Court approves €200k settlement over alleged failure to properly deal with cyst in child's skull

ireland
Court Approves €200K Settlement Over Alleged Failure To Properly Deal With Cyst In Child's Skull Court Approves €200K Settlement Over Alleged Failure To Properly Deal With Cyst In Child's Skull
The settlement, which was made without any admission of liability, was made in favour of Isaac Keniry who is profoundly disabled and requires 24-hour care due to a rare genetic condition he was born with.
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High Court reporters

A €200,000 settlement has been approved by the High Court for a teenage boy who claimed a Cork hospital was allegedly negligent by failing to properly diagnose or treat a cyst in his head that caused him severe and ongoing pain when he was a young child.

The settlement, which was made without any admission of liability, was made in favour of Isaac Keniry who is profoundly disabled and requires 24-hour care due to a rare genetic condition he was born with.

He claimed that between 2008 and 2012 when he was under its care the hospital allegedly failed to take steps, including referring him to a neurosurgeon that would have recommended that a cyst at the back of his skull which left him in severe pain due to the excess pressure exerted on parts of his brain be treated.

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The cyst was eventually treated in 2012, in a procedure called a cyst fenestration, after he underwent surgery in the United States.

Suing through his father Ned, Isaac claimed that Mercy University Hospital Cork had been allegedly negligent and in breach of its duty of care in its treatment of him over a four-year period.

Symptoms

It was claimed that the hospital should have treated the cyst, that it delayed in diagnosing the source of his pain, said that his symptoms were due to his genetic condition, and failed to recommend that the boy be assessed by a neurosurgeon for a further opinion.

The claims were fully denied by the hospital, and the matter was settled without an admission of liability. The settlement was approved by Mr Justice Paul Coffey on Friday.

The judge, who paid tribute to Isaac and the remarkable care provided to him by his family, said that aspects of the claim were "fraught with difficulties" that their case may not have been successful had it gone to trial.

The judge said that given the settlement offer was similar to the full value of the claim he had "no hesitation" in approving the award of €200,000 plus all of Isaac's legal costs.

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Oisin Quinn SC, appearing with Hugh Mohan SC and David Humphries BL for Isaac of Walshtownmore, Dungourney, Co Cork said that the case, which was fully defended by the hospital had raised complex issues.

Counsel said that Isaac had been born in the US and was diagnosed as having genetic disorder which results in severe developmental delay.

After Isaac was born, counsel said the boy was not expected to live for very long resulting in his family returning to Ireland shortly afterwards. Isaac then came under the care of the defendant hospital.

The cyst, counsel said, had been noticed after his birth, but it was his client's case that when Isaac presented at the defendant hospital with various symptoms, his condition was allegedly not properly treated nor diagnosed.

Seizures

Isaac, counsel said, suffered from symptoms including severe headaches, seizures, breathing, arching, and heart conditions, and had attempted to gouge out his eyes due to the pain, counsel said.

It was Isaac's father who first raised the prospect that his son's difficulties were being caused by intercranial pressure on his brain and skull, counsel said.

It was their claim that the cyst was not operated on nor correctly assessed and Isaac was not referred to a neurosurgeon.

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It was not until Isaac's family brought him back to doctors in the United States that the problem was diagnosed and treated during surgery.

Counsel said that following the surgery Isaac's problems eventually went away, although he still has severe needs due to his genetic condition.

Isaac's parents Ned and Tina Keniry both told the judge of the "horrendous pain" that their son had suffered during the four-year period and that their happy and "much loved" but profoundly disabled son will need to be cared for the rest of his life.

Settlement

Both parents expressed their reluctance to accept the settlement offer.

Tina Keniry said the action was "never about the money" but accepted the reality of the situation was that Isaac has care needs.

Ms Keniry said the treatment for Isaac at the hospital was all about dealing with the symptoms and not the cause of his pain.

Ned Keniry accepted that while the defendant's staff were "very nice" he told the judge that it would not accept his claim that the root of his son's difficulties were being caused by the severe pressure on the boy's skull.

He said that during the four-year period after their return from the United States his son was expected to die, and at one point a coffin had been ordered for him.

He said that following the 2012 operation his son's condition had improved dramatically and all the symptoms such as headaches, breathing difficulties, seizures, heart condition had gone away, and he was no longer on all the medications he had previously been on.

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