Waterford News

Waterford teenager wins €7 million in landmark case against the HSE

Waterford teenager wins €7 million in landmark case against the HSE
Darragh Dooley with his father Dermot in Waterford city, 2021

A teenager from Co. Waterford has been awarded €7 million in damages after his mother sued the HSE on his behalf of her son over the circumstances of his birth.

Darragh Dooley was born at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) in October 2009.

Now 13 years old, Darragh is profoundly disabled and is unable to walk, talk, eat normally or see properly. He has an official diagnosis of cerebral palsy with epilepsy.

Darragh requires round-the-clock care — despite receiving just four hours of nursing support from the HSE each week.


The Irish Times writes that Darragh's defence argued in the High Court that the boy's mother should have received a glucose test at both 28 and 32 weeks into her pregnancy to screen for gestational diabetes. Only one test was performed at 28 weeks - a test which showed no signs of any abnormalities.

The boy's counsel told the court that if the test was carried out at 32 weeks action could have been taken in time. The councel also stated that Darragh's birth should have been brought forward by medics at UHW.

Further arguments were made that there was an alleged failure to refer the baby for induced hypothermia after his birth, along with another alleged failure to respond appropriately to the baby's condition following his birth.

Commenting on the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey awarded the teenager €7 million in damages to the boy and what he called "his wonderful parents".


The was no admission of liability by the HSE.

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