A LENGTHY battle with the State ended last week when Ciara Osmond was awarded €8.4m for injuries caused by the circumstances of her birth, 18 years ago.
The Waterford woman has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is totally dependent, needs 24 hour care and has to use a wheelchair. Her family, in a statement, said it had been a very difficult battle.
“We feel it is unfortunate that Ciara’s case was brought this far and only settled at such a late stage,” they said. “As a family, we would have found it far less stressful and upsetting if it had been resolved sooner.”
Ms Osmond’s solicitor Joice Carthy made the same point. “Having to come to court in order to settle the matter, has caused a lot of stress and worry for Ciara’s mum, Jean, who has been a devoted carer to Ciara for the past 18 years and will doubtless continue to be.”
Approving the settlement in the High Court, Ms Justice O’Hanlon said this was a tragedy which occurred at a birth and the consequences for Ciara was nothing short of catastrophic.
The settlement was made without admission of liability.
Ciara Ormond, with an address at Ursuline Crescent, Waterford city, had through her mother Jean Ormond, sued the HSE over the circumstances of her birth on November 5, 2000 at Waterford Regional Hospital, now University Hospital Waterford.
Her counsel, Bruce Antonioni, told the court that, during labour, CTG monitoring of the foetal heartbeat was discontinued for one hour and 25 minutes. He said the trace was stopped between 12.10 and 13.35 and that was “completely unacceptable.”
It was the HSE’s case that the mother went for a shower and that is why the CTG trace was disconnected.
Mr Antoniotti said the mother would say she was not in the shower for one and a half hours. He claimed there was failure to properly manage and monitor the labour, delivery and birth.
The family said the settlement was “not some kind of windfall” but would “secure Ciara’s future and finally provide her with the specialist care and therapy she needs and deserves”.