Limerick girl, 13, settles birth case with €2.1m payout

A 13-year old disabled girl who sued over the circumstances of her premature birth at a Limerick maternity hospital has settled her High Court action against the HSE with an initial payout of €2.1million, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

Katie McGuane's counsel Dr John O'Mahony SC said Katie and her twin brother were born prematurely in November 2003, but Katie's twin died six days later.

Dr O'Mahony said his side contended there were two omissions in the care of Katie's mum. A urine specimen was not examined, he said and if it had been, counsel said it would have shown an infection which could have been treated. The second omission counsel said was that full dilation was not diagnosed and steroids were not given which would have been beneficial to the babies.

Katie he said is partially deaf, has epilepsy as well as physical and mental impairment.

Katie McGuane of Ballysimon Crescent, Fairgreen, Limerick city had through her mother Niamh McGuane sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth at St Munchins Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick on November 26, 2003.

It was claimed Katie was prematurely born by way of Caesarean section at twenty-six weeks and four days.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to note Katie's mum was suffering from a urinary tract infection and an alleged failure to heed the risk of the mother entering premature labour because of the presence of nitrates in the urine and the fact that she was pregnant with twins.

There was it was claimed an alleged failure to cause a mid stream urine test taken on November 10, 2003, to be properly reported on.

Ms McGuane. it was alleged was exposed to a risk of premature delivery by reason of the failure to treat the urinary tract infection.

There was it is claimed also an alleged failure to properly diagnose the mother's condition by way of premature labour when she attended the hospital on November 26, 2003.

It was further claimed Katie was allegedly deprived of the chance or opportunity of having treatment which would have assisted her in the birthing process and was allegedly unnecessarily exposed to a risk of developing significant physical and mental impairment by reason of her unnecessarily premature delivery.

Katie, it was claimed, suffered significant physical and mental impairments and she remained in hospital until March 2, 2004.

The claims were denied.

Ms MCGuane told Mr Justice Kevin Cross her daughter attends a school for the deaf and t was the best thing that had happened her. and she loves it.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross extended his sympathy on the loss of Karie's twin and he hoped that the settlement will be of benefit to Katie. He wished the young girl well for the future and said he was delighted to see from the reports before him she had made great progress. When the case comes back before the courts in five years time, Katie's future care needs will be assessed.

Outside court the solicitor for the McGuanes, Sean O'Riordain said the family were relieved it was all over and Ms MCGuane wanted to thank her extended family for the way they have helped care for Katie over the years.


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