HSE and hospital apologise as Limerick boy settles birth injury case for €9m

Hse And Hospital Apologise As Limerick Boy Settles Birth Injury Case For €9M Hse And Hospital Apologise As Limerick Boy Settles Birth Injury Case For €9M
Harry David Kavanagh (13) requires 24-hour care and faces many challenges in life, the High Court heard
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High Court reporters

The HSE and University Maternity Hospital Limerick have apologised to the parents of a 13-year-old boy who suffered a brain injury at birth.

Harry David Kavanagh cannot speak, has dyskinetic cerebral palsy, is profoundly physically disabled, requires 24-hour care and faces many challenges in life, the High Court heard.

The letter of apology was read to the High Court as the boy from Castletroy, Limerick settled for €9 million his legal action against the HSE.

In the letter the HSE and the hospital expressed “sincere apologies” to the Kavanagh family for the circumstances surrounding Harry’s birth on January 25th, 2009.

“The care provided to you fell below the standard expected and I fully acknowledge the hurt and pain this has caused and the many challenges that you as a family have faced and will continue to face as a result” the letter said.


The letter to Harry’s parents Olwyn and David Kavanagh was signed by chief operations officer of the UL Hospitals Group, Noreen Spillane.

Harry’s counsel, Liam Reidy SC instructed by Maurice Power Solicitors, told the court that liability was admitted in the case. Harry, he said, suffered a significant brain injury in utero.

He said experts on their side would say that there was a failure to recognise a pathological trace on the CTG monitoring of the baby’s heartrate. Counsel said his side would say that Harry’s brain injury occurred in the last half hour before birth.

Mr Reidy said Harry’s parents had cared for him for the last 13 years and his mother had given up her career to look after her son.

Counsel said the Kavanaghs were happy with the settlement and they wanted finality to the legal process.

Harry David Kavanagh (13), of Castletroy, Co Limerick, had through his mother, Olwyn Kavanagh, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at University Maternity Hospital, Ennis Road, Limerick on January 25th, 2009.

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It was claimed there was a failure to carry out any or any proper monitoring of Mrs Kavanagh and her unborn child. It was further claimed there was a failure to recognise the CTG readings were suspicious and/or pathological.

There was also an alleged failure to recognise a seriously abnormal foetal heart rate pattern indicating that the baby was being stressed by increasing hypoxia.

Harry, it was claimed, was caused to be exposed to prolonged hypoxia. When the baby was born, he was in an unexpectedly poor condition, was discoloured and did not cry. He had no respiratory effort and required intubation and ventilation for resuscitation.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was a very good one and he conveyed his best wishes to Harry and his parents.

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