The High Court has approved two settlements totalling almost €18 million for two young boys whose mother was prescribed the epilepsy drug Epilim while she was pregnant.
Consultant neurologist Raymond Murphy is being sued by Elizabeth Elliott Clarke, of Rathfarnham in Dublin, on behalf of her two sons, Jack, 13, and Tom, 9, reports RTE.
She claims that both of her children suffer from autism due to the administration of sodium valproate, or Epilim, during pregnancy.
A €15 million settlement was approved for Jack by the High Court without any admission of liability by the defendant.
The defendant admitted responsibility in Tom’s case and a €2.65m settlement was approved, which was to be reviewed again in seven years.
Mrs Clarke and her husband Kent have a third case pending in court involving their daughter Hannah, who is now 15, reports RTE.
In a statement read out by Mrs Clarke, she said the outcome of today’s cases meant ‘quite simply, vindication’ and that blame for the injuries sustained by her children would not lie at their door, reports RTE.
Mrs Clarke said the family had to live with the injuries their children sustained every day, but the hardest thing they had to realize was that it was now clearly established that none of this was to happen.
Solicitor Ciara McPhillips, of Michael Boylan Litigation, said about 1,200 children were believed to have been affected in the state and that her firm handled about 30 similar cases.
Senior Counsel Aongus O’Brolchin told the judge he would be impressed by the story of the care Mr and Mrs Clarke have provided to three children with autism. He described them as “quite amazing”, reports RTE.
In her complaint, Mrs Clarke said that if she had been made aware of the risks of her children taking Epilim during pregnancy, she would have opted for an alternative treatment and in all likelihood her children would not they would have suffered what happened.
She stated that the neurologist did not discuss with her the risks associated with Epilim for pregnancy, reports RTE.
Both boys have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and have a lot of difficulties as a result.
The court heard that the family wanted to use some of the money to build a house or adapt the house to the children’s needs.
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