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Hemiplegia birth injury claim success against Leeds General Infirmary
In 2004 Caitlin* suffered an injury during birth to the right side of her brain, causing a left-sided hemiplegia. Her case was unusual, as a brain injury during birth is most commonly caused by a child’s brain being deprived of oxygen and causing damage to both sides of the brain, an injury that Caitlin did not suffer.
Hemiplegia is a type of spastic cerebral palsy where there is damage is caused to one side of the brain only. A child with spastic cerebral palsy finds it difficult to relax their muscles, as the muscle tone becomes unyielding and tight (hypertonia). A child with this kind of injury will often have severe learning disabilities and a significantly reduced range of movement.
Our specialist cerebral palsy claim solicitors obtained an admission of liability of birth injury negligence for Caitlin and her family.
The claims process
In 2007 we were approached by Caitlin’s family and our expert birth injury claims team began looking into the events behind Caitlin’s delivery, her injury during birth and the resulting hemiplegia. We began by examining medical reports for Caitlin and her mum and obtaining specialist evidence from a number of experts, including a professor of obstetrics, a professor of neonatology, a paediatric neurologist and a neuroradiologist. We wanted to establish the nature of Caitlin’s injury during birth that caused the left-sided hemiplegia.
In 2009, our birth injury claims solicitors contacted the hospital to set out what had happened to Caitlin to cause her left-sided hemiplegia and how we believed birth injury negligence had occurred. This included how a negligently performed Kielland’s forceps delivery caused a direct and traumatic injury during birth to the right side of her brain, resulting in her left-sided hemiplegia.
Did the hospital admit fault?
Around three years after the claim was begun by our birth injury claims solicitors, the hospital admitted that the birth injury negligence that led to Caitlin’s left-sided hemiplegia was their fault.
How was the case funded?
Legal aid was granted and there was no cost to Caitlin or her family.
The future for Caitlin
The amount of compensation to be received by Caitlin and her family for the birth injury negligence that led to her left-sided hemiplegia will have to wait to be decided until the full extent of Caitlin’s injury during birth can be accurately assessed. In the meantime, thanks to the admission of fault secured by our birth injury claims, Caitlin and her family are receiving short-term temporary payments to meet her immediate special needs.
*All names have been changed for client privacy.
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