Settlement for child with cerebral palsy in medical negligence case against Letterkenny Hospital


Rachael Liston solicitors were successful in achieving an interim settlement agreement against the HSE in relation to a medical negligence in Letterkenny Hospital.

Our case arose as a result of injuries caused to DH during his delivery in Letterkenny Hospital when there was a failure to identify foetal distress and a failure to carry out an emergency caesarean section resulting in a delay in delivering DH.  This caused hypoxic ischaemic injuries to his brain and he now suffers from cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, hearing impairment, epilepsy, behavioural and sleep issues and autism.

We conducted an extensive analysis, along with our independent medical experts, into the medical records and CTG traces.  These show that when DH’s mother initially attended Letterkenny General Hospital there was a reassuring CTG trace.  A second CTG trace was almost immediately abnormal in that the variability was borderline and there were no accelerations. This was followed by shallow decelerations with repeat deep broad decelerations at around 12 noon. At approximately 12.20 hours the CTG was described by the midwives as being “flattened with one deceleration” and a doctor was contacted. At 13.20 hours there was a deep deceleration. By 15.50 hours the variability again is borderline, and the baby’s heartbeat increased to 175 beats per minute and, again, there were no accelerations. The trace continued unchanged, and a decision was finally made that DH be delivered by caesarean section at 16.30 hours.  Delivery did not actually take place until 18.05 hours, 1 hour and 35 minutes after the decision was made.

In reviewing DH’s MRI brain scans the pattern of injury is consistent with watershed changes due to a prolonged chronic partial insult.  In other words, lack of oxygen to the brain.

Our obstetric expert was of the opinion that DH should have been delivered 6 hours and 20 minutes prior to the time when he was actually delivered.

Our expert neonatologist concluded, in his review of all records, that “on the balance of probability, if delivery had taken place by 11.45 am then DH would not have developed Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy”.

Our paediatric neurologist also analysed the records and MRI scans of DH’s brain and concluded that DH suffered a hypoxic ischaemic injury of a prolonged partial type of hypoxic ischemic insult and that he now suffers from cerebral palsy, seizures, behavioural issues and autism.

Insofar as the timing and mechanism of the intra partum hypoxic ischaemic brain injury is concerned, our expert stated that a full-term baby has a remarkable capacity to withstand hypoxic ischemic insults during labour. However, this capacity is not unlimited and, if the insult continues unabated, the baby’s reserves become exhausted and it results in irreversible brain injury, at an accelerating pace until the time of delivery.

Shortly before the trial of the action the HSE admitted that the failings in Letterkenny Hospital caused DH’s injuries.

An interim settlement agreement was reached by way of mediation, which included damages for care costs, accommodation needs, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, aids and appliances, occupational therapy, assistive technology, educational psychology and many other costs which will accrue as a result of DH’s injuries.  This interim settlement will be reviewed in 6 years when DH is older and his needs may change.

If you wish to speak to one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors in relation to a similar type of case, please contact the office on 019123240 or email us at

For more information about how we can help you with medical negligence claims, please contact Rachael Liston on 01-9123240 or email