Client takes part in the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in Beijing
Nine year old Gareth Picken, who was born under emergency caesarian at Cheltenham General Hospital and was found to be suffering from Myelomeningocele, a form of Spina Bifida, won a Blue Peter competition in May and is taking part in the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in Beijing.
Spina bifida - ‘split spine’ is a fault in the development of the spinal cord and surrounding bones (vertebrae) which leaves a gap or split in the spine. Gareth’s mother became pregnant with Gareth in July 1998 and attended a routine ultra sound scan in November 1998. The scan was reported as normal and the pregnancy continued until Gareth’s birth on 26 April 1999. Immediately after birth the paediatricians noted that Gareth had spina bifida, which had not been diagnosed ante-natally. Gareth was immediately transferred to the Frenchay Hospital where surgery for the closure of the myelomeningocele was carried out on 27 April 1999. This operation was successful however, Gareth has continued to have significant problems including paraplegia, incontinence and hydrocephalus. Gareth’s parents instructed partner, Paul McNeil to bring a clinical negligence claim against East Gloucestershire NHS Trust.
Paul alleged the midwives and the ultra sonographers had been negligent in failing to identify Gareth’s spina bifida prior to his birth, particularly at the ultrasound scan in November 1998. The defendants admitted negligence and after protracted negotiations, the matter was settled in December 2003 for a substantial sum.
Despite his condition, Gareth is doing well at school and is very keen on gymnastics, wheelchair tennis, swimming and wheelchair basket ball. Winning the Blue Peter competition has been a great achievement and he will be taking part in the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in Beijing on 17 September. His parents are extremely proud of him and are going with him to celebrate this unique experience.
Gareth’s farther commented: “The settlement and all of the firm’s hard work has allowed us to explore lots of opportunities for Gareth and he has taken them with vigour. Gareth is growing up to be a confident and social young man with lots of friends.”
Paul McNeil said: “We are very proud of Gareth’s achievement and wishing him more successes to come in the future. We may see him competing in the Paralympics in London 2012.”