€2.5 million interim settlement for “profound misdiagnosis” of chickenpox

€2.5 million interim settlement for “profound misdiagnosis” of chickenpox

Emmet Halley represented Eoghan Keating in these proceedings.

University Hospital Waterford apologised at a recent sitting of the High Court in Dublin to a boy left brain damaged just before his second birthday.

Eoghan Keating, now 6, cannot talk and is tetraplegic.   Counsel on behalf of the boy said there was a profound misdiagnosis with mumps when in fact, he had an infectious chickenpox and the boy later suffered a brain injury of the most profound kind.

Eoghan had been complaining with a rash and a high temperature, was irritable and crying when he was brought to the hospital.   He was advised to take ibuprofen and Calpol and for his parents to contact the hospital if concerned.

Later the baby’s neck swelled, he was lethargic and again, because of their concerns, and the lack of any improvement, they rang the hospital and were told that it was mumps which he had.  They were told if they had any further concerns, to contact Caredoc G.P. service.

Later they did contact them, and were advised to immediately bring Eoghan back to the hospital, where he was intubated and ventilated and later transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital, in Dublin.

In his action, it was claimed there was a failure on the part of the hospital authorities to admit Eoghan when he first presented and to treat him intravenously and to heed the indicators of a significant evolving infection.

Martina Keating, mother of Eoghan, told the Court of the hopes and dreams which they had for Eoghan.  “He was an energetic, fun loving toddler, very sociable and he loved nothing more than giving hugs to everyone.

It would have meant everything to us to have seen him grow into a young man, fall in love and eventually form a loving family of his own. We grieve every day for the life Eoghan lost, but we know we are blessed to still have him with us.

He cannot reach out his arms to give us hugs anymore.  The only recognition we get is a turn of his head in recognition of our voices on a good day. On a very good day, when there is no discomfort, we get a smile, which is so very precious but we do miss the sound of his little laugh.  We would return the settlement if it would miraculously enable Eoghan to be pain free and carefree like he once was.”

Larry Keating, father of Eoghan, who gave a statement outside of the Court, urged the Government and those in management to help all children with chronic life limiting conditions and that “these children are the real heroes who battle through their parents for the most basic of needs on a daily basis and they deserve so much better than what is currently available.”

University Hospital Waterford, through their General Manager, Richard Dooley, in a statement read to the High Court, apologised on behalf of management and staff for “the deficiencies in the care provided to Eoghan at the hospital on 24th August 2012 and I would also like to acknowledge the many challenges and you and your family have faced as a result of the treatment afforded to Eoghan.  I do not underestimate how traumatic this has been for you and we are truly sorry for the distress this has caused to you and to Eoghan”

An admission of liability was made by the HSE on the 26th February,   2016.  The case was listed for hearing in the High Court in Dublin on the 7th October, 2016, however the interim settlement was negotiated on the 12th September, 2016

What is an interim settlement?

The interim settlement provides for Eoghan’s nursing care and therapy needs for the next 2 years. As he grows, his needs will change,  and so it is for that reason that it was decided to opt for an interim settlement.  The case has been adjourned to October, 2018 when the case will come before the High Court again and Eoghan’s needs will be reassessed in terms of therapies and nursing care.