Girl (6) settles action relating to birth at Waterford Regional Hospital for €8.8m

Girl (6) settles action relating to birth at Waterford Regional Hospital for €8.8m

By Ann O’Loughlin

A six-year-old girl who sued over the circumstances of her birth at Waterford Regional Hospital has settled her High Court action for a once-off lump sum payment of €8.8m.

Martha Gallagher, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told is visually impaired and also has difficulty with her right side peripheral vision.

Martha’s mother Siobhan Gallagher told the High Court the family were glad the case was over and wanted the lump payment settlement which was negotiated after a day of mediation talks so they could finally finish with medical assessments for court.


"We place a huge value on a happy household and we want to live our lives and move on," she told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Martha Gallagher, The Blaskets, Dunmore East, Co Waterford had through her mother Siobhan sued the HSE as a result of the circumstances of her birth at Waterford Regional Hospital in June 2011.

Mrs Gallagher, it was claimed was brought to the hospital on June 8, 2011.

It was claimed the mother’s labour progressed throughout the day but the baby suffered distress which was allegedly not observed or monitored. It was claimed this was especially during the afternoon when the CTG monitoring was allegedly abnormal but this and other clinical signs of foetal distress were allegedly not observed or properly treated.


Martha, it was claimed was eventually delivered at 9.16pm having suffered prolonged partial asphyxia during the course of labour.

There was it was claimed an alleged failure to interpret the signs of foetal distress from early afternoon onwards and an alleged failure to respond appropriately or at all to the abnormal foetal heart rate in the hours prior to delivery.

The claims were denied and the settlement was without admission of liability.

Mrs Siobhan Gallagher told the court when she was admitted to the hospital everything was going well until the afternoon when she said it seemed "incredibly busy" and a member of the team did not seem to be familiar with the equipment. She described the situation as "higgledy piggledy."


She said it seemed to her for a time nobody seemed to be taking control of the situation.

When Martha was born, she said she did not cry for a very long time and she was taken into a room to be treated and it seemed "a lifetime" before she could hold her baby.

She said in the weeks that followed she noticed the baby’s head was small and when she brought her back for a regular checkup several weeks after the birth she still had the head the size of a newborn. Martha did not walk until she was about three years old but the problems with her vision were only diagnosed about one and a half years ago.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said it was a good one and he complemented Martha’s parents Siobhan and Colm for their care of their daughter and said he knew Martha was a joy to her whole family.