£21 million settlement for teenager with cerebral palsy from negligently delayed delivery

Local charities supporting families with disability

Boyes Turner’s specialist cerebral palsy lawyers have secured a £21 million* settlement for a severely disabled teenager who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties and communication problems arising from the negligent management of his birth. 

Our client was already a teenager when his parents approached Boyes Turner for help with investigating the cause of his severely disabling condition. We managed to obtain copies of the records, which although incomplete and inconsistent, provided sufficient evidence to enable our specialist lawyers and trusted medical experts to prove that our client’s injuries were caused by 50 minutes of negligent delay during his mother’s labour.

Negligent birth

After three days on the labour ward, during which attempts were made to speed up the labour with the uterine stimulant, syntocinon, fetal heart monitoring was discontinued whilst an epidural was set up. When the fetal heart monitoring was recommenced, the abnormal CTG trace was misinterpreted as normal and the mother was left unattended. She called the midwife who discovered that the CTG monitor was not picking up the fetal heartbeat and sent a senior colleague to find a fetal scalp electrode (used to monitor the fetal heart by attaching it directly to the unborn baby’s head) and call for the registrar. The senior midwife failed to call the doctor but returned with the fetal scalp electrode which revealed that the fetus was suffering from bradycardia (dangerously low heart-rate). The registrar was then called and performed a forceps delivery, however, the baby had already suffered an acute period of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and irreversible damage to his brain.

The claim

Our experts believed that the damage to our client’s brain occurred in the final five minutes before his birth. During the court proceedings the defendant hospital admitted ten minutes of negligent delay and denied that correct action ten minutes earlier would have enabled the baby to be born in time to avoid his hypoxic injury. In their attempt to defend the claim, they called for our client to undergo a speculative MRI scan in the hope that this might reveal other, non-negligent causes of his cerebral palsy. Boyes Turner partner, Richard Money-Kyrle refused to give in to pressure from the defendant to subject our disabled, teenage client to an invasive scan which would involve an anaesthetic, on the basis that our evidence was sufficient to prove that our client’s brain injury was caused by the defendant’s negligent delay. When Richard insisted the defendant produce evidence to justify their continued defence of the claim, they finally admitted full liability. 

The settlement

Judgment was entered and we secured interim payments of £250,000 to help our client’s family meet his urgent need for adapted accommodation and help with care. We then worked closely with the family and our experts to understand our client’s condition, prognosis and the cost of meeting his lifelong needs, including care, speech and language therapy, adapted accommodation and assistive technology. At a round table meeting with the defendant, we negotiated a settlement which will provide our client with the flexibility of a lump sum of £6.59 million to meet his capital costs, and the security of lifelong, index-linked periodical payments (PPO) to cover care and case management costs of £250,000pa.

We are grateful to our client’s family for their kind comments about Richard Money-Kyrle and his team’s handling of the case:

“At all times we felt guided, supported and encouraged that we were doing the best for [our son] and it is a credit to your dedication and professionalism that, following the outcome of claim, we have now in fact have secured that future for [our son].”

*Capitalised equivalent settlement

Knowledgeable, organised, responsive, diligent, empathetic and human. I deal with many legal firms during the course of my work and have found the Court of Protection team at Boyes Turner to be, 'Simply the best'.

INDEPENDENT CASE MANAGER

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