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Interim €2.5 million settlement agreed for boy with cerebral palsy



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A nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who sued over the circumstances of his birth at Wexford General Hospital has settled his High Court action on terms including an interim payment of €2.5 million.

Jack Wickham’s mother Sinéad said the settlement means she and her husband Nick can now be “normal regular parents” to their three children “without having the having the financial worry and burden on our shoulders” that comes with having a child with such physical needs.

Ms Wickham said Jack can now have immediate access to occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy without having to go on a waiting list or wait for a therapist to return from maternity or sick leave because their post has not been filled.

“Equipment he so needs can now be bought immediately without having to get approval from the manager of a particular service and then to wait up to six months for the paperwork to go through and the equipment arrives,” she said.

Jack, of Tullerstown, Ballycullane, New Ross, Co Wexford, had, through his mother, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Wexford General Hospital on October 29th 2008.

It was claimed the baby showed signs of foetal distress or compromise and there was failure to discern the symptoms and to act appropriately.

It was further claimed there was failure to take action at 6am on the morning of his birth notwithstanding the nature of the CTG trace. The second stage of labour had, it was claimed, been prolonged without confirmation of foetal well being.

The claims were denied.

The interim payment is intended to cover care for the next seven years when the case will come back to court to assess future care needs.

Bruce Antoniotti SC, for the child, said Jack was delivered at 7am but their case was, had he been delivered twenty minutes earlier, he would have been spared damage.

Jack has spastic quadriplegia but is a happy, bright child, he said .

Ms Wickham told the court it was a “a very bitter sweet day” and “a long process to get get here.”

The events of the morning of Jack’s birth will stay with her forever and impacted on how their other two children were delivered, she said.

“Jack has to live with this condition every day. He has huge challenges to overcome every single day. We have the most amazing, clever, witty and strong minded child who deserves to live his life to the absolute fullest and today goes a long way in ensuring that we as parents can do everything in our power to help him fulfil his dreams,” she said.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Jack has received wonderful care from his family and he wished them all well for the future.

Source: Irish Times

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