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23 February 2023 | Firm News | Article by Ruth Powell

A look back at our first Birth Injury conference


On Tuesday 24th January, we hosted our first Birth Injury Conference. This virtual event featured a combination of guest speakers from support organisations and medical experts in the field of birth and maternal injuries. Head of the medical negligence team, Ruth Powell also offered guidance on the litigation journey for birth injured clients and their families. We were also fortunate to hear from families who have pursued birth injury claims on their first hand experiences of the process.

This event coincided with the launch our Birth injury Support Hub; an online resource for people affected by birth injury. The hub provides information on all aspects of birth and maternal injuries, guidance on the process of bringing a claim for compensation as well as links to charities and organisations who can offer support. It is hoped that having access to this vital information in one place will help countless families who find themselves facing a future with a birth injured child.

During the conference, we heard from a parent who had recently settled a medical negligence claim on behalf of his son who had been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. We heard how it had taken them some time to realise that their child had not been reaching his milestones and the first step was to deal with the shock. This parent explained the importance of surrounding a brain injured child with positivity to enhance their development and help them to thrive. In terms of pursuing a claim, the parent mentioned that the process felt understandable as he had been kept updated at all times. He mentioned that the claim took many years to conclude and advised parents who are considering a claim to be aware of this when embarking on a claim.

Head of the medical negligence team, Ruth Powell talked about the fundamental aspects of pursuing a claim for compensation. She also talked candidly about the additional anxiety and stress families can feel throughout the process of pursuing a legal claim. The legal process by its very nature requires families to repeatedly revisit the traumatic events from the time of birth and the impact this has had on their child.

Ruth explained the importance of instructing a lawyer who was aware of the impact that bringing a claim can have on a family and who could offer strategies to mitigate the negative impact. Simple things like reassuring families that their concerns were normal and contacting them in ways and times whish suited them can ensure families feel more at ease throughout the legal process.

At Hugh James, we are proud to have established links with specialist organisations and charities who we can signpost clients for further support and guidance.

At Hugh James, we have been working closely with Cerebral Palsy Cymru, a charity that has supported many of our clients over the years.

Cerebral Palsy Cymru have been open as a therapy centre for the last 30 years in Wales. Through their Better Start, Better Future programme, Cerebral Palsy Cymru aim to support each affected family.

Better Start, Better Future is a Welsh, charity funded early intervention programme for families with infants, who are at increased risk or have early evolving cerebral palsy. The service is delivered by a specialist team of Paediatric occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech language therapists.

As well as injuries to the child, mothers can also suffer injuries during childbirth which are often both physical and emotional.

At the conference, we had the pleasure of hearing from Professor MRB Keighley, the president of the MASIC foundation. This charity provides support to women with severe injuries in childbirth and encourages a drive for change.

Statistics collated by MASIC suggest that 78% of women were affected by traumatic memories of the birth and 52% were embarrassed by the symptoms of their injuries.

The charity is run by women who have experienced birth injury and by healthcare professionals who are committed to the prevention of injury during child birth.

At Hugh James, we are proud to have supported many families in the process of claiming compensation for birth and maternal injuries. Our medical negligence team consists of top ranked specialist birth injury solicitors in Cardiff, London, Manchester and Southampton.

If you would like to speak to one of our medical negligence lawyers, please contact us.

Author bio

Ruth is a Partner and Head of our Clinical Negligence Department. She has exclusively practised in clinical negligence since qualifying in 1995 and has a wealth of experience in complex and high value clinical negligence claims.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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