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Dublin: -1 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020

'Nothing will ever remove our grief for the life Sadhbh lost': Settlement reached in brain damage case

Sadhbh Farrell was left with severe cerebral palsy after she failed to receive treatment for jaundice shortly after birth.

University Hospital Galway
University Hospital Galway
Image: Brian Farrell/

THE FAMILY OF Sadhbh Farrell has received an apology from University Hospital Galway (UHG), after the six-year-old was left severely brain damaged after a delay in receiving treatment for jaundice just after she was born in 2011.

A court has ruled an interim settlement of €2.6 million will be made to the family, and UHG has expressed its “deepest regret” and apologised for its “failings of care provided to Sadhbh”.

In a statement, the Farrell family said that the settlement reached “will never remove our ongoing grief for the independent life lost to Sadhbh”.

Sadhbh Farrell was born on 23 January 2011. Her mother expressed concern within a day that she might be jaundiced and, although jaundice was noted by a district nurse, no further tests were carried out.

The family said that babies born at less than 38 weeks – Sadhbh was born at 36 weeks – are at increased risk of jaundice and that it is mandatory for the serum blood bilirubin to be measured.

It wasn’t until 31 January that this test was carried out and her bilirubin level was found to be at 756. A level over 425 is deemed as toxic and can cause irreversible brain damage.

She received treatment at the A&E department in UHG before being transferred to Temple Street in Dublin where these bilirubin levels were stabilised.

The damage had already been done, however. Sadhbh was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy and will require care for the rest of her life.

Her family said in a statement: “The failings in Sadhbh’s medical care in the days following her birth will restrict her ability to live out every aspect of her life, to fulfil her dreams and the dreams that we had for her when she was born.

The interim settlement we have reached today will never remove our ongoing grief for the independent life lost to Sadhbh, but will now help our little girl get the care and support needed to have every opportunity to live as full a life as possible.

“We would like to thank everyone involved in the care of Sadhbh over the past 6 years, especially, our families, neighbours and friends for their continued support to all five of us.”

RTÉ reports that in a letter to the family read out today, the hospital said: “We do not underestimate how difficult and traumatic this has been for you and your families and the challenges that you and your families have faced as a result of the failings in treatment and care provided to Sadhbh.”

Read: Brain-damaged woman receives €4 million settlement from HSE

Read: Man dies after being left ‘brain-dead’ in French drug trial

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Sean Murray

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