Judgment secured against Newham University Hospital NHS Trust

Our client

Nicole* was injured when the supply of oxygen to her brain was temporarily stopped resulting in a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, one of the causes of cerebral palsy. The hypoxic ischaemic brain injury was confirmed following MRI brain scanning when Nicole was 22 months.

Four limbed dystonic cerebral palsy is a form of dyskinetic cerebral palsy. A child who has suffered a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury leading to cerebral palsy will have movement difficulties, for example making unintended, writhing movements and not having control over their posture. Despite severe physical issues, a child with this condition will usually have preserved intelligence and understanding. Nicole is wheelchair bound and her movements are restricted. She can understand words but she cannot speak and she will most likely be dependent on others for the rest of her life.

The result

Our specialist cerebral palsy solicitors who worked on Nicole’s brain injury claim obtained a 90% settlement for Nicole and her family. Although Nicole is too young for her brain injury claim to be properly valued, the 90% settlement means that temporary payments are already being made to cover her immediate needs.

The claims process

When our cerebral palsy solicitors were first contacted in 2008, we started looking into what had happened to Nicole during her birth and the causes of her cerebral palsy. We examined the medical records for Nicole and her mum and obtained the professional views and opinions of experts in midwifery, neonatology paediatric neurology and radiology on the causes of cerebral palsy. We wanted to get a clear picture of exactly what went wrong during Nicole’s birth and how the hypoxic ischaemic brain injury that caused the dystonic cerebral palsy could have been prevented.

In 2010, our specialist brain injury claim solicitors contacted the hospital setting out what had happened to Nicole and how we believed the hospital negligence had been responsible for the hypoxic ischaemic brain injury. This included how the midwife had not ensured Nicole’s mother was properly and regularly medically reviewed, and had not spotted Nicole’s signs of distress in time to speed up delivery, and how these had partly been the causes of her cerebral palsy.

Although our cerebral palsy solicitors started Nicole’s brain injury claim court proceedings, the hospital admitted that they were partly responsible for the causes of Nicole’s cerebral palsy before the case progressed to a hearing.

Did the hospital admit fault?

After witness evidence was exchanged between our cerebral palsy solicitors and the hospital’s representative, the hospital admitted being responsible for 90% of Nicole’s causes of cerebral palsy. The hospital did not take 100% responsibility for the causes of cerebral palsy, as there were complex issues surrounding proving what would most probably have happened to Nicole if the hospital negligence had not taken place.

How was the case funded?

Legal aid was granted and there was no cost to Nicole or her family in making their brain injury claim.

The future for Nicole

Nicole is too young for her brain injury claim to be valued, so the amount of compensation will be decided when she is old enough to be assessed in terms of her mental and physical condition, and her life expectancy. In the meantime, thanks to the compensation secured with respect to the hypoxic ischaemic brain injury that caused her cerebral palsy Nicole and her family are already receiving short-term compensation payments.

*All names have been changed for client privacy.

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