Young Girl Receives Compensation for Facial Scar due to Birth Negligence

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A five-year-old girl has received €240,000 in compensation from the HSE for a facial scar that she received due to negligence following her birth.

In January 2011, Abigail Byrne was born at the Cork University Maternity Hospital. Her birth was difficult, and required use of forceps by medical staff. After she was born, an elasticised bandage was placed around her head and left for over a day. The bandage left a red mark on the baby’s forehead, approximately ten centimetres long and one centimetre in depth. Abigail’s mother-Jennifer-had been ensured that the mark was temporary.

After the mother and child were discharged from hospital, a nurse informed Jennifer that the mark on Abigail’s head was likely to be permanent, and that she should seek advice on Abigail’s behalf. Jennifer consulted a plastic surgeon, who stated that it would not be possible to help the young girl until her late teens.

Jennifer sought legal counsel, and made a claim for a facial scar due to hospital negligence on her daughter’s behalf. Jennifer claimed that there had been a failure by medical staff to correctly position the bandage on her daughter’s head, and that the bandage had been left on for too long, thus leaving the scar.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability for Abigail’s scar. The case was brought to Mr Justice Kevin Cross for assessment of the compensation to be paid to Abigail. The judge heard that Abigail’s parents had delayed her christening for a week so as to give the mark a chance to fade. Judge Cross adjourned the hearing so that settlement negotiations could take place.

When the hearing was restarted, the judge was informed that a settlement of €240,000 for a facial scar claim had been agreed upon. The judge approved the settlement on Abigail’s behalf, and closed the hearing, wishing the young girl all the best for her future.

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