Mr. Justice John Quirke has approved a £3.75m High Court settlement for a brain damaged child compensation case to Jessica O´Brien.
In the claim against the hospital, it was alleged that Jessica´s mother was sent to the maternity hospital for the birth of her daughter in May 1993, after a scan at her local hospital revealed that the foetus was experiencing digestive problems. Jessica was given birth to the day after the transfer, but suffered brain damage during the delivery due to a lack of oxygen.
It was alleged in the claim against the maternity hospital that medical staff failed to properly monitor Jessica´s heart rate in the period immediately before her delivery – something they should have done automatically, as they were aware that the delivery was high-risk and in danger of hypoxia during the birth. The court heard evidence that Jessica, now 17 years old, will need care for the rest of her life. She often has to use a wheelchair and suffers from a speech defect for which she is receiving therapy. Jessica´s mother also advised the court that she had approached a legal company many years previously, but had been told that her daughter did not have a case. The hospital refuted the claims and the settlement was approved without admission of liability.
The judge ordered that the settlement be paid into court and will be used for Jessica´s future benefit. As with all compensation award for child injury, a court must approve an award before payment is made.