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22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Helen Dolan

Over £11 million in compensation for baby with cerebral palsy

Medical failings during Anna’s birth resulted in severe brain damage and life-changing injuries. Claire and Will were looking forward to the birth of their first baby. The pregnancy had gone well and there were no problems with the baby. However, things went wrong when Claire was admitted to give birth.

Claire had originally attended hospital with contractions but was sent home and told to await events. Two days later, Claire returned to hospital and a CTG scan was taken to record the baby’s heart rate and monitor Claire’s contractions.

Unfortunately, those caring for Claire failed to recognise and properly interpret the signs of distress in the baby which could be seen on the CTG trace. There was a delay in a doctor reviewing the CTG trace and a failure to realise that Claire’s baby was very unwell.

The delays led to baby Anna being born in a poor condition having gone through a period of time without proper oxygenisation.

Anna was born with cerebral palsy but it took until she was three to be diagnosed, at which point, her parents approached specialist birth and brain injury solicitor Helen Dolan at Hugh James.

On making the decision to make a clinical negligence claim, Claire said:

I’m very grateful to the NHS; I don’t like the idea of placing blame and litigation. Starting a claim didn’t sit very well with me, but at least I knew I was doing the right thing by my daughter. I knew that if we started litigation a lot of upsetting things would come out. We had to prepare ourselves for that so we just had to go into it.

Anna is now wheelchair dependent and prone to epileptic seizures. She also suffers from gastro-oesophageal reflux. As a result of her complex difficulties, Anna will be reliant on parents and carers to provide her with all level of care for the rest of her life.

After careful investigation by Hugh James, a claim was brought against the hospital in relation to what happened at Anna’s birth. The Trust responsible admitted soon after that they were at fault and it was agreed that they would pay compensation to Anna to help her live as independent and fulfilling a life as possible.

Anna requires 24 hour care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy which was able to be put in place on a privately funded basis following the admission of negligence and receipt of interim payments. A house was also purchased and adapted with these payments to suit Anna’s needs as she requires specialist equipment and wheelchair access.

After several years undertaking complex investigation to determine the full value of Anna’s claim, a Part 36 offer was accepted in March 2016 for the sum of £11.7 million (gross).

Helen Dolan acted on Anna’s behalf and commented:

This was a particularly tricky case where it was clear from when I first met Claire and Will how difficult their lives had become due to Anna’s disabilities.

However it was obvious, and still is, how much Anna’s family love and care for her and I was thrilled that we were able to settle Anna’s claim for an amount which means she will be cared for and protected for the rest of her life, something I know will mean her parents’ minds and worries can finally be put at ease.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Helen Dolan is Joint Head of the Manchester Office and Head of the Clinical Negligence team. Helen specialises in high value complex secondary brain injury, spinal cord injury (including cauda equina syndrome), birth injury, cerebral palsy and wrongful birth cases, and also has extensive experience of orthopaedic and surgical cases.

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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