Recently a High Court birth injury settlement of €23.5m was approved for a 16-year-old female who sustained catastrophic brain injuries when she was being delivered at St Finbarr’s Hospital Cork in 2004.
Through her father, Kameela Kuye from Kilmoney, Carrigaline, Co Cork, sued the Health Service Executive (HSE) due to the injuries she sustained at the time of her birth on December 22, 2004 at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork.
The High Court was told Kameela was ‘next to death’ by the time she was born despite being in good condition when labour began. Counsel for the plaintiff alleged that this was due to inadequate monitoring on the infant’s foetal heart beat during her delivery. This, they claimed, resulted in significant life-changing injuries that she sustained.
The legal action also claimed that the infant did not have sufficient oxygen during parts of her delivery and this, they said, led to her sustaining a significant brain injury. She occured, it was alleged as the infant’s state of distress was not spotted in time. They informed the judge that it was their belief that this condition should have been recognised, resulting in a much quicker delivery and no deprivation of oxygen.
In court three Judge was advised that the method of monitoring the child’s heartbeat was continuous electronic monitoring at 15-minute intervals during early labour and this was then increased to every five minutes during the latter part of labour. When Kameela was finally delivered it was discovered that her umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck.
Counsel for the defence informed the Judge that there had been nothing to suggest that the child was experiencing any issues. At the time of delivery Kameela’s 28-year-old mother was in good health. This was her third baby and she had experienced no complications during her previous deliveries.
The defendant, the Health Service Executive, through their legal counsel argued that there were no heart rate issues for the child until just eight minutes before she was delivered. At this time the potential heart rate slowing down was spotted and the obstetric registrar was made aware of this. They also claimed that spotting the condition earlier was unlikely to have led to a quicker delivery. To support this they produced documents that detailed how long it took for the obstetric registrar in question to arrive on the scene and the amount of possible interventions that would have required anaesthesia.
This data was used to support the claim of the defence legal team that the result of the delivery would have been the same, and the infant would have suffered significant brain injuries, irrespective of other details.
The Judge approved the birth injury compensation settlement with no admission of liability.
Kameela’s mother, Ganiyat, is currently participating in a Masters in Social Work programme while her father works in logistics. The court was told that family was satisfied with settlement. In a statement read to the High Court by the Kuye family’s legal team they said that the compensation award will ‘assist in her future care and give her a better quality of life’. They added that no amount of money can change Kameela’s life and the damages will not make up for the significant injuries that she suffered during her birth.