A FOUR-YEAR-OLD Irish boy with cerebral palsy has been awarded €15 million after he was ‘catastrophically’ injured during childbirth at a Dublin maternity hospital.
The Coombe Hospital has apologised to Eoin McCallig and his family after the youngster was left unable to walk or talk following his birth on November 24, 2012.
Eoin’s father Anthony, from Dunkineely in Co. Donegal, said the family could forgive a mistake but not the way HSE dealt with the family afterwards.
Mr McCallig told the High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the “culture and procedures” of health care in Ireland needed to change.
He said the HSE had spent €800 million in the last decade fighting cases similar to Eoin’s and that the money should be put to better use.
A €13.4m (£11.9m) offer was rejected last week with the family’s lawyers judging the sum to be inadequate given the costs of Eoin’s care over his lifetime.
The huge €15 million (£13.8m) settlement was approved in court today just three days before Eoin’s fifth birthday, after Mr Justice Kelly was told that the child had a life expectancy of just 48.
In a statement issued through their solicitor Michael Boylan, his parents said they would hand the compensation back “in a heartbeat” in exchange for a healthy Eoin.
"Let no one think that this is some form of lotto win for Eoin,” they said.
“This money will be badly needed so Eoin can live a normal life as possible over the long life he will live and this will ensure that he gets all the excellent care, treatments and therapy he needs over the coming decades."
They said the hospital’s apology was “most welcome”, but added: "If you don’t accept that you have made a mistake or an error you cannot even begin to learn.
"We would hand this €15 million settlement back in a heartbeat if Eoin could get back what was robbed from him in those two precious hours before his birth."
The court heard that Coombe Hospital stopped monitoring Eoin’s heartrate at 9.30am on the morning of his birth five years ago.
His parents argued that medical staff would have noticed that something was wrong if he had been monitored further.
The youngster was born two hours later at around 11.30am but had been deprived of oxygen in the 20 minutes prior to the birth.
Mr Justice Kelly was told that Eoin was a “very bright boy” but is unable to walk or talk and can only communicate with his eyes and facial expressions.
The judge awarded the family the sum of €15 million but said no amount of money could compensate the McCalligs for the “catastrophic” injuries Eoin suffered and the lifetime of care he now requires.