£11.5 million for boy with dyskinetic cerebral palsy from negligent 'water birth'

GBP11.5 million for boy with dyskinetic cerebral palsy from negligent water birth

Boyes Turner’s birth injury lawyers have secured an £11.5m settlement for a boy whose severe dyskinetic, four-limb cerebral palsy was caused by negligent midwifery care during his ‘water birth’ delivery. 

Midwife failed to remove mother from the birthing pool following abnormal signs

His brain was deprived of oxygen (hypoxia) in the final minutes before his birth when the midwife allowed his delivery to continue in the birthing pool, even though his heart rate was abnormally high (tachycardia) and his mother’s contractions were decreasing. Given these abnormal signs, correct maternity care would have been to remove his mother from the birthing pool so that the baby could be delivered quickly. 

Delayed delivery caused hypoxic brain damage and cerebral palsy

When he was finally delivered, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and body. He made no attempt to breathe and needed cardiac massage before he finally began to gasp at 12 minutes of life. Once he was breathing regularly, he was transferred to SCBU where he suffered from seizures. Blood tests revealed that he was acidotic (suggesting hypoxia). He has severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy. 

Hospital admitted maternity care was negligent but denied causing disability

When our client’s family approached us, we agreed to help them pursue a claim. The defendant hospital admitted that negligent maternity care led to delay in the baby’s delivery but denied that our client would have avoided his injury if correct treatment had been given. They argued that given the timing of events in the final minutes of labour and delivery, even with correct care our client would have suffered significant mental and physical disability. 

Liability settlement protects child’s right to substantial compensation

Our client’s entitlement to compensation to pay for lifelong care for his devastating injuries depended on which of the differing experts’ opinions the liability trial judge preferred. The disputed timings about how quickly the baby would have been delivered if the midwife had responded correctly to the abnormal signs all took place within a six-minute timeframe. Given the significant risk that our client might not succeed in proving that the midwife’s negligence caused all of his disability, we negotiated a 90% liability (fault) settlement and judgment in favour of our client. This guaranteed that he would receive 90% of the full value of his claim, protecting his entitlement to substantial compensation. 

Interim payment, lump sum settlement and lifelong annual payments

We obtained interim payments of £275,000 to meet our client’s urgent needs for case management, therapies, specialist equipment and respite care whilst we worked with his family and our experts to value the claim. Having quantified the cost of meeting our client’s lifelong needs, we met with the defendants and were able to negotiate a settlement of the claim. The settlement provides our client with a lump sum of £4million, together the security of guaranteed, tax free, index-linked lifelong annual payments (PPO) rising to £280,000 per year, to cover the costs of his essential care. 

The court approved the settlement. Our client has the protection of Court of Protection deputyship and an anonymity order. 

If you are caring for a child or young adult with cerebral palsy or other neurological injury caused by maternity or neonatal negligence and would like to find out more about how we can help you make a claim, 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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