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Case Study

£20.7m for child injured at birth at Royal Berkshire Hospital

At a recent hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice, Deputy Judge Margaret Obi approved settlement of £20.7m for a girl who suffered brain injury resulting in quadriplegic cerebral palsy during her birth at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2011. The case had been listed for a 12 day trial in the High Court, beginning on 13 January 2020.

The girl, who is anonymised by the courts, is intellectually able but severely physically disabled and needs 24-hour care with activities of daily living. She will likely never be able to walk unaided outside and needs help communicating, eating and washing and dressing. Despite medication, her epilepsy remain problematic.

The hospital trust admitted negligence in 2017 for failing to correctly interpret and respond to the baby's heart rate and recognise that the baby was in distress for more than six hours, despite CTG monitoring clearly being pathological and meconium also being clearly present.

An obstetrician was not informed of the abnormal CTG trace and staff failed to perform a Caesarean section quickly enough, resulting in the baby being deprived of oxygen causing irreversible brain damage. There were four missed opportunities to deliver earlier which, had they been taken, would have saved the girl from injury.

The settlement will pay for the family to adapt their accommodation and fund daily carers for life. Until now, the girl has been looked after by her mother and father.

The girl’s mother said: "Our daughter is an amazingly spirited young woman with her own, very strong personality. As she grows up, she is increasingly frustrated by the limitations she lives with every day but she continues to have great plans for the future.

“This settlement will not only provide the vital 24-hour care she needs to keep her safe and to support her in the very simplest activities most people take for granted, it will allow to achieve the best possible life and fulfil her great potential."

Arti Shah, acting for the girl said:

“I was instructed to investigate this case in 2014. An admission was received from the Trust in 2017 after a lengthy delay in responding to the allegations of negligence. It has then taken another 2.5 years for both parties to obtain independent medical reports from various experts to assess the case. From the outset and throughout, parents have devoted themselves to providing their daughter with an exceptionally high standard of care. She is a very loved and looked after child, with a great imagination and a total joy to everyone who meets her. In spite of her obvious difficulties, she has an extremely positive attitude to life.

“I am very pleased that the settlement will provide some security for this little girl and her family, knowing that there will be funds to look after her as she gets older and her needs increase.“

The child’s mother added that she was immensely grateful to Arti, not least for ensuring that the emotional stress of running the case was kept to a minimum.

"We would really like to say a massive thank you to Arti for all these years who made this process easier for us. It has been a rollercoaster but Arti has been there all the way with her expertise and professionalism. As far as possible, she made sure the case remained in the background so that we could concentrate on our daughter.

"Arti is someone who really cares for our daughter and always took into consideration how we felt as parents in the middle of this constant struggle, and not just another number. We felt she has our daughter's best interest at heart always, and we cannot thank her enough."

In court, the QC representing the Royal Berkshire Hospital said that the trust profoundly regretted the substandard care provided to the child's mother and apologised unreservedly. He also paid tribute to the parents for the care they have provided until now and wished the child and her parents the best for the future.

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims and birth injury claims, please call Arti Shah on 020 7861 4139 or email arti.shah@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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