An Irish Hospital Had To Apologize Again After Mishandling The Birth of A Girl With Cerebral Palsy

According to a story from The Irish Times, the South Tipperary General Hospital issued a second apology in court after providing insufficient care to a girl named Katie Manton, who was born at the hospital with cerebral palsy.

Two years ago, the family settled a lawsuit against the Health Service Executive (HSE) to the tune of €6.7 million. More recently, her mother Aoife settled her own action against the HSE over the unfortunate incident, but the terms of this agreement are confidential.

Cerebral palsy is characterized by movement disorders that typically occur in early childhood, but the cause of the disorder usually occurs during pregnancy. Symptoms can include poor coordination, stiff and weak muscles, tremors, problems with vision, talking, swallowing, and hearing, and often seizures or reasoning problems. It is caused by abnormal brain development or brain damage. You can learn more about this disorder here.

In about half of cases, patients were born prematurely. Risk factors for babies who were born at term include birth asphyxia, low birth weight, seizures soon after birth, deliveries requiring the use of instruments or C section, or other birth defects. Although the details of what occurred during Katie’s delivery were not disclosed in detail, it appears that poor care from the hospital was a deciding factor in her development of cerebral palsy.

Despite the repeated apology, Aoife and Ray, Katie’s father, say that they can never forgive the hospital for what happened. After all, it appears that Katie’s case should have been perfectly preventable. Now, she has little ability to take care of herself and is beset by pain and frequent seizures. Managing seizures in cerebral palsy is more difficult than usual and they often last longer than seizures associated with other conditions.

The understandably angry family also called for the HSE to make its protocols and procedures publicly available, as well as its policies for the recruitment of its personnel. This move would help restore some public trust in the hospital after the incident. The hospital ties the tragedy to the incompetence of the staff member that was in charge of Katie’s birth, and that the staff member was not properly evaluated in accordance with the hospital’s own recruitment policy.


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