Tracey Nelson, whose son Joshua, was born on the 24th of February 2000 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda sued a number of Defendants for negligence.
She claimed that she suffered a Symphysiotomy (a splitting or separation of the Symphysis- Pubis) towards the end of her labour or in the course of the delivery of her son and that this occurred because of the negligence of the doctors who treated her in the hospital.
She also claimed that they failed to diagnosis on the 2nd of February 2000, that she was suffering from a condition known as Symphysis-Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and consequentially failed to take the necessary precautions to have prevented that condition advancing or deteriorating to a Symphysiotomy during labour and delivery.
It was Ms Nelson’s case that she never recovered from this Symphysiotomy and as a consequence has had to endure severe pain since then in her public area and has had to undergo surgery in 2004 to stabilize her pelvis.
As a consequence of the pain and stress associated with her condition she claimed she developed the condition of Fibromyalgia and also suffered from depression.
The case came on for hearing before Justice O’Neill in the High Court and he delivered Judgment on the 8th of March 2013 in favour of the Plaintiff. The Judge said that had proper care been taken to manage and control the movement of Ms Nelson’s legs to avoid abduction it was probable that she would not have suffered this Symphysiotomy. He held that all of this happened because of the failure of the doctors in the hospital to have diagnosed SPD on the 2nd of February 2000 and thereafter having failed to take the appropriate steps to manage her pregnancy so as to avoid the SPD progressing to a Symphysiotomy as occurred.
The Judge found that the failures in this regard fell substantially below the standard of care to be expected of Doctors practicing Obstetrics in a maternity ward such as in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. Accordingly, he held that Ms Nelson was entitled to be compensated in respect of the damage which were accrued to her as a result of that negligence.
The Judge awarded the following damages to Ms Nelson:
- General damages €250,000.00
- Costs of future pain reliving aids – €60,000.00
- Past loss of earnings with interest – €66,297.00
- Future loss of earnings – €200,000.00.
- Future costs of cleaner – €15,000.00.
He granted total judgment for the Plaintiff in the sum of €591,297.