Michelle was due her first child on 18 December 2003. She was taken into hospital and labour was induced on 27 December. Abigail was born at 01.18 the next morning. During the labour Abigail was deprived of oxygen and this resulted in her developing cerebral palsy, global developmental delay and epilepsy.
Michelle instructed Paul McNeil to take a claim against Colchester General Hospital. The hospital’s own inquiry found evidence of sloppy care. Since negligence was not admitted, we obtained independent advice and asserted that, during the labour, the fetal heart monitor was not interpreted correctly. We asserted that a fetal blood sample should have been taken, Michelle’s waters should have been broken, and, if necessary, a caesarean section should have been carried out. Abigail would have been born without disability had these steps been taken.
Well after proceedings had commenced, the defendant finally admitted that Abigail should have been delivered at least 30 minutes earlier and that her injuries occurred in this period. With proper care Abigail would not have suffered any injury.
Abigail needs constant care as a result of her cerebral palsy. The claim was settled in July 2009 for a lump sum of £2.8 million. In addition, the following annual payments were agreed: £106,000 to age ten, £146,000 to age 16, £177,000 to age 19 and £209,000 from age 19 for the rest of her life. These sums will ensure that Abigail will be cared for and her potential will be fully met.
Michelle and Rod Elliott, Abigail's parents said:
"Our decision to go and speak to Paul McNeil about the events surrounding our daughter Abigail's birth and whether we had a case to pursue was, in hindsight, probably one of the best decisions we have ever made. Without hesitation, we would highly recommend Paul to anyone in a similar position.
From day one, Paul's passion was clearly obvious and his desire to achieve the best possible outcome for Abigail was unquestionable. Paul helped us remain focused throughout the difficult times and was a constant source of reassurance during the 'legal merry-go-round'. I don't think we ever doubted for a minute we would get the right result in the end and this was testament to Paul.
We are, and always will be, forever grateful to Paul and Field Fisher Waterhouse for what they have done for us as a family."
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