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Lauren* was a victim of birth injury negligence when delays during her delivery caused the supply of oxygen to her brain to be temporarily stopped. This resulted in an hypoxic ischaemic injury, and severe mixed spastic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
A child with spastic cerebral palsy cannot relax their muscles, and the muscles become unyielding and tight (hypertonia). This means the child will have a narrower range of movement – this can cause problems with speaking, feeding, grasping and other movements that require coordination.
Lauren relies completely on others for all elements of her daily life and will continue to do so. She has learning difficulties, problems with her sight and she suffers from uncomfortable gastro-oesophageal reflux.
Our team obtained a 90% settlement for Lauren and her family as a result of the birth injury negligence.
The claims process
Lauren’s parents contacted our team of cerebral palsy solicitors in 2008 and we immediately began looking at how Lauren was born and what happened to her during the birth to cause her spastic cerebral palsy. We obtained medical records for Lauren and her mum and we asked for the views and opinions of five expert witnesses on the hypoxic ischaemic injury in areas such as midwifery and obstetrics. We wanted to establish exactly what went wrong during Lauren’s birth that caused the spastic cerebral palsy and where this could have been prevented.
In 2010, our cerebral palsy solicitors got in touch with the hospital to set out what had happened to Lauren and her mum during the birth and how we believed birth injury negligence had occurred. This included how the hospital staff had not kept a close enough eye on Lauren’s mum and how Lauren’s delivery was delayed because an urgent assessment of her mum wasn’t carried out, resulting in the hypoxic ischaemic injury.
Although the case against the hospital began, it did not get to court. Shortly after we had handed over our expert evidence our cerebral palsy solicitors met representatives for the hospital and a settlement was agreed on a 90/10 split.
Did the hospital admit fault?
The hospital was willing to settle. The 90/10 split settlement negotiated by our cerebral palsy solicitors took into account the fact that the circumstances of the birth injury negligence that caused the hypoxic ischaemic injury and led to the spastic cerebral palsy meant that there was a small chance a claim could have been lost if the case had gone to court.
The future for Lauren
Lauren is too young for the full consequences of the hypoxic ischaemic injury and the extent of her spastic cerebral palsy to be accurately determined. However, a professional investigation into her ongoing and future special needs is being carried out and in the meantime temporary short-term payments are being made to support Lauren and her family until her birth injury negligence claim is valued.
*All names have been changed for client privacy.
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