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Over £2 million interim payment secured for brain injured client

GP admitted to failing to refer our client for review following concerning ECG results which later resulted in cardiac arrest.

Partner, Lesley Herbertson, and Senior Associate, Kelly Charlton, of the Manchester Clinical Negligence team successfully secured a £2.2 million interim payment on behalf of a client which will allow her to purchase and adapt her own property; as well as reuniting her with her parents and young children after five years of separation.

Sophie was in her early 30s when she suffered a cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury in November 2018. She is now permanently and profoundly disabled and will continue to require life-long care, case management, equipment and therapies. It is admitted by the Defendant GP there was a failure to refer Sophie for cardiology review following a concerning ECG trace carried out in 2015. This led to Sophie’s cardiac condition remaining undiagnosed and untreated. Judgment was entered on the Claimant’s behalf in July 2023.

Voluntary interim payments made by the Defendant to date had been used to fund input from a Case Manager and specialist neuro-therapy team allowing Sophie to make significant progress in her physical and cognitive abilities.

Since her injury in 2018, Sophie has spent a prolonged period as a hospital inpatient and thereafter in a residential care home. Sophie’s team were able to gather a wealth of evidence on her behalf to show that her remaining in a residential placement did not provide the necessary stimulation or intensity of care and support she required. The current arrangements also meant her contact with her three young children and parents was infrequent, time limited and built around restricted visiting hours. Sophie’s team argued strongly against the proposition that living close-to her family but remaining in a residential setting offered a suitable compromise.

Despite the Defendant’s opposition to the application, Sophie’s team successfully argued at an Interim Payment Hearing that it was in Sophie’s best interest to live in the community with a 24-hour care team and her family and that the award of £2.2 million did not represent more than a reasonable proportion of the likely amount of the final judgment.

A suitable property has now been purchased and will be adapted to meet Sophie’s long-term needs.

Lesley Herbertson, Partner in Clinical Negligence at Hugh James who acted for Sophie, said:

“Despite not making a full admission at the outset of this case, the Defendant did express a willingness to proceed to mediation at an early stage. However, once it became clear that the argument over whether our client should be able to live in her own home rather than in a residential setting was not going to be capable of resolution between the parties, it was agreed with the Defendant that we should list the case for an interim payment application and invite the court to rule on the accommodation issue.

We had already issued proceedings, but needed to enter judgement if the court was going to be able to comfortably make an order for what was going to be a very significant interim payment if we were successful. Once again, the Defendant was co-operative and agreed to judgement being entered, after we provided them with additional evidence which countered their remaining arguments on causation. This just left before the court the issue as to whether our client should reasonably be supported to live in her own home. Whilst it was disappointing Sophie even had to strenuously resist the argument that she would do just as well in a residential care home, especially given that that would mean her not being able to live in the same home as her 3 young children, at least the co-operative approach taken by the Defendant meant that we had an opportunity to make Sophie’s case in this regard, well in advance of any mediation. A property has been purchased for our client and, once it has been adapted, our client will be able to live there with her family and support team-absolutely the right outcome.”

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

Author bio

Lesley Herbertson


Lesley Herbertson is a Partner at Hugh James and a leading medical negligence solicitor with over 30 years’ experience in dealing with catastrophic and serious injury medical negligence 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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