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Case Study

£19.6m settlement for young girl left severely brain damaged as a baby at Barnet Hospital

PQR, who is protected by an anonymity order, was born with a rare genetic condition at the hospital that should have had minimal impact on her long term physical and mental development, although it is a condition that does present with serious risks to life in the first few months of life.

She was through the most dangerous period, when she developed an infection aged 5 months. She was admitted to Barnet Hospital where sadly there were inadequate levels of care and insufficient monitoring of her condition provided by medical staff. She became severely dehydrated, and developed sepsis.

Her deteriorating state was not appreciated by the doctors treating her until she collapsed with a cardiac arrest. Her complete collapse meant that she was deprived of oxygen and suffered brain injury, which resulted in PQR suffering mixed athetoid/spastic cerebral palsy. She now needs 24-hour care, can only communicate via eye-gaze and voice output technology and needs assistance in all aspects of her daily life.

The Hospital Trust admitted relatively early “that the shortcomings in the Claimant’s treatment probably caused her cardio-respiratory arrest” but argued that most of PQR’s care needs were due to her congenital condition, not their negligence. That required the Claimant to produce expert evidence as to why the negligence was the predominant cause of her injuries. This was made more difficult by virtue of the fact that the claimant’s underlying congenital condition is extremely rare affecting less than 1 in 500,000 people, and not only was there a scarcity of evidence about the long term impact of the condition, but also only a handful of experts who were knowledgeable about the condition worldwide. Most of the UK experts had or were now treating her and so unable to report in the case, and we used a pre-eminent dermatologist from Germany to report.

We used experts from 5 different medical disciplines to build a profile of the Claimant’s medical needs pre and post injury, alongside a further 7 quantum experts. Alignment of the evidence led to us being able to claim for all her care and equipment requirements from the age of 10 related to the acquired injury rather than the underlying congenital condition so that PQR was awarded 100 per cent of her care needs for life.

PQR needs one daytime carer and one sleeping night carer, and has a life expectancy to 71, and the settlement of a lump sum of £7.3m together with PPOs, which all together capitalised at £19.6m, was a very satisfactory settlement for her that will ensure lifetime provision for her needs.

Added difficulties during the case included having to pursue a challenge against the Local Authority’s placement of her in an inappropriate school, and finding and adapting a home for her. The case was particularly difficult for our client and her family because she is keenly aware of her injuries and how far they limit her.

Contact us

For further information about paediatrics negligence claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Caron Heyes on 020 7861 4062 or email caron.heyes@fieldfisher.com.

Alternatively

All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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