Liability settlement for 14yr old with dystonic cerebral palsy

Boyes Turner’s expert cerebral palsy lawyers have obtained a liability settlement for a 14 year old boy with dystonic cerebral palsy. The claimant’s condition was caused by acute, profound asphyxia in the final minutes leading up to his birth.

The claimant was his mother’s fourth child. She contacted the hospital at the end of her pregnancy complaining of short, painful, regular contractions. She was asked to come in but was then discharged home following a reassuring CTG trace of the fetal heart-rate. The next evening whilst at home her waters broke and she went into hospital. She was having mild but irregular contractions. The rupture of her membranes was confirmed on examination and the liquor noted to be clear. CTG monitoring of the fetal heart-rate was again normal and remained so for the rest of that night. 

In the early hours of the next morning the claimant’s mother requested an epidural. Her request was refused because she was experiencing expulsive contractions. The midwife noted that the fetal heart-rate was dropping in response to the contractions but CTG monitoring was not in place owing to the mother’s size and position. Given the presence of fetal heart-rate decelerations it was negligent not to continuously monitor the fetal heart. The correct procedure would have been to apply a fetal scalp electrode to the baby’s head which would have enabled the midwife to obtain an accurate reading of the fetal heart-rate. If the midwife had done so, she would have quickly realised the need for urgent delivery and called for obstetric help. The baby would have been delivered either by the doctor with ventouse unless a vaginal delivery had been achieved before the doctor arrived. Either way, our experts advised that the baby should  have been delivered 11 minutes earlier. He would then have survived without permanent injury.

The baby was born in poor condition – unresponsive, pale and floppy with a dangerously low heart-rate. He was ventilated and transferred to the special care baby unit (SCBU). His blood tests revealed that he was suffering from oxygen deprivation. He continued to need oxygen and was given anticonvulsant medication and was transferred to another hospital for neonatal care.  His MRI brain scans subsequently revealed the type of brain damage that is caused by acute profound asphyxia to the fetus at term. He now suffers from dystonic cerebral palsy and will need care for the rest of his life.

The defendant hospital initially admitted that the midwife’s failure to monitor the fetal heart-rate after identifying early decelerations was negligent. However, they denied that correct monitoring would have led to earlier delivery.  

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy lawyers pursued the claim, challenging the defendant’s case with expert evidence asserting the correct timings of events based on competent care – a scenario which would have left the claimant unscathed. Every moment in the final ten minutes of labour was critical as the claimant would only be entitled to receive compensation for injury which we could prove was negligently caused. With the case scheduled for trial and the experts for both sides ready to meet, the defendant made an offer to settle the case at 90% of full value in the claimant’s favour.

We are now seeking the court’s permission to enter judgment and requesting an interim payment to meet the claimant’s immediate needs whilst we assess the value the claim.

They have a great deal of knowledge and expertise, and client care seems to be their top priority.

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