£11.8 million settlement in birth injury claim for child with cerebral palsy

Boyes Turner’s birth injury claims specialists have secured an £11.8 million* settlement for a child who was left with severe physical disability from cerebral palsy after she suffered a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury (HIE) from negligent delays at the time of her birth.

Misinterpreted CTG traces and delayed delivery

Our client was her mother’s first baby. Her mother’s labour was induced in hospital at nearly 42 weeks of pregnancy. Her waters broke during labour, in the early hours of the morning on the day of delivery, and the draining fluid was noted to be stained with meconium.

At 10.20am the CTG which was monitoring the fetal heart rate was noted to be ‘suspicious’ with reduced beat-to-beat variability. From 11.11am until eventual delivery at 6.32pm, the CTG showed abnormalities which our experts believed should have been rated ‘pathological’, indicating that the baby was suffering fetal distress. However, the maternity staff failed to recognise that the CTG was anything more than suspicious, and failed to take appropriate action to reduce the risk of severe injury to the baby and safely expedite delivery.

Our experts believed that correct care would have led to a decision being made at 2.40pm to perform a caesarean section, resulting in delivery by 3.55pm at the latest. Instead, a decision was finally made at 5.45pm to try to deliver the baby by forceps in theatre. Unsuccessful attempts at forceps delivery began at 6.16pm. At the same time the baby’s heart rate was found to be abnormally low (bradycardia), a dangerous sign that is often seen before an unborn baby with fetal distress suffers permanent hypoxic brain injury. The attempted forceps delivery was abandoned and the baby was finally delivered by emergency caesarean section at 6.32pm.

Cerebral palsy caused by lack of oxygen during labour

The baby needed resuscitation at birth. She was admitted to the neonatal unit and given anti-convulsant medication. Blood tests showed that she was acidotic, indicating that she had suffered from oxygen deprivation. An MRI scan revealed that she had suffered the type of brain injury that is caused by an acute (sudden) period of almost total lack of oxygen in the final minutes immediately before birth.

Our client has dyskinetic cerebral palsy with preserved intellect but impaired mobility, speech and language. She has an increased risk of epilepsy. She will always be dependent on others for care and support and will need adapted accommodation, specialist equipment and therapies. Our medical experts believed that if correct care had led to earlier delivery, her impairments would have been completely avoided.

Compensation provides £3.65m lump sum plus lifelong annual payments for care

The settlement provides our client with a £3.65m lump sum plus guaranteed index-linked PPO annual payments rising to £183,479pa to pay for her care. 

The settlement figure takes into account an agreed reduction at the liability (fault) stage of the claim for the significant risks to our client arising from the expert evidence in this complex and strongly contested case. Following the liability judgment, we secured an interim (advance) payment of £250,000 to provide for our client’s immediate needs whilst we continued working with our experts to value the claim.  The final settlement ensures that she will have enough money to meet her extensive needs arising from her disability, for the rest of her predicted long life.

Our client’s compensation is protected via a personal injury trust. Her family’s privacy is protected by an anonymity order.

* capitalised equivalent

If your child has cerebral palsy or neurological disability as a result of medical negligence or you have been contacted by HSSIB/MNSI or NHS Resolution, you can talk to a solicitor, free and confidentially, for advice about how to respond or make a claim by contacting us.

They have a great deal of knowledge and expertise, and client care seems to be their top priority.

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