Compensation secured after delay in delivery caused cerebral palsy

Our client

Jessica* (24 years old) was injured at birth when delays during her delivery meant that the supply of oxygen to her brain was temporarily stopped, causing a hypoxic brain injury. This brain injury resulted in Jessica being born with athetoid cerebral palsy. Jessica is physically disabled and relies on a wheelchair to get around.

Athetoid cerebral palsy is also known as dyskinetic cerebral palsy and affects a child’s ability to control their movements, as well as to sit and stand. Although a child with athetoid cerebral palsy will have serious physical problems they often have good intelligence and understanding.

The result

Our specialist birth injury claim solicitors secured a £3m cerebral palsy compensation settlement for Jessica and her family for her hypoxic brain injury. This amount is divided between a lump sum payment and annual payments for the remainder of Jessica’s life.

The claims process

When Jessica’s family first contacted us we began looking into the circumstances of Jessica’s birth to see how the hypoxic brain injury that caused her athetoid cerebral palsy could have been prevented. Our cerebral palsy compensation team began with medical notes and records for Jessica and her mother and then spoke to four medical experts - a midwife, an obstetrician, a neonatologist and a neurologist.

In 2010, we contacted the hospital setting out in our birth injury claim what we believed had happened to Jessica during her birth and how hospital negligence had happened to cause her hypoxic brain injury. This included how the midwife had not grasped how distressed Jessica was before she was born and how steps had not been taken to speed up delivery, resulting in the delays that caused the hypoxic brain injury that resulted in the athetoid cerebral palsy.

Did the hospital admit fault?

No. Although the hospital admitted that Jessica would have avoided a hypoxic brain injury if she had been delivered five minutes earlier, it did not accept that it was possible for the hospital team to have delivered Jessica five minutes before she was actually born. The hospital denied liability and the birth injury claim compensation took into account that the claim could have been lost at trial, in which case Jessica and her family would not have been entitled to any cerebral palsy compensation.

How was the case funded?

Legal aid was granted and there was no cost to Jessica or her family in making their birth injury claim through our cerebral palsy compensation team.

The future for Jessica

Jessica is now living independently and thanks to the birth injury claim compensation she will be able to buy a property that she can adapt for her special needs. She will also be able to buy a new wheelchair and look for carers to help her on a day-to-day basis.

I have to say I was extremely impressed with the service in what was a very difficult time for myself and my family. The advice and support I had from the team was fantastic and invaluable. They put mine and my wife's mind at rest on many occasions and got a great result for us. Thank you from all of us.

Mr Horne

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