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€300k Settlement After Failure to Detect Girls Hearing Loss
Coleman Legal LLP
Oct 21, 2022

A settlement of €300,000 was approved today by the High Court in the case of a nine-year-old girl whose hearing loss was not detected for three years.

€300k Settlement After Failure to Detect Girls Hearing Loss

The affected girl from Ballina in Co. Mayo underwent her first hearing test at the age of one. Despite this test, her mild to moderate hearing loss was never diagnosed until she reached the age of four.

This girl is but one of a number of those identified after a review of the audiology services in the West was carried out between 2011 and 2015.

Upon the ‘look back’ examination conducted by the HSE on over 900 cases, they found that 49 children had been affected.

The HSE apologised after 13 children were identified as being affected due to the failures of the Mayo and Roscommon clinics in diagnosing patients.

The Plaintiff claimed there were a number of failures on the part of the HSE during her early audiological management.

The Senior Counsel, Hugh O’Keeffe, stated that this delayed diagnosis could have had an effect on his client’s speech and language ability.

It was heard by the court that the plaintiff had failed a hearing test during a development health check at 9 months, which is why she was referred to the Mayo University Hospital Audiology service.

During an assessment at the hospital on the 19th of June 2014, the plaintiff was concluded to have normal hearing.

It was found that there were multiple alleged failures during this assessment, including the failure to conduct pure tone testing of any kind.

The Plaintiff was later called for another test at the age of 4, during which mild to moderate severity hearing loss was detected.

The Plaintiff argued that if her hearing loss had been identified during the initial test, it would have allowed her the opportunity to develop a comprehensive audiological management plan in place, including liaison with speech and language services.

It was claimed that after being diagnosed correctly and having grommets inserted in 2018, she experienced great improvement in her hearing. While the HSE did admit to a breach of duty concerning the delay in her diagnosis, they denied all other claims.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey approved the settlement, stating it was fair and reasonable, he wished the girl and her family luck for the future. 

Keith Rolls Partner Coleman Legal LLP

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