Compensation claim settled following failure to treat newborn jaundice

Our client

Oscar* (now three years old) was born prematurely and developed jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels after he was admitted to the hospital’s neonatal unit. He has cerebral palsy caused by bilirubin toxicity.

Jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels is a very common condition in newborn babies, particularly premature babies. If the bilirubin levels become too high this causes a condition called hyperbilirubinaemia, which should be treated with phototherapy. If jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels are not treated then a condition known as kernicterus may develop where bilirubin in the blood enters the brain and leads to brain damage.

The result

Our specialist cerebral palsy claim solicitors obtained a judgment in favour of Oscar and his family. The amount of birth injury compensation Oscar will receive will be assessed when he is older.

The claims process

When our cerebral palsy claim solicitors were first contacted by Oscar’s family we started investigating exactly what had happened to him after his premature birth. This involved looking at the medical records for both Oscar and his mum and getting the professional views and opinions of a range of medical experts. These included a professor of neonatology, a paediatric neurologist and a neuroradiologist who our cerebral palsy claim solicitors asked to help to establish exactly what went wrong after Oscar’s birth and how the jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels which caused the cerebral palsy could have been prevented.

In 2010, our cerebral palsy claim solicitors contacted the hospital setting out what had happened to Oscar and how we believed the hospital negligence had occurred. This included how Oscar’s jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels could have been treated by phototherapy, which would have prevented the cerebral palsy and avoided the need for a cerebral palsy claim and birth injury compensation.

Did the hospital admit fault?

Yes. The hospital admitted that if Oscar’s jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels had been treated, he would have avoided cerebral palsy.

How was the case funded?

Legal aid was granted for Oscar’s cerebral palsy claim and there was no cost to Oscar or his family.

The future for Oscar

Whilst the impact of the hospital negligence on Oscar’s injury, his intellect and cognition won’t become clear until he is older, thanks to the judgment secured by our cerebral palsy claim solicitors Oscar will definitely receive birth injury compensation. Until the value of Oscar’s cerebral palsy claim can be valued, he and his family are receiving short-term temporary payments as part of his birth injury compensation package to cover his immediate special needs.

*All names have been changed for client privacy. 

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.


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