£4.6 million plus the security of lifelong payments of up to £360,000pa following cerebral palsy birth injury

£4.6 million plus the security of lifelong payments of up to £360,000pa following cerebral palsy birth injury

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy birth injury team have negotiated a settlement of £4.6 million lump sum plus lifelong, annual payments rising to £360,000pa for a young girl with severe dystonic cerebral palsy. The child’s brain injury and devastating disability was caused by repeated mistakes in her mother’s maternity care.

Delivery delayed despite maternal high blood pressure, fetal heart abnormalities and meconium

Our client’s mother developed high blood pressure in her pregnancy (pregnancy-induced hypertension or PIH). This put her and her unborn baby at increased risk of life-threatening complications, such as intra-uterine growth restriction and eclampsia. Once PIH was diagnosed at 32 weeks of pregnancy, correct treatment would have been to check her blood pressure regularly and induce labour early, if necessary for her own and her unborn baby’s safety. Instead, for two months the defendant hospital failed to monitor or manage her blood pressure at her regular appointments.

When our client’s mother attended the hospital’s day assessment unit for a check-up at just under 40 weeks, her blood pressure was found to be dangerously high. She was given beta blocker medication and labour was induced. Over the next 14 hours her blood pressure continued to rise and she became increasingly unwell with vomiting even after she was given anti-emetic (anti-sickness) drugs. The fetal heart rate was inadequately monitored, with the CTG being discontinued despite the mother’s known high-risk status, a ‘suspicious’ CTG trace and the presence of meconium – all worrying signs making continuous CTG monitoring mandatory. Despite repeated indications of fetal distress from the unborn baby’s heart-rate readings during labour, the maternity staff failed to check the heart-rate by fetal scalp electrode or deliver the baby quickly. 

Neonatal paediatricians should have been present at the birth of a distressed baby

When the baby was finally born by spontaneous vaginal delivery, she was in very poor condition from lack of oxygen and made no attempt to breathe. As the maternity staff had failed to warn the neonatal team that a distressed baby needing resuscitation was about to be born, no neonatal staff were present to help the baby at birth. It was left to the father to call for emergency help and the baby continued to suffer during further delay whilst waiting for the neonatal paediatrician to arrive and resuscitate and ventilate her.

Negligent maternity care caused hypoxic brain damage and cerebral palsy

The negligent management of the pregnancy, labour and birth caused our client to suffer hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (brain damage from lack of oxygen). She has severe, four-limb cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a shortened expected lifespan. She has no independent mobility or communication. She is fed by gastrostomy. She is doubly incontinent and will always need full time care. 

Admission of liability and over £1million in interim payments

After investigating the care that our client and her mother received, we claimed compensation for our client’s injuries from the defendant NHS trust. The defendant made a full admission of liability and we obtained judgment.

We secured interim payments of more than £1 million in total. Using the interim payments, our Court of Protection team helped the family move into more suitable accommodation, employ a case manager, carers and therapists to help the family with the child’s extensive care needs, and pay for assistive technology and additional support with her special educational needs. 

We worked closely with the family and our experts to understand our client’s lifelong needs. Then we negotiated a settlement which provides our client’s parents with flexibility to make large purchases as needed and also peace of mind from knowing that, for as long as their daughter lives, there will always be financial provision for her extensive care needs. 

The case settled for a lump sum of £4.6million lump sum plus PPOs (guaranteed, lifelong, tax-free, index-linked annual payments) for care and case management rising from £225,000pa to £360,000pa with age and need. The court approved the settlement and we obtained an anonymity order to protect our client and her family’s privacy.  

If you are caring for a child or young adult with cerebral palsy or severe disability caused by maternity or medical mistakes, and want to find out more about making 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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