A young woman with cerebral palsy who had sued over the circumstances of her birth at Wexford General Hospital has settled her action against the HSE with an interim payout of €1.95million.
Shauni Breen’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC told the High Court it was a sad case where Shauni was born about 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister. Shauni, now aged 20, has cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is confined to a wheelchair, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told.
Her case will come back to court in five years time when her future care needs will be assessed. Ms Breen from Meadowbrook, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co Cork had sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth in 1997.
It was claimed, on December 30th, 1997, when the twins were 33 weeks and three days gestation, their mother Marie Foley was admitted to Wexford General Hospital with contractions at 5am. Shauni’s twin Nicole was born healthy at 6.10am. It was further claimed the second stage of labour for Shauni lasted 40 minutes and it was claimed the management of her birth was incompetent . It was claimed there was failure to have an anaesthetist present for the birth and to have a full team in attendance ready and prepared for every eventuality and alleged failure to recognise it was a high risk labour.
The court was told the claims were denied and the HSE contended the management of the birth complied with general and approved practice. The treatment was entirely consistent with optimum, conventional medical practice in a district hospital maternity unit in 1997, it said.
Dr O’Mahony said Shauni had an abnormal presentation and their case was she should have been delivered by Caesarean section within fifteen minutes of her sister. He said Shauni had to be resuscitated at birth and was transferred to another hospital. She is doing well and the care given by her mother throughout the years was “extraordinary”, he added. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said it was a good one and congratulated Shauni’s mother and extended family for the care they have given her in the last twenty years.