£3.1m plus lifelong payments of up to £133,250 per year for child brain-injured by untreated hypoglycaemia

Boyes Turner’s specialists in neonatal brain injury claims secured a settlement for a child who suffered a brain injury when midwives failed to recognise and treat signs of neonatal hypoglycaemia. The injury to his brain caused severe disability from intellectual impairment and delayed development, impaired speech and language skills and motor co-ordination. He suffers from epilepsy. He has behavioural problems and special educational needs. He requires assistance with most aspects of daily living.

Risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia increased by IUGR and low birthweight (small for dates)

Our client’s mother was admitted to hospital with symptoms of pre-eclampsia towards the end of her pregnancy. An ultrasound scan revealed that the baby had IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction) and a dangerous lack of amniotic fluid. The baby was delivered in good condition but was ‘small for dates’. His birthweight was very low.

The hospital’s own protocol for managing neonatal hypoglycaemia identified that babies who were ‘small for dates’ were at increased risk of hypoglycaemia. The protocol set out guidelines for testing those babies’ blood glucose (sugar) levels regularly. Our client’s IUGR, small size and low birthweight should have prompted the midwives to recognise that he was at risk of hypoglycaemia. They should have followed the guidance for regular blood glucose testing as set out in the protocol. Instead, they failed to test the newborn baby’s blood glucose correctly and discharged him from hospital the day after his birth ignoring his mother’s concerns that he was lethargic, sleeping excessively and his feeding was poor.

At home, the baby’s condition deteriorated. He continued to sleep too much and wouldn’t feed. When his lips turned blue his mother assumed he was cold and wrapped him up. When he started grunting she called the hospital and spoke to the midwife who told her to bring the baby to the hospital immediately. The baby stopped breathing on the way to the hospital but then revived. On arrival at hospital he was transferred to the neonatal unit (NNU). The neonatal staff found him unresponsive, having convulsions (fits) and profoundly hypoglycaemic. He received treatment to increase his blood sugar quickly but safely via an initial dose followed by an IV infusion. He was also treated with anti-epileptic medication.

Claiming compensation for neonatal hypoglycaemia brain injury

We notified the defendant hospital of our client’s claim for compensation for his brain injury arising from the midwives’ failure to monitor and maintain his blood glucose at safe levels in the neonatal period after his birth. The defendant hospital denied liability for our client’s brain injury and maintained that position throughout the claim but, without supportive expert evidence, they were forced to admit liability (fault) in the lead up to trial.

We secured judgment for our client and an interim payment of £1million. This paid for a behaviour management programme for our client and helped buy and adapt a more suitable home which enabled him to live at home with his family whilst having his specialist needs met.

We helped our client’s family appoint a Court of Protection deputy. A case manager helped manage his care, therapies and SEN support at school.

The case concluded with an out-of-court settlement which gives our client a £3.1 million lump sum and guaranteed annual payments rising to £133,250 per year for life.

If you are caring for a child or teenager with a brain injury caused by medical negligence, you can find out more about making a claim by speaking to one of our clinical negligence solicitors, free and confidentially, contact us by email at cerebralpalsy@boyesturner.com.

I try to assist lawyers by explaining, in clear and comprehensible terms, what the relevant issues are and where the strengths and weaknesses of the case lie.

DR PETER DEAR

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