A 5-year-old boy and his family was awarded $650K in a settlement against an Irish hospital earlier this moth. His family will return again to court in six years, in which time a judge will assess the amount for future loss of earnings, and provide additional compensation to them.
The Irish Times reports that little Billy Tobin of Tipperary, Ireland, developed spastic cerebral palsy after a physician delivered him and a twin sibling via C-section, after augmenting his mother’s labor when she started bleeding early. The physician performed an “artificial rupture with a Syntocinon infusion,” which, according to medical experts, is linked to an increased chance of uterine rupture.
According to court documents, Billy’s mother, Noelle Tobin, was reportedly never made aware of the associated risks involved with an augmented C-section. Further, court documents indicate that the plaintiffs alleged that Tobin was given an excessive amount of Syntocinon, which led to uterine rupture and later, her son’s cerebral palsy development. Billy was born in critical condition, barely clinging onto life.
The hospital, although they didn’t admit guilt, settled the case for negligence in admitting that they didn’t rush Billy to another hospital in time for a head cooling treatment. According to Miranda Hitti, medical writer for WebMd, cooling an infant’s head who’s deprived of oxygen can help reduce the chances of brain damage.
In a study performed by Professor Peter Gluckman, FRS, of New Zealand’s University of Auckland, some of the infants who received cooling caps after birth had a slightly higher chance of not developing brain damage. There’s also a “trade-off” when using cooling caps, according to the researchers.
“There is a potential trade-off between the adverse systemic effects of cooling, which increase greatly below a core temperature of about 34 degrees Celsius [93 degrees Fahrenheit], and the possibility of cerebral benefit,” the researchers stated.
Shortly after the settlement, Tobin said that although she is happy with outcome, she wanted to send a message that families who are victims to medical negligence shouldn’t be expected to deal with the aftermath all alone.
“Families should be supported when a traumatic event occurs and not left to their own devices to find out where to turn,” Tobin said outside of court, after the settlement agreement. “The reality of having a child with extra needs in this country is not easy. Carers and those they care for are often afterthoughts in our society, fighting for every little bit on intervention that might help their loved ones.”
On a good note, the family indicated that they were glad they now have a way to provide Billy with the best care possible.
Meanwhile, Billy recently went through spinal surgery in the U.S., which has helped him significantly. According to a GoFundMe page, set up by the family, Billy traveled to St. Louis, where he was accepted as a candidate for a surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), which helps to eliminate muscle tightness and spasticity that’s common with people living with cerebral palsy. According to Tobin, the surgery was not available in Ireland.
“He is a wonderful little boy who has taught us more than we will ever teach him,” his mother added.