Michelle Fitzpatrick with her son Paul: 'I was shouting is everything okay and I was ignored'

A MOTHER who sued a hospital for €4.5m over complications during the birth of her son has called for greater transparency between hospital staff and patients.

Michelle Fitzpatrick, whose son Paul was starved of oxygen for half an hour during birth and left with severe brain damage, said the system should be more open when procedures go drastically wrong.

Her calls are to be echoed at a conference this week in which a potential obligation for 'duty of candour' among health professionals will be debated.

Paul's parents Michelle and Paul Fitzpatrick found themselves locked in a legal battle lasting a record 59 days, over nearly six years, to find out exactly what went wrong during their son's birth.

Paul, who was born on St Stephen's Day in 2001, sued the National Maternity Hospital through his mother and won, although due to the terms of the settlement Holles Street gave no admission of liability.

The judge said Paul (8) would not have been disabled only for the "substandard and negligent" management of his birth. Michelle said her family was kept completely in the dark. "It's not the life that he was supposed to have. His life was taken away from him by that hospital," she said.

"It's hard and everything is a struggle. He can't do anything on his own; he has severe brain damage."

The middle child of five, Paul has cerebral palsy and requires constant care, a central reason for the extent of the financial settlement.

"I went into labour on Christmas Day. We had no clue that anything was going wrong with the labour; no one was saying anything," said Michelle.

"We thought everything was fine but when Paul was born it was the first time I knew something was wrong because they carried him over to the other side of the room and they were there for about 15 minutes. We were being ignored and didn't know what was going on.

"I was shouting across the room saying is everything okay and I was ignored. I only found out that they were trying to resuscitate him during the court case. We didn't know he was practically dead until the court case."