Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Negligent Diaphragm Surgery Which Left Boy Permanently Disabled

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A High Court Judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a young boy who underwent surgery that left him permanently disabled.

In January 2012, Jude Miley-six months old at the time of the incident-from Dundrum in Dublin underwent surgery at Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children to readjust the contour of his diaphragm, which was causing difficulty in his breathing. Tragically, a suture used during the operation was located too close to Jude´s heart and, every time he took a breath, his heart was getting stabbed by the raw end of the suture.

Two days after the surgery, Jude went into cardiac arrest. Although he was brought round quickly, Jude´s brain had been starved of oxygen during the ordeal. An MRI scan was taken, and it was revealed that he had suffered permanent brain damage. Jude´s parents – Greville and Anne Louise – were informed by medical staff that it the cardiac arrest was a risk associated with the surgery and there was nothing that medical staff could have done.

Both of Jude´s parents gave up their jobs to care for their infant son. Friends of the family raised funds for Jude to have specialist treatment in both the UK and the USA. Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jude´s cardiac arrest. The inquiry excluded Greville and Anne Louise, despite the couple´s request to be informed of any developments.

Greville claimed compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery in an attempt to uncover why their son had suffered such injuries. He claimed that the suture had been placed without the surgeon having sight of Jude´s heart and other vital organs, and also that the hospital had failed to act appropriately when Jude´s parents had raised concerns about Jude´s condition after the operation.

The hospital admitted liability for Jude´s injuries last year, and a €1.8 million settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery agreed to cover the cost of a new home for the family and Jude´s parent loss of income. As the settlement was in respect of a claim on behalf of a child, it had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was appropriate and in Jude’s best interests.

The case was heard at the High Court. Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the details of Jude´s diaphragm condition and the operation that had been scheduled to rectify it. The judge was also informed about Jude´s cardiac arrest and the consequences to his family after it was discovered Jude had suffered brain damage. The judge approved the interim settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery and adjourned the case in order that an assessment can be made of Jude´s future care needs.

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