Supreme Court approves total liquidation for boy of € 32m


The Supreme Court approved a 25 million euro settlement in the case of a nine-year-old boy who suffered severe brain damage after a failure to diagnose an infection as a baby.

It is the biggest deal in such a case to be approved by the Irish courts.

The total amount of the premium amounts to more than 32 million euros, after an interim agreement of 7,4 million euros for three years.

Judge Kevin Cross emphasized that only a fraction of the money – less than € 500,000 – was compensation for the catastrophic damage done to Benjamin Gillick.

He explained that the bulk of the award is for the cost of the boy's complex care, education, and accommodation needs for the rest of his life.

Yesterday the boy's parents asked the judge not to approve an offer of 22 million euros, saying that the money would end and that his son would be without funds for his care as an adult because of his exceptionally high life expectancy for someone with his son . condition and the highest costs of care in London where the family now lives.

The judge agreed with the parents and the case returned to court later in the afternoon to decide on a larger offer accordingly.

The parents told the judge they were still unhappy with the offer, but Judge Cross said he needed to make a decision based on the best interests of the child. If the case went to a full hearing, there was a risk of it ending up with a smaller number, the judge said.

Yesterday, the boy's father told the court that the numbers in his claim were real numbers based on the actual cost of care in the last three years. The money was and will be controlled by the Court of Protection in London and "every penny is accounted for."

Andrew Gillick cried several times when he told the judge about the son's "exhaustive" regime of therapy for hours every day. He said that yesterday's offer accounted for less than half of his overall claim and noted that his figures were based on an actuarial report.

"Our numbers are open, honest and transparent, every cent of our provisional payment has been released," he said.

His mother, Miriam, described to the court how this will require two and sometimes three caregivers as his son gets older to provide the proper care for him.

She also outlined her educational needs for the future and said that while the family appreciated that these were "massive amounts," each case should be evaluated individually.

She said it was their duty as parents to ensure that there would be enough funds for their son for the rest of his life.

Three years ago, the boy settled his case against Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin with a provisional payment of € 7.4 million. The hospital also apologized in court for faults that caused injuries to Benjamin Gillick.

The boy has cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic and can not speak, heard the Supreme Court. He suffered a brain injury when he was 11 months old.

Benjamin, who is one of the identical twins, was born prematurely in Dublin and later underwent an 11-month procedure at Temple Street Children's Hospital to drain fluid into the brain. A shunt was inserted, but later he returned to the hospital vomiting and feeling sick.

The court heard that a derived infection is a known complication of the procedure and the cause of the negligence was that for up to three days this possibility was not investigated.

Benjamin, from Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod, Dublin, but now living in London, sued Children's Hospital, Temple St, Dublin, for his care in April 2011.

Liability had been admitted to the case and was before the court for damage assessment only.

Judge Kevin Cross said the numbers before the court yesterday and today represented "nothing more" to Benjamin and that they should finance the cost of his care, which amounted to very large sums.

He explained that when an injury is done to an innocent person, it must be placed in the same position as money can do, as it would have been if the injury had not occurred.

Therefore, Benjamin had the right to complete care, aids and devices, assistive technology and special education. "So when the headlines are written, it should be noted that no one is getting a bargain," he said.

The judge said the reason the number was so high in this case was because "fortunately he has a longer life expectancy and would have to be taken care of long after his parents left." The judge said it was very difficult in 2019 to know what the situation would be in 55 or 60 years from now.

The judge said he did not approve the offer of settlement yesterday because of concerns about the cost of future care, but today he approved the increase in the offer because he believed it represented the best interests of the boy, while noting the disappointment of parents .

Then the family lawyer, Michael Boylan, said that Benjamin's parents had fought ruthlessly in his name.

He said the family faced much higher costs of care, accommodation and education because they live in London. He said that if the prize had been made in England, it would have been much higher.

The family will also be charged part of the prize because it should be invested, which would not happen here, Boylan said.


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