Birth Injury Brain Damage Settlement sees child awarded £1.6m

A seven year old girl, brain damaged at birth due to a delayed delivery, has had an initial birth injury brain damage settlement of £1.6m approved in the High Court by Mr Justice John Quirke. Brid Courtney is confined to a wheelchair and only able to communicate by using facial expressions. She sued the Health Service through her mother, Mrs Deirdre Courtney.

It was claimed that at the time of Brid´s birth in February 2003, nursing staff at hospital failed to act when there was a sudden and dramatic change in the foetal heart rate pattern. When labour was induced and the baby delivered after an hour’s delay, Brid was not breathing and an emergency team of doctors had to resuscitate her. Subsequent to this she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The court heard that despite being totally dependent on her parents, Brid was a “joyous, happy child” and was intellectually sound with a normal IQ of 106. Even though her profound physical disabilities will stop her from enjoying a normal childhood and shorten her expected lifespan, the court was told that Brid “communicates in a humorous way with everybody around her”.

The settlement was decided with no admission of liability by the Health Service, and was made under the new “periodic payments system” which means that the case will return to the High Court in November 2012 to determine how much Brid´s family should receive to fund her future care. She will be represented once more by her mother and, as with all child injury claims, have to have any compensation settlement approved by court.

As Mr Justice John Quirke was officially approving the compensation settlement he praised Mr and Mrs Courtney for the years of care they had given their daughter. He said:  “It’s very inspiring to the rest of us to see what you’ve done. It really is remarkable.”