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Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy lawyers have secured a £2,225,000 compensation settlement for a boy whose brain was severely damaged when he was deprived of oxygen in the womb during a twin to twin transfusion.
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (or TTTS) is a condition affecting identical twins sharing a single placenta (monochorionic twins) in which abnormal blood vessel connections in the placenta allow the blood supply to flow disproportionately to one twin. During TTTS, the donor twin is left undernourished and the recipient twin risks heart failure from blood overload and complications from a build-up of amniotic fluid.
Incorrect management of TTTS in monochorionic twin pregnancy
During the twin pregnancy, ultrasound scans revealed a monochorionic pregnancy in which the identical twins shared one placenta but had separate amniotic sacs. At just over 24 weeks of pregnancy, the consultant obstetrician noted that the antenatal scans suggested TTTS, but instead of referring the mother to a fetal medicine unit for treatment with fetal laser ablation (to seal the abnormal connections between the twins), he treated the pregnancy as if it were a dichorionic pregnancy, delaying referral until 26 weeks gestation.
By the time the referral was made, the unborn twins were suffering from severe TTTS and it was too late for further damage to the twins to be prevented by fetal laser ablation treatment. The twins were eventually delivered prematurely by caesarean section.
Hypoxic ischaemic brain damage from reduced blood flow during TTTS
Our client, the first twin, was born in very poor condition and needed ventilation. Head scans subsequently revealed that he had sustained ischaemic damage to his brain. The experts in the case later agreed that he suffered severe cystic periventricular leukomalacia probably caused by hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and reduced blood flow to the brain as a result of twin to twin transfusion syndrome.
Negligence admitted but causation denied
The defendant hospital admitted that the consultant obstetrician had incorrectly managed the TTTS but denied that with correct treatment fetal laser ablation treatment would have been offered in time to avoid the need for early delivery and the brain injury to the claimant.
During the preparations for a heavily contested liability trial we were concerned that the success of the claim depended on the trial judge’s findings in relation to complex issues of fact and the differing views of the medical experts. This meant that there was a significant ‘litigation risk’ that our client might not be able to recover any compensation, if the judge decided that the consultant’s mistake made no difference to his outcome.
At a round table meeting, the defendant initially refused to enter into any settlement agreement. However, after further negotiations we were able to secure a liability settlement at 50% of full value, removing the litigation risk to our severely disabled client and guaranteeing that the family would receive substantial compensation to help with his fulltime care. We obtained judgment and an interim payment of £250,000 to help meet our client’s immediate needs whilst we worked with his family and our experts to value the claim.
£2,225,000 settlement guarantees money available to pay for lifelong essential care
Our client has severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy with cortical visual impairment and severe learning difficulties. He has been fed throughout his life by gastrostomy and will need full time care for the remainder of his shortened life. The case finally settled for £2,225,000 guaranteeing our client has provision for suitable accommodation and lifelong care.
Our client has the benefit of Court of Protection deputyship. The family’s privacy is protected by an anonymity order.
If your child has cerebral palsy or other serious neurological disability caused by medical negligence and you would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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