Cork twin with cerebral palsy settles case over circumstances of birth

By Ann O'Loughlin

A 20-year old 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 €1.95m.

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 Breen has cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is confined to a wheelchair Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told.

The young woman will come back to court in five years time when her future care needs will be assessed.

Wexford General Hospital.

Shauni Breen from Meadwobrook, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co Cork had sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth in 1997.

It was claimed on December 30, 1997, when the twins were 33 weeks and three days, their mother Marie Foley was admitted to Wexford General Hospital with contractions at 5am. Shauni's infant twin Nicole was born healthy at 6.10am.

It was further claimed the second stage of labour for Shauni lasted forty minutes and it was claimed the management of her birth was allegedly incompetent .

There was it was claimed an alleged failure to have an anesthetist present for the birth and there was an alleged failure to have a full team in attendance ready and prepared for every eventuality an an 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 and the treatment was entirely consistent with optimum, conventional medical practice in a district hospital maternity unit in 1997.

Dr O'Mahony told the court the baby had an abnormal presentation and his side contended she should have been delivered by Caesarean section within fifteen minutes of her sister.

He said when born Shauni had to be resuscitated and was transferred to another hospital.

Counsel said the young woman is doing well and the care given by her mother throughout the years, Dr O'Mahony said was extraordinary.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good one. He also congratulated Shauni's mother and extended family for the care they have given her in the last twenty years.

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