A 13-year-old boy who the High Court heard was in “a fairly violent” road collision in Co Cork five years ago has settled his court action for €4 million.
A part of Darragh O’Regan’s case was against the HSE after he claimed that his pre-existing brain cyst was allegedly perforated and this was allegedly missed when he went to Cork University Hospital emergency department six days after the crash.
The young boy, who lives in the Cayman Islands, had been on holiday in Co Cork where his grandparents live when a hire car driven by his father collided with another car pulling a caravan which was parked on the hard shoulder at Ballyhea, Charleville on August 7th, 2017.
Darragh’s counsel Liam Reidy SC, with Tadhg Dorgan BL instructed by John McCarthy solicitor, told the court the then eight-year-old boy was brought to University Hospital Limerick but did not appear to have any injuries.
Six days later Darragh was brought to Cork University Hospital with persistent headache and vomiting.
Counsel said the suspicion should have been of an intracranial problem. It was also their case, he said, that an examination of the back of the boy’s eye was allegedly not done.
Counsel said it was their case that the “most basic eye test” which checked cranial pressure was allegedly not carried out.
When the boy returned to the Cayman Islands, counsel said he had to be transferred to a Miami hospital where he had to have three surgeries where burr holes and drains were inserted in his skull.
Darragh O’Regan of Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands, had through his mother Fiona O’Regan sued his father Daniel who was the driver of the hire car which was owned by Executive Trust Ltd with offices at Northwood Business Park, Santry, Dublin.
He also sued the driver of the other vehicle, Gerald Long of Eglantine Crescent, Mallow, Co Cork and the HSE.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told that liability had been admitted by the drivers and the car rental company.
Against the HSE it was claimed there was an alleged failure to properly investigate the persistence of the boy’s neurological symptoms in the days after the accident and an alleged failure to carry out the eye examination.
The HSE denied the claims and contended a cyst perforation could have happened anytime in the boy’s future and he would have had to have surgery.
It was claimed the boy remained asymptomatic for six days following the collision until August 13th, 2017 when he started to develop headaches, vomiting and fatigue.
The boy was referred to the emergency department of Cork University Hospital. He was complaining of persistent headache and vomiting. A CT of his brain was reported as normal apart from the congenital brain cyst.
It was claimed an examination of the back of the inside eye was not performed and he was discharged from the Cork hospital and prescribed anti-nausea medication and painkillers.
It was further claimed in the days that followed his discharge, Darragh felt persistently unwell with ongoing headaches and increasing nausea and vomiting. He was again referred by a GP on August 23rd, 2017 to the emergency department of Cork University Hospital.
The boy’s case was reviewed and it was allegedly concluded that the CT scan showed no evidence of raised intracranial pressure. The need for another CT scan was not expressed, it was claimed, and a diagnosis of post concussion syndrome was made.
Advice was given regarding symptom control and the young boy was discharged from hospital.
On August 25th, 2017 the family flew back to the Cayman Islands but the boy’s symptoms continued with worsening pain, vomiting, fatigue and hyperventilation.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was a good one and he wished Darragh and his family well for the future.