Admission of liability for five-year-old girl with cerebral palsy caused by negligent delays at birth

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy specialists have secured an admission of liability for a severely disabled, five-year-old girl who suffered grade 2 hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy when hospital staff failed to recognise signs of fetal distress during her mother’s labour.

Delayed delivery

The child’s delivery was negligently delayed by up to four and a half hours after a pathological trace from the CTG monitor should have prompted staff to check the unborn baby’s wellbeing by taking a fetal blood sample. If they had done so, either the acidotic result or even the failed attempt to obtain the sample would have alerted them to carry out a caesarean section which would have avoided the chronic partial hypoxia which the baby suffered in the final two hours leading up to her birth. In addition, an appropriately timed caesarean section would have avoided any acute near total hypoxic ischaemic insult which might have occurred in the final minutes before delivery.

After being contacted by the child’s parents, Boyes Turner investigated the circumstances of the birth, working with the contemporaneous medical records and our experts to establish whether the child’s severe brain injury was caused by substandard maternity or neonatal care. Having identified a lengthy period of negligent care and established when the permanent brain damage occurred, we then had to establish whether correct treatment would have avoided our client’s injury. The law requires injured claimants to prove that their injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence and would not have happened in any event. If negligence and causation are both proven, then the claimant is entitled to compensation.

Having established both negligence and causation, our brain injury lawyers put the claim to the defendant hospital. They admitted that there were negligent delays in carrying out delivery of our client. They denied, however, that the claimant’s injury was caused by their negligence.

Issuing proceedings

Boyes Turner issued proceedings and pursued the claim, which was initially defended on causation. However, when the time came to disclose their expert evidence to justify their continuing denial of the claim, the defendant finally made a full admission of liability. We are now arranging for judgment to be entered.

Result of the negligence

The claimant is severely disabled. She has whole body cerebral palsy with microcephaly, epilepsy, visual impairment and difficulty chewing and swallowing. She has significant learning disabilities and will never be able to work or manage her own affairs and has a shortened life expectation. She is totally dependant on others for all her needs.

We are applying for an interim payment to meet the claimant’s urgent needs for care, therapies, adapted accommodation and specialist equipment whilst we work with experts to value her claim.

If you or someone you care for has suffered permanent disability as a result of negligent medical care please contact us by email at cerebralpalsy@boyesturner.com

I have to say I was extremely impressed with the service in what was a very difficult time for myself and my family. The advice and support I had from the team was fantastic and invaluable. They put mine and my wife's mind at rest on many occasions and got a great result for us. Thank you from all of us.

Mr Horne

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