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Family of child with brain injury slam "unacceptable" nine-year HSE delay

The HSE only last month admitted liability in the case of Tadhg Costello.

Image: Shutterstock/Paul Vinten

THE FAMILY OF an eight-year-old boy who suffered severe brain injury at birth have reached a settlement with the HSE but says the apology is “incomplete”.

Tadhg Costello was born in Kerry General Hospital in May 2006 and is unable to speak or move his limbs.

The HSE admitted liability for what happened during his birth only last month.

In a statement by Tadhg’s parents Mary and Gerard released following the settlement, the couple said that today is “the day on which we dare to hope that life will become a little easier for Tadgh”.

Since the day Tadgh was born he has had to meet so many unnecessary and arduous challenges in the course of his young life – a childhood punctuated with all too frequent hospital stays and medical interventions.

Today’s settlement will allow us to provide the 24 hour specialist care which has been denied for all his life to date. It is unacceptable however, that the HSE have denied liability for the last 9 years.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mary Costello says the HSE’s delay in admitting liability has caused major problems for the family.

“It made things a lot more difficult, we basically had to take them on and risk everything we had, our home, to bring them to court, for this case to happen,” she says.

Mary Costello said that things were especially difficult for the family first few years after his birth.

Tadgh’s injuries mean he sufferers from a range of medical problems including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

At the time of the birth, Mary Costello says the medical team decided that an emergency section needed but that it did not begin until over an hour later.

Costello says that the obstetrician at the time cried with them after the birth:

You have to deal with the aftermath of that, they effectively close the doors on you. They don’t give you any explanation. We met with the obstetrician and he openly admitted that there was wrong. He cried with us and we expected with that that admission of liability would follow.

The agreement reached with the family is only an interim settlement and deals with Tadgh’s birth.

“My husband and I agree that their apology is incomplete, the apology addresses the birth but we know that they didn’t set out that morning to injure our son,” Mary Costello says.

“We realise that but they did intentionally set out to hide this from us and deny liability  adding insult to injury that is even more difficult to deal with.”

Read: Parents say High Court ruling is impacting how complaints can be made against doctors >

Read: Stark differences between childbirth procedures in public and private hospitals >

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Rónán Duffy

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