€300k payout for deaf teen

A 17-year-old who claimed his profound hearing loss was not picked up until he was more than three years of age has settled an action for damages over the alleged delay for €300,000.

Liam Burke Castlemaine, Co Kerry, through his mother Mary Burke, sued the HSE and Patricia Heffernan, a senior audiologist with the National Rehabilitation Board, now the HSE Hearing Service, and operating out of Kerry General Hospital, Tralee.

It was claimed that Liam was profoundly deaf and had profound inner hearing loss from birth. The appropriate management to minimise any long-term handicap, it was claimed, would have been for Liam to have had his profound deafness confirmed after failing his screening distinction tests, and to have been referred for cochlear implant.

It was claimed that Liam was misdiagnosed as having a milder hearing loss due to glue ear and had three sets of grommets inserted, none of which significantly reduced his disability or handicap.

The true cause of severity of Liam’s hearing loss was not suspected until he was over three years of age, and was not confirmed until three years and nine months.

It was claimed that Liam’s care by Ms Heffernan and the body now called the HSE Hearing Service fell below an acceptable standard in that Liam’s profound hearing loss was not recognised by Ms Heffernan.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the settlement was without admission of liability.

If you have any hearing loss issues contact Hidden Hearing online or Freephone 1800 370 000.