suffered severe brain damage due to the infection. He is now unable to walk, speak or see and is dependent on others for all his needs.

The court was told if he had been treated with antibiotics on his first visit to the hospital his brain injury would not have happened.

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In court lawyers for the hospital read a statement from the general manager who apologised for the "deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan on the 24th of August 2014".

The statement also acknowledged the "many challenges that you and your family have faced as a result of the treatment afforded to Eoghan. I do not under estimate how traumatic this has been for you and we are truly sorry for the distress this has caused to you and to Eoghan."

In court Ms Keating said her son had been "very sociable and loved nothing more than giving hugs to everyone when he was leaving a room or saying goodbye. It would have meant everything to us to see him grow into a young man."

She said they grieve every day for the life he had lost but "know we are blessed to still have him with us".

She added: "We cannot imagine going through what our little warrior has gone through over the last four years, the numerous hospital admissions, surgeries, treatments and painful interventions.

"Eoghan cannot play unaided or tell us what he wants, we try to look and listen for his little cues however these are very subtle. 

"There is not singing of nursery rhymes or dancing in the kitchen with his sister like there once was and Eoghan cannot reach out his arms to give hugs anymore."

Read Martina Keating's statement in full

Ms Keating said they would happily return the settlement if Eoghan could be "miraculously enabled to be pain free and carefree as he once was".

Outside the court, Mr Keating said they would like to ask those in authority to take responsibility for the lack of protocols and procedures that should be in place to protect children.

He also called on the Government to improve services for children with additional needs.