A teenager suffering from cerebral palsy because of a delay in her delivery has been awarded a final, €5.56 million settlement of compensation.
Mary Malee was born on the 11th October 1999 at the Mayo General Hospital. However, as she had been suffering from foetal distress syndrome, she was delivered by an emergency Caesarean section. As no consultant was initially available, the emergency operation was delayed by eighty minutes – during which time Mary was deprived of oxygen in utero, causing brain damage. The teenager now lives with cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound.
On behalf of her daughter, Maura Malee – from County Mayo – made a claim for birth injuries compensation against Mayo General Hospital. In the claim, Maura alleges that her daughter’s injuries are a direct result of the hospital’s negligence and inability to have a consultant available upon the diagnosis of an elevated foetal heart rate. This had meant that they could not deliver Mary quickly enough to prevent her injuries.
Two years ago, an interim settlement of compensation worth €1.5 million was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. The case was then adjourned for two years such that a payment scheme could be established. However, no scheme was ever introduced and the family returned to the High Court last week such that a final settlement of €5.56 million could be awarded.
The hearing was presided over by Mr Justice Peter Kelly. An apology was read out by a representative of the hospital, which apologised to Mary for the “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. Judge Kelly then approved the compensation settlement, noting that Mary was “heroic” in the way she overcame the challenges in her life.
Once the settlement had been approved, Mary commented to a press reporter that “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.