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€100,000 settlement for scar caused by adverse reaction to ‘trial’ lotion

Sophia Ryan was born 17 weeks early, at Holles Street Hospital, Dublin in October 2012.  She was transferred immediately to the Special Care Baby Unit where medication was administered to her via catheters.  Prior to the insertion of the catheters, as part of a national trial, a lotion called Chlorhexidine was used to clean Sophie’s skin, with the permission of her mother, Anne.  Anne had been assured that it would not have any side effects and nor would it cause her daughter any pain.  

The following morning, however, nurses noticed that Sophia was distressed and had redness and ulcerations on her back and it is believed that this was caused by an allergic reaction to the lotion, Chlorhexidine.  Sophia was given morphine for the pain and an anti-bacterial skin cream was applied.

It was noted by a plastic surgeon that Sophia had sustained a deep dermal skin burn so an alternate cream was applied.  Her condition improved, but she has been left with a scar and discolouration to the area, similar to a chemical burn.

Sophia’s father, Tim, claimed compensation on behalf of his daughter as Sophia’s mum, Anne, would never have approved the use of the trial lotion, had she known about the possible side effects.

The hospital offered €100,000, without an admission of liability, which settlement was approved by Mr. Justice Richard Humphries, who also ordered the hospital to pay the Ryans’ costs.   It is likely that Sophia will require a skin graft in the future to hide the scar and discolouration. 

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