High Court reporters
A hospital has apologised to an 18-year-old man and his mother for the “deficiencies in care” that occurred at the time of his birth.
The apology from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth was read out in the High Court as Dean Grimes settled for €3.1 million his legal action over the circumstances of his birth.
His counsel Liam Reidy SC, with Frank Crean BL, told the court there was a failure to notice in the second stage of labour that the CTG trace which is supposed to monitor the baby’s heartbeat was in fact monitoring the mother’s heartbeat.
Counsel said syntocinon, which is used to induce labour, continued to be titrated upwards and the combination of the two events they contended led to an acute event and brain injury.
In the apology read to the court, it said the maternity service and hospital management at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda acknowledged “that the standard of care that you received during the course of your labour and delivery in 2004 was not of the standard that we would expect”.
It added: “On behalf of the hospital I would like to sincerely apologise to you, Dean and your family for the deficiencies in care that occurred in April 2004. As an organisation we acknowledge the profound impact Dean’s injuries have had on him and your family.”
Counsel told the court the proceedings were only brought in 2018. Dean’s mother had noticed that he was falling behind at school and he transferred to a special school when others were moving on to secondary school. Counsel said investigations were carried out at that stage. Dean has cerebral palsy and has difficulty walking and with memory and concentration.
Mr Reidy said liability was conceded in the case and Dean’s family welcomed the apology.
Dean Grimes, of Waterville Crescent, Dundalk, Co Louth, had through his mother, Jolene McDermott, sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda on April 1st, 2004.
It was claimed there was a failure to appreciate that the maternal heart rate instead of the baby’s heart rate was being recorded during the active second stage of labour.
When Dean was born, he was in a poor condition and required emergency neonatal assistance. He later had an MRI scan which confirmed ischaemia and infarction which it was claimed indicated a prolonged period of acute hypoxia.
His mother Jolene McDermott told the court Dean started to walk when he was 2-years-old but was losing his balance all the time. She said he had a special needs assistant at primary school but she found as he got older “he wasn’t doing what other kids did, and he could not keep up with them”.
She said she asked doctors about her son and wanted to know what happened. Dean, she said, loves music and composes his own music.
She said her son will now be able to avail of necessary therapies as he has not had any for the last three years.
Approving the settlement Mr Justice Paul Coffey wished Dean and “his wonderful family” all the best for the future.
Outside court the family solicitor Dervila McGirr said it was the end of a very long process for Dean and his parents. She said Dean is a bright and talented young man who is not defined by what happened to him when he was born.
“This is a testimony to the loving care and commitment of his parents to him every day of his life,” she said.