What are you looking for?

Over £2 million for boy born with congenital brain condition

Medical negligence in Italy and UK as scans during pregnancy did not reveal brain damage of baby boy. Elaina and Marco moved from their native Southern Italy to live here in the North West when Elaina was pregnant with their first child.

She registered with her local GP and was referred to the midwives at the local hospital. Elaina had previously undergone a scan in Italy where it had been suggested that there might be something wrong with the baby. She therefore followed this up with a scan at her local hospital in the UK.

Elaina underwent an ultrasound scan towards the end of the second trimester of her pregnancy. The scan revealed a congenital brain defect in the baby, however Elaina and Marco were not given this information and therefore continued with the pregnancy believing everything was fine and that their baby was healthy.

Sadly, when their son Giovanni was born, it was apparent that he had a serious disability. Elaina and Marco struggled to care for Giovanni in the UK. However, after a couple of years, it was becoming increasingly difficult for them as they were away from their family so they decided to return to Italy in order to be closer to family and friends.

By the age of seven, Giovanni was blind, confined to a wheelchair and had severe learning disabilities. There was no educational support for Giovanni and his parents were struggling to cope with caring for him along with their two other children.

Elaina and Marco became concerned that Giovanni’s congenital brain condition might have been seen on the scans during pregnancy both in Italy and in the UK. They therefore contacted a local Italian lawyer who advised them that as Giovanni had been born in the UK and their concern was with the UK doctors they would need to seek specialist advice from UK lawyers.

Elaina and Marco were put in contact with Helen Dolan, a specialist clinical negligence solicitor at Hugh James. As well as being a specialist clinical negligence solicitor, Helen has a working knowledge of Italian. Even though Elaina and Marco had lived in the UK for two years, their English was not very good and all communication needed to take place in Italian which Hugh James were able to accommodate.

Helen investigated the claim and, with expert evidence, was able to demonstrate that Giovanni’s congenital brain condition could and ought to have been diagnosed from the ultrasound scan Elaina underwent at the UK hospital.

Elaina and Marco confirmed that given they were in the UK without their family, had they known that Giovanni would have been born with such severe disabilities, they would have taken the difficult decision not to proceed with the pregnancy.

Helen was therefore able to pursue the claim on the basis that Elaina and Marco had incurred considerable additional expense and would continue to do so caring for Giovanni when, if the scan had been properly interpreted, they would not have continued with the pregnancy.

Despite the difficult and very sensitive and emotional aspect of the claim, Helen was able to obtain compensation in the sum of £2.65 million on behalf of Elaina and Marco which they will use to care and support Giovanni.

Commenting on the case, Helen said:

This was a really difficult case as we had to prove what Elaina and Marco would have done had they been told, as they ought to have been, about Giovanni’s congenital brain condition and what that would have meant for him in terms of his disabilities.

It is always hard to prove what parents would have done had they been made aware of these facts before a child is born when the child is now there and they of course love him very much.

Ultimately however, Elaina and Marco were well aware of the difficulties that they and Giovanni would face in their native Italy and were very clear that had they been made aware they would not have proceeded with the pregnancy as they knew that they would always struggle to provide Giovanni with the care that he truly needs.

I was therefore delighted to be able to recover compensation for Elaina and Marco which they will now use to provide Giovanni with the care and support he needs for the rest of his life.

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

Author bio

Helen Dolan


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.


Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us