£10 Million Settlement For Boy Who Suffered Brain Damage at Birth
15 January 2021
A boy who suffered brain damage as a result of delays in his delivery has today been awarded £10 million in compensation by the High Court to fund his past and future care and rehabilitation needs, after the hospital where he was born admitted failures in his care caused his catastrophic injuries.
The child, who is known only as DXP and who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffers from cerebral palsy that affects his development, his mobility and his ability to communicate. The severity of his condition means he needs 24hour care and specially adapted accommodation.
Following his birth on June 4th, 2012, his family, who are from Kent, later instructed expert Medical Negligence Lawyers at Simpson Millar to investigate the care he received at the Queen’s Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, London. This included concerns that he should have been delivered sooner via Caesarean section after medical staff identified an issue with the baby’s heartrate, which resulted in a hypoxic ischaemic injury.
In a letter sent to the family’s lawyers, Lewisham and Greenwich Hospital NHS Trust said it ‘deeply regrets’ the injuries sustained by DXP, and admitted that had he been born sooner it is likely that he would not have suffered from cerebral palsy.
The letter went on to say that a failure to offer an induction of labour at 39 weeks gestation, - following repeated visits to the hospital because the baby had stopped moving as much, and a diagnosis of gestational diabetes - and the failure to carry out a Caesarean on the 3rd of June, had represented a ‘breach of duty in care’.
A subsequent investigation also raised concerns about the communication between staff during the labour, as well as the interpretation of the baby’s CTG trace by both junior obstetricians and midwives.
Mr John De Bono QC, appearing on behalf of the family, told the court of the amazing love and devotion the mother has shown to her child and her hope that the compensation will change their lives for the better. The barrister for the Hospital NHS Trust, Mr Alexander Hutton QC, reiterated the hospitals apology for its failings in care which resulted in DXP being born with such profound disabilities. The Judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer QC, paid tribute to the family and the parties’ legal teams for their combined efforts in achieving a very satisfactory settlement and making the legal process as stress free as possible for the family. He remarked that despite his severe disabilities, DXP loves the wind on his face and enjoys playing in water and listening to music.
The family’s lawyer, David Thomas from Simpson Millar’s national medical law team and an expert in birth injury cases, said the family were ‘extremely relieved’ the legal case can now be put behind them and they can focus on their child’s needs such as getting a professional care package, specialist therapies and aids and equipment. He said that the compensation is to be paid initially as a substantial lump sum and then in annual periodical payments which will continue for the rest of the child’s life.
David Thomas from Simpson Millar said: “No amount of money will ever compensate the family for what they have endured over the years as a result of an injury that could and should have been avoided, but it will provide some financial stability which will fund the child’s immediate, and longer-term care needs.
“The family are extremely relieved that the case is now drawing to a close and are looking forward to moving on with their lives as best they can.
“Whilst DXP will never be in a position to live independently, the care package he has been awarded by the High Court does mean he can live in a specially adapted home with dedicated carers, and with access to specialist equipment.”
David went on to say: “Given the complexity of the boys needs a lot of expert evidence was obtained to determine what care and support he will need for the future, but the collaborative approach taken by the NHS Resolution’s legal team throughout the matter helped to establish a settlement as quickly as realistically possible.”
Following an admission of liability from the Trust in 2014 the family were awarded interim payments on account of damages which ensured that the boy had access to suitable accommodation, care and rehabilitation whilst the case was ongoing.
“It is imperative that we work together with NHS Resolution in the client’s best interests in complex cases such as this,” David said. “Establishing access to the rehabilitation, accommodation, specialist equipment, education and wider community care that the injured party needs as quickly as possible can have hugely beneficial outcomes for their quality of life in the longer term.”