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Case Study

£15m for boy with cerebral palsy following hypoglycaemia at St Peter's Hospital

Iona Meeres-Young and Emma Kendall have settled a claim for more than £15m on behalf of a young boy with cerebral palsy.

Jonah suffers from severe disabilities, in particular brain damage, as a result of negligently managed hypoglycaemia immediately following his birth.

Jonah was a vulnerable baby who had intrauterine growth restriction. He was born at 38 weeks + 1 day gestation. During his delivery, he was exposed to both a chronic partial hypoxic ischaemic insult and a near total hypoxic ischaemic insult to his brain - both of which were unavoidable even with competent care. It was argued on behalf of Jonah that neither of these insults caused permanent irreversible damage. Instead, it was the subsequent mismanagement of his hypoglycaemia that caused or materially contributed to Jonah's severe brain damage.

The defendant, Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, made admissions of liability in a pre-action Letter of Response. It was accepted that Jonah's hypoglycaemia was negligently mismanaged and that as a result, he had suffered cerebral palsy. The defendant however reserved its position on how far Jonah may have suffered some injury as a result of the non-negligent hypoxia ischemia.

Iona and Emma instructed experts in paediatric neurology, neonatology and paediatric neuroradiology to address this issue. They all concluded that hypoglycaemia made a material contribution to his overall brain damage. They also concluded that medical science could not distinguish the extent of such damage and it therefore followed that Jonah could recover damages in full. The defendant, supported by its paediatric neurology expert, sought to distinguish the damage and maintained this position throughout the proceedings.

Both parties conducted a full investigation into the financial value of the claim. Experts across a range of specialisms, including educational psychology, care, court of protection and others were instructed to provide recommendations on Jonah's future needs.

At a round table settlement meeting, the claim was compromised for a capitalised sum in excess of £15m, which included both a lump sum payment and index-linked annual payments for the remainder of Jonah's lifetime.

A court hearing took place before a High Court Judge to approve Jonah's settlement. Following the hearing, his parents said:

"I am sure you knew [today] would be somewhat overwhelming for us and it truly was, we're still in shock. This is such an incredible outcome for Jonah and us.

"Thank you for all your time and hard work on our case. Scheduling all the experts that we have met over the years and for the reports they have provided for Jonah, enabling him and us to have a much brighter future with an expert team supporting him and us.

Based on what has been put in motion already for Jonah both he and we are already seeing so many areas that he is benefitting from in so many ways.

"We shall never forget what you have done for us and all your expert guidance over the years."

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims, please call Iona Meeres-Young on 0330 460 6769 or email iona.meeres-young@fieldfisher.com, or Emma Kendall on 0330 460 6755 or email emma.kendall@fieldfisher.com.

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