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Wexford: Settlement for Matthew McGrath paralysed after hospital treatment

Matthew McGrath and his family Image copyright RTE
Image caption The settlement provides for the next five years of Matthew's care

A 3.8m euro (£2.7m) settlement has been agreed by the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland in the case of a boy who was left paralysed after being treated for meningitis.

Matthew McGrath, now 12, was left without the use of his arms and legs after contracting meningitis when he was 17 months old.

Wexford General Hospital has admitted liability to Matthew and his parents.

The high court settlement is an interim one to cover five years of his care.

Puncture

In May 2004, Matthew was unwell and his GP referred him to Wexford General Hospital for urgent assessment.

He was admitted just after midnight and observed, but meningitis was not diagnosed at that time.

His condition deteriorated and the next morning a consultant carried out a lumbar puncture procedure.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption The court heard that Matthew McGrath is cheerful, engaging and a totally involved member of society

Mr McGrath's lawyer told the court that this caused a collapse in the brain and compromised the spinal cord.

Matthew was left completely paralysed, but survived intellectually.

He needs permanent ventilation and uses a colostomy bag and a catheter.

The court heard that he is very cheerful, engaging and a totally involved member of society.

But he requires 24-hour care and his life expectancy has been shortened.

Challenges

The settlement will be reviewed again after five years.

Matthew spoke with the judge in court and said he was happy to be at home and happy with the settlement.

Speaking outside court afterwards, Matthew's mother Cathy said it had been a fight and life would still be the same, but now "we don't have to take on the system".

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