8-yr-old autistic Dublin boy gets €10 million settlement over link between autism and lack of oxygen at birth – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

8-yr-old autistic Dublin boy gets €10 million settlement over link between autism and lack of oxygen at birth




The Supreme Court has approved a settlement of 10 million euros in the case of an eight-year-old autistic boy who sued the National Maternity for the circumstances of his birth.

This is only the second such case brought to court to establish an alleged link between autism and lack of oxygen at birth.

RTE reports that no liability was admitted in this case. Lawyers for Aston Shiels Flynn said it was the highest settlement for an autism-related birth injury.

Aston is at the highest end of the autism spectrum, has developmental delays and limited speech.

Gorey’s son, Co Wexford, through his mother Michelle Shiels, had sued the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin on March 7, 2014 over the circumstances of his birth.

The court was told that the family’s medical experts would say that Aston should have given birth four days earlier and that her delivery and prenatal care had not been handled properly, report RTE.

It has been claimed that the baby and his mother were not properly diagnosed, treated and cared for, leading to the suspicion of acute hypoxia before and during delivery.

It was also alleged that there had been a delay in diagnosing hypoglycaemia, the claims were dismissed, according to the national broadcaster.

Lead solicitor Richard Kean said the settlement marked the end of an eight-year battle for the Aston family and came after lengthy negotiations.

He said this is the second such case in court trying to establish an alleged link between autism and hypoxic events during childbirth.

Kean said the settlement represented 50% of the total value of the case. He said the hospital completely denied responsibility and causation.

Aston’s mother, Michelle Shiels, told the court she was relieved by the settlement and said she could “go ahead and do the best we can for our son”, reports RTE.

Judge Paul Coffey approved the settlement, saying it was a very sad and tragic case and accepting that there are significant litigation risks in the case.

The judge said the €10 million offered was a fair and reasonable settlement and wished the family all the best for the future.

Outside of court, family lawyer Georgina Robinson said the settlement was the end of an eight-year battle for Aston’s parents, Michelle and Damien.

She said the deal will secure Aston’s future and give Michelle and Damien peace of mind that Aston will be cared for for the rest of her life.

According to RTE, she said, “Today, Aston is a happy eight-year-old boy who, despite his condition, lives his life in the company of his loving family,”

Throughout this process, they have only ever sought a fair settlement for Aston which will provide for his future and for specialist treatment which may help him become more independent. Therapy is key to Aston living his best life and today’s settlement will ensure that Aston receives the best treatment possible.

Finally, Michelle and Damien have asked me to thank the Court, Aston’s medical legal experts and his entire legal team for all they have done to achieve today’s result for Aston.”

They hope the Aston case will allow our medical system to focus on quality health care for pregnant women and more resources to be allocated to children with autism and related neurological conditions across our public health system.

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