A settlement of €8.4 million has been approved by the High Court for an 18-year-old woman who suffered catastrophic consequences as a result of the circumstances surrounding her birth.

Ciara Ormond has cerebral palsy and will need care for the rest of her life.

She sued the Health Service Executive, which is responsible for the running of Waterford Regional Hospital, where she was born in November 2000.

Approving the settlement, Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon said it was an extremely tragic case.

The settlement was made without an admission of liability for Ciara's injuries. The HSE admitted liability only for a delay of 11 to 12 minutes before she was finally delivered.

The court was told Ciara is a friendly and sociable young girl with a good sense of humour who loves fashion, shopping, music, horse riding, swimming and going to the cinema.

Her mother Jean went into labour when she was 33 weeks' pregnant on the night of 4 November 2000.

Lawyers for the family told the court it was their case that a trace monitoring the foetal heart rate was removed at 12.10pm the following day and was not recommenced for an hour-and-a-half.

They claim the baby was deprived of oxygen during that time.

When she was born just after 2.30pm, the court heard Ciara was in a very poor condition.

Senior Counsel Bruce Antionotti, for the family, told the court that experts on behalf of the defendants claimed the hospital had done nothing wrong and had acted reasonably when the trace was recommenced and it was clear the baby was in distress.

The hospital admitted only that there was a delay of around 11 to 12 minutes before Ciara was finally delivered.

Mr Antionotti told the court Ciara was in a wheelchair and would need lifelong care. 

She understood everything going on around her, but had a limited ability to communicate. She loved going to school and interacting with other people.

He said a settlement figure of €8.4m had been agreed between the sides, up from an initial offer by the defendants of €3.5m.

He said going ahead with the case would have been risky as the defendants claimed there had been a delay in pursuing it and the midwife who had delivered Ciara was ill and unable to give evidence.

Ms Justice O'Hanlon said the issues in the case were difficult and complex. She said Ciara had suffered dreadfully and the consequences for her had been catastrophic.

She said the court took great comfort from the fact that she had been very well cared for to date. And she said the settlement was a very fair and just arrangement.

Outside court, solicitor Joice Carthy, of Augustus Cullen law, read a statement on behalf of Ciara's mother, Jean.

She said her daughter was an amazing young woman who was loved greatly and it was heart-breaking to think about what her life could have been like, but the settlement gave them comfort to know she would receive everything she needed to make her life more comfortable.

She said there were no winners and the settlement had been a long time coming and they wanted to move on and give Ciara the best life she deserved.