By Declan Tierney, Connacht Tribune
The heartbroken parents of a seven year old Galway girl with Cerebral Palsy – this week awarded a €2.5 million interim payment from the HSE – said that they would give every penny back if only their daughter could walk and talk.
Roise Lavery suffers from epilepsy and cerebral palsy; she is unable to speak and is confined to a wheelchair as a result of a drug given to her mum Melissa during childbirth.
And while this week’s interim settlement will secure Roise’s future, her parents say they’d give it all back in an instant if only their daughter could be well.
“It is terrible to think that Roise will never say ‘mommy, I love you’,” said her mother Melissa Lavery, after the family secured the payment in the High Court this week.
The Laverys, from Claregalway, had issued High Court proceedings before the Health Service Executive eventually admitted liability earlier this week.
Melissa Lavery had an uneventful pregnancy with Roise, their first child, and has since had two other healthy children without any complication.
It was alleged that University Hospital Galway failed to monitor and supervise sufficiently and to evaluate the administration of oxytocin, a common drug given during pregnancy to induce labour and to strengthen contractions during childbirth.
Unfortunately in this case its use was not properly monitored, and subsequent failings with the delivery and resuscitation led to a significant lifelong brain injury being suffered by Rosie.
Despite Rosie’s difficulties, her mother Melissa says that she is a happy child and able to communicate with eye, body and sound movements.
“Our other two children (aged three and 19 months) absolutely adore her and Rosie is a very sociable child and loves to be the centre of attention.
“She likes the simple things in life such as hugs and kisses and walks. But it is hard to take that she will never have a normal life when her present condition could have been prevented,” Melissa told the Connacht Tribune.
The family took their legal action with the assistance of solicitor James Glynn of Bruen Glynn and Company in Tuam – and this week in the High Court, the HSE issued an apology through their legal representative.
“On behalf of University Hospital Galway and its staff I unreservedly apologise for the fact that Rosie suffered such significant injury during the course of her delivery at Galway University Hospital on the 19th November 2010,” they said.
When Rosie was born, she was taken to the special baby care unit but her parents were not made aware of any concerns. The parents were told that Rosie was a ‘floppy baby’ who had a low muscle tone.
However, a year and a half later when Rosie could not sit independently or hold a toy, they ultimately discovered to their horror that their daughter had Cerebal Palsy.
Solicitor Mr. Glynn explained that the €2.5 million interim payment covers a three year preiod and will allow the family to secure the proper care for Rosie to include accommodation, assistive technology, physiotherapy and speech therapy.
It will also allow the family to secure a house suitable for Rosie’s needs after they were forced to leave their two-storey semi-detached house in Claregalway and move to north Mayo to be closer to their extended family who according to Melissa have provided huge assistance to them over the last few years.
Rosie’s mother Melissa Lavery was forced to take a long-term career brreak from her job to assist her daughter. Melissa confirms that Rosie is now happily integrated in to the local national school and was even an active participant in the Christmas school play this week,
The family will return to the High Court in less than three years time to secure further payments for their daughter to ensure that she lives life to the full potential and with the best care available.
Melissa hopes by speaking about Rosie’s care that it will help other families who have similar experiences in a maternity hospital and with constant awareness they would hope it will reduce the number of similar cases each year.
Melissa is well aware that this interim settlement will not repair Rosie’s brain injury but she hopes going forward that it will give her “the quality of life she truly deserves”.