€1.8m Wrongful Birth Compensation Awarded Following Incorrect Foetus Test Results

The first ever wrongful birth compensation case in the State has been settled for an interim payment of €1.8m after a mother, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, alleged she was deprived of her right to travel for an abortion.

Her baby was born with the same disabling condition after a prenatal test that was carried on the foetus for that condition came back showing no indication that it was present in the child.

The mother in question told the High Court that she had planned to use her constitutional right to travel to the England for an abortion if the test had shown results showing that her unborn baby had the same debilitating genetic condition. However, her child was deliverd with the this condition and now needs 24-hour care. The mother claims that, based on the test results, she was not allowed informed consent and to make an informed decision in respect of the continuance of her pregnancy.

Legal representative for the mother, Oonagh McCrann SC, advised the High Court that the parents went ahead happily and joyfully with the pregnancy after the normal result was returned on the test. Later, following the birth, they felt considerable shock and grief when they discovered that the rare genetic condition with very significant and profound disability.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross put a barring order in relation to reporting of details that may identify the mother and child publicly. The mother had taken the wrongful birth compensation legal action against the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin. Complete liability in the case was officially admitted on June 13 2018.

The admission stated that “in the particular circumstances of this case and in light of the outcome of the recent referendum repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution”, liability was admitted and the public policy defence was withdrawn.

Mr Justice Cross, remarking that liability had been admitted, said he felt the result of the referendum was not relevant.