Case Study: Boy who Suffered Brain Damage at Birth Awarded Multi-Millions by High Court

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Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

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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. This was after the hospital where he was born admitted failures in his care that caused his catastrophic injuries.

The child, named DXP for the purpose of this article 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 round-the-clock care and specially adapted accommodation.

Following his birth on June the 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 (HIE). HIE is a brain injury that happens when the baby’s brain experiences a decrease in oxygen and blood flow.

The NHS Trusts Response to the Claim

In a letter sent to the family’s lawyers, Lewisham and Greenwich Hospital NHS Trust said it ‘deeply regrets’ the injuries DXP sustained, and admitted that had he been born sooner it is likely that he would not have suffered from cerebral palsy.

The letter explained that not providing induction of labour at 39 weeks, despite multiple hospital visits due to reduced baby movement, a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, and not performing a scheduled Caesarean on June 3rd – was all considered a failure in providing proper care. Which represented a ‘breach of duty in care’.

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Duty of Care 

Medical negligence occurs when doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals fail in their duty of care to you. They may make serious mistakes that harm you or cause an existing condition to worsen. Though most treatment delivered by medical professionals in the NHS is of a very high standard, sometimes they can make mistakes, and fall below their required duty of care – which is called a “breach of duty”.

It can be difficult to know whether your care amounts to a breach of duty, but if you have suffered during child birth, and your child has resulted in an injury, like in DXP’s instance – then you may be able to claim.

There are some examples of a breach of duty:

  • misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose your condition
  • prescribed the wrong medication
  • not provided sufficient information of the side-effects or risks of an operation
  • made an error during surgery
  • birth injury, whether that’s forceps delivery or unnecessary caesarean section


Outcome for DXP 

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 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.

"No amount of money will ever compensate the family for what they hve 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.”

The solicitor 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,” the family’s representative 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.”

How Simpson Millar Can Help 

Every year in the UK, over 20,000 women suffer some kind of birth injury, and in 2023 the Government announced that it will take steps to support women experiencing birth trauma. Though nothing has been said on the fact since, it is an important discussion that affects people across the country.

Doctors, surgeons and medical professionals have a special responsibility and duty of care to their patients, and on the occasions where this is found to be lacking, action should be taken to improve this quality of care. If a child is injured during labour or immediately after being born, ensuring that it doesn’t happen to another parent, as well as securing the financial means to manage any resulting condition, is extremely important. Call us on 0808 239 6043 and let us help you every step of the way.


NHS. (n.d.). "Queen Elizabeth Hospital." [Online] Available at:

NHS. (n.d.). "Caesarean Section." [Online] Available at:

Nationwide Children's Hospital. (n.d.). "Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy." [Online] Available at:

NHS. (n.d.). "Gestational Diabetes." [Online] Available at:

Simpson Millar. (n.d.). "Breach of Duty in Medical Negligence Claims Explained." [Online] Available at:

Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Georgina is a Solicitor who works in our Medical Negligence team here at Simpson Millar, based in our Manchester office.

She is a committed and highly reliable Solicitor with a track record of supporting clients through the process of making a claim to achieve the best outcome for them. Georgina has experience working on many high-value cases with a range of circumstances and complexities from start to finish, where she reviews medical records, liaises with experts and gathers evidence in order to negotiate the best possible settlement for her clients.

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