Thomas – not his real name as he is protected by an anonymity order – was deprived of oxygen immediately prior to his birth and suffered brain damage when his mother was left unattended on an antenatal ward at the hospital. Her concerns were not listened to and when she was eventually examined, she was found to be 9cm dilated and was transferred to a delivery suite. Midwives failed to react to the baby's abnormal heartbeat.
The London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages Ealing Hospital, admitted that they should have transferred Thomas's mother to the delivery suite sooner, but there was a dispute as to when the baby's bradycardia would have been noticed, and the time by which he should have been delivered. The Trust initially denied he would have avoided suffering brain damage with appropriate care and the Claimant's case was complicated because of inconsistent timings in the records.
After securing specialist evidence from midwifery, obstetric and paediatric doctors, settlement was agreed with the Trust on an 82 per cent basis to avoid the risk that a court might agree with the defendant's position.
Now 10-years-old, Thomas has been cared for up until settlement almost solely by his mother. He needs support mobilising and communicating and cannot feed himself. He has epilepsy and his speech is severely affected; he is difficult to understand by anyone who does not know him well. He has high levels of anxiety and finds it difficult to be apart from his mother. While he has cognitive deficits, he also has insight into his condition. He attends mainstream primary school with 1:1 care but has problems with frustration and anger at his limitations and often lashes out at people he loves.
Thomas will receive around £13m during his lifetime, made up of a lump sum and annual payments, which will enable his need for aids, carers and adapted accommodation to be met.
His mother, who gave up work to care for Thomas, said:
"I will never be able to change what happened, but I know that Thomas will now be able to have all the care and therapy he deserves. I want to thank everyone from the legal team who helped us. I knew someone was always available if I had any questions, and the case was handled with such care and consideration."
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