Second opinion leads to settlement and court tribute to “loving and dedicated parents” as Defendant Trust “climbs down”
A family has won the right to a financial settlement from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust following poor maternity care which resulted in their child being born with a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury and who now requires around-the-clock care and support.
In approving the settlement Mr Justice Linden praised the Claimant’s “devoted” parents for standing by her and seeking justice on her behalf, paying tribute to their support and dedication over the last 16 years.
The child’s mother had a healthy pregnancy with no complications or reason for concern. When her waters broke the maternity team at Leicester Royal Infirmary decided to keep her in for monitoring and then an induction using Syntocinon to progress labour. A prolonged deceleration of the unborn child’s heartrate followed sometime later, leading to an obstetric review and the decision was taken to attempt a forceps delivery in theatre. There was a subsequent delay between the decision being taken to deliver and the actual delivery.
A baby girl was eventually delivered over 30 minutes after the initial decision to deliver was made requiring immediate resuscitation. The family were given the news no parent wants to hear, that the outlook was poor and their daughter may not survive.
The Claimant has been left with a significant brain injury as a result of the poor care provided in the crucial moments surrounding the decision to deliver and the subsequent delay before birth.
The child is now 16 years old, has mixed dyskinetic spastic cerebral palsy and requires care and support, provided by their loving and determined parents. Being wheelchair-dependent with reduced cognitive abilities, the life of a typical 16 year old isn’t achievable with around-the-clock care being required for the rest of her life.
The family had originally sought legal assistance from another firm, but the case was discontinued, which then saw them approach CL Medilaw for a second opinion. At the approval hearing Mr Justice Linden referred to the very different view taken of the potential claim by the team at CL Medilaw. The team identified that there had been some failings in the original investigation and advised the family to revisit events with the benefit of alternative expert input.
With the right team on board, the Trust conceded that there was a misuse of Syntocinon during labour which should have been reduced and then stopped at an earlier point. The neonatal experts agreed that this misuse predisposed the Claimant to the following acute event in utero.
In addition, the Defendant’s Trust obstetrician conceded that when the prolonged fetal bradycardia occurred that there should have been an immediate decision to transfer the mother to theatre for a category 1 caesarean section rather than a trial by forceps. This would have led to an earlier delivery.
Despite several opportunities to admit liability in full, it was only shortly before trial that the Trust conceded these mistakes had been made and agreed to a settlement with interim funds being released whilst assessing a full settlement figure. The interim payment will allow for the family to make life-enhancing changes at home to support their daughter to include care, treatment and equipment as well as suitable accommodation.
Our team of specialist medical negligence and serious injury lawyers represented the family. Kay Taylor, Partner, commented:
Following the settlement, the family were pleased with the outcome, which will ensure that they have the financial security required for their daughter’s future care needs to ensure that she lives as fulfilled a life as possible. The parents said: