Woman who sued hospital over her birth settles for €850,000

Woman Who Sued Hospital Over Her Birth Settles For €850,000
Paula Corcoran (46) has to use a wheelchair, cannot speak and needs full-time care, the High Court heard
Share this article

High Court reporters

A woman with cerebral palsy who sued over the circumstances of her birth at Galway Regional Hospital has settled a High Court action for €850,000.

Paula Corcoran (46) from Sligo town has to use a wheelchair, cannot speak and needs full-time care, the court heard.


The settlement against the HSE is without an admission of liability.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Garrett Simons noted the exceptional care Paula’s family had given her throughout her life.

“They have made an excellent contribution. She is very, very lucky,” the judge said.

Alistair Rutherdale BL, instructed by David O’Malley solicitors, told the court that proceedings were brought in the case in 2014, when Paula was 38.


The case is unusual in that it refers to circumstances 46 years ago and is regarded as the first ever case alleging medical negligence and dealing with events over 40 years ago.

It was claimed Emily Corcoran had been admitted to the hospital on April 7th, 1976 after she was advised her baby was presenting in an abnormal position.

She went into labour overnight and was transferred to the labour ward on April 8th. Paula was delivered by emergency caesarean section later but required resuscitation.

Earlier intervention

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Garrett Simons said it was the Corcorans' case that the position the baby was lying in before birth should have been given particular attention and there allegedly should have been one-to-one monitoring and alleged earlier intervention.


The judge said the case had to be viewed from the medical practice standards of the time. He said the defence were denying all claims and contended the birth was carefully monitored, and proper due care and attention was given to the mother and baby.

The HSE had raised the issue of the delay in bringing the proceedings and a motion to strike out the case on the grounds of delay had been part-heard by the courts.

The judge said the €850,000 settlement figure represented half the notional full value of the case. Referring to the tragic circumstances of the case and the risk in relation to liability, the judge said it was a very fair settlement.

Mr Justice Simons said it was also a case where recollection would be of particular importance.

Video news
Video: Confidence vote dismissed as Sinn Féin 'stu...
Read More

Paula Corcoran had, through her late father, Malachy Corcoran, sued the HSE over the circumstances and management of her birth at Galway Regional Hospital, now known as University Hospital Galway, on April 8th, 1976.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure upon Mrs Corcoran's admission to the hospital to adopt a clear plan for active or expectant management. It was further contended there was an alleged failure to maintain vigilant supervision through labour.

In addition, it was also alleged that there was failure to carefully assess and reassess the situation when labour started spontaneously early on the morning of April 8th.

All the claims were denied.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2023, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com