9-Year-Old Boy Awarded €32.4M in High Court Settlement After Hospital Admit Negligence
The parents of a 9-year-old boy who has been left brain damaged and permanently disabled have settled their High Court action against Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin. The total damages awarded to Benjamin Gillick was €32.4M, the highest ever settlement for a personal injury case in the Republic of Ireland.
Benjamin was born prematurely and underwent a procedure at 11 months old to drain fluid from his brain. A Shunt was inserted which would later result in an infection. Benjamin developed Meningitis and had a stroke, as a result he now has cerebral palsy, is a tetraplegic and cannot talk. The negligence alleged against the Hospital was that they failed to properly investigate, diagnose, manage, treat and care for Benjamin, which tragically resulted in him developing the infection.
Temple Street Children’s Hospital admitted liability in this matter and apologised for the “failings” that resulted in Benjamin’s injuries. After length legal proceedings, which involved an interim payment of €6.7M to Benjamin’s parents 3 years ago, the case finally settled pre-trial. His damages will include the full cost of care and the cost of specialist treatment for Benjamin.
Benjamin’s parents believed that the final award should have been higher. His father, Andrew Gillick, told the Court of the “gruelling regime” of therapy that Benjamin had to undergo and explained that he required two carers at all times. Mr Justice Kevin Cross, approving the final stated, stated; “I appreciate you are disappointed, but I believe it is in Benjamin’s best interests.”
He acknowledged the high level of care and treatment that would be required and the costs that would be accrued by the family. It is not believed that these injuries will impact significantly on Benjamin’s life expectancy. Indeed, he is expected to live in to his 60’s. However, his family have stated that he will require constant care for the rest of his life.
The reason for the family’s apprehension as to the final settlement was that they believed the funds may run out as they continue to care for Benjamin in to his adult life. This is an extremely tragic case and it is hoped that the settlement will alleviate the financial burden on the family insofar as Benjamin’s care, treatment, accommodation and education costs are concerned.
The complexity of current care needs as well as future care needs all need to be taken in to account when calculating the special damages of the claimant in cases of this nature. Indeed, Benjamin’s mother Miriam did acknowledge that whilst these were “massive sums” each case needs to be assessed on an individual basis. Such was the enormity of special damages in this case, it is estimated that general damages will only make up around €450,000.00 of the total award for damages.
At PA Duffy and Company our solicitors are highly experienced in all aspects of medical negligence law and are qualified in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The best interests of our clients are always the priority.