9-yr-old girl awarded €300,000 from HSE after her hearing loss went undetected for three years – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

9-yr-old girl awarded €300,000 from HSE after her hearing loss went undetected for three years

The High Court approved a €300,000 settlement in the case of a nine-year-old girl whose hearing loss went unrecognised for more than three years.

Shirley Collins, from Ballina in Co Mayo, had her first hearing test done when she was just over a year old.

However, her mild to moderate hearing loss was not diagnosed until she was tested again at age four.

The court heard that the girl was one of several children identified in a review of audiology services in the West between 2011 and 2015.

According to RTE, the HSE “look back” looked at more than 900 cases and found that 49 children had been affected.

Thirteen were identified as having hearing loss during retesting. The HSE later apologized for identified service failures at Mayo and Roscommon.

In her High Court action against HSE, it was stated that there were a number of flaws in her early audiological management.

Legal counsel Hugh O’Keeffe said the delay in diagnosis may have affected her speech and language.

The court heard that the girl was given a hearing test as part of a nine-month developmental health check, but she failed and she was referred to Mayo University Hospital’s audiology service.

She underwent an evaluation on June 19, 2014 at the hospital when she was over a year old and a diagnosis of normal hearing was made.

It has been claimed that there have been a number of alleged flaws in that assessment, including the fact that no pure tone test of any kind was attempted.

She was called in for more tests in 2017 when she was four years old and was diagnosed with hearing loss of mild to moderate severity.

Her attorneys said that if her hearing loss was identified at age one, she would have a comprehensive audiology management plan, including linkage to speech and language services.

Her hearing improved after the grommets were inserted in 2018. The HSE admitted a breach of duty in the case in relation to the delay in diagnosis, but denied all other claims.

In approving the deal, Judge Paul Coffey said it was a fair and reasonable deal and wished the girl and her family all the best for the future.

Following the settlement, the family’s attorney, Ciaran Tansey, said the Collins family was “delighted that today’s outcome will allow Shirley to undergo the panoply of treatments she needs,” reports RTE.

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