It’s a sign that we’re getting more like the US that a Mr John McAuley, who wanted to film “every precious moment of the first minutes of his baby’s life” sued the midwife at Mount Carmel Hospital for €38,000 damages for interrupting his video of the birth.
Thankfully, it a sign that we’re not quite there yet that the Judge Joseph Mathews threw the case out.
Reading the facts of the case is a jaw-dropping experience. McAuley admitted that “he and his partner had been given a perfectly healthy baby and he could not criticise the hospital in any way for its care of mother and child”. He also admitted that he had recorded 39 minutes of the birth “up to and during an emergency Caesarean delivery” (Jesus!), but said that he had five other 39-minute tapes with him.
The midwife, Iris Halbach, asked for a momentary stop in filming while she carried out emergency clearance of the baby’s airways. She said “Maybe we could hang on a little with the filming until the baby is all recovered, if you don’t mind”, and McAuley described these words as justifying his claim that Ms Halbach had at that moment become “irrational and agitated”.
Now, I have to say here that I am not a video type of person. I don’t have a film of the birth of any of the Tinkids, and never for one second thought of making one. Each of the births (and I have to be honest here and hope Tinson2 and Tingirl never read this, but especially the first one) is seared into my brain in such a way that if I let my mind drift back for a few seconds I can still feel the shock, wonder and joy of the whole thing as clearly as ever. I’ll never need a video for that.
And I can still remember our affection and gratitude for the staff, who were patient, hard-working and caring. After Tinson1 was born, when the nurse who’d sat with us through the whole thing was leaving Mrs Tin hugged her as if she was the best friend she’d ever had, and at that moment she was.
The idea of suing any of the people involved in helping us through these wonderful events just because of a bloody video is just appalling. If McAuley had felt any of the emotions we felt he’d be grateful to Iris forever, instead of trying to make money from her.
Anyway, he lost, and I’m delighted.
Though not, I suspect, as delighted as his friends.
Six 39-minute tapes of his child’s birth?
Now that’s a dinner party you don’t want to be invited to.