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Case Study

£23m settlement for child suffering brain injury following heart surgery at Royal Brompton

Samantha Critchley achieved settlement of £23 million for a young girl who suffered a stroke causing catastrophic brain injury following negligent treatment at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

The girl, known as ABC, was born in 2006 with a congenital heart condition, but was otherwise healthy and well. When she was two years old, she suffered a neurological episode and her mother was advised her daughter needed a heart operation to close a remaining defect. The procedure was performed at the Royal Brompton in 2008, where a medical device was inserted into her heart. ABC was discharged home from hospital the next day.

Two days later, however, she was admitted to Darent Valley Hospital with lethargy, headache and vomiting. She was then transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where it was discovered that the device had migrated out of position.

The Royal Brompton admitted negligence in allowing a device to migrate into the wrong position, failing to identify the problem and that it needed to be removed and then failing to administer heparin to minimise the risk of a thromboembolic event. The case proceeded in relation to quantification. ABC’s mother had initially instructed another ranked clinical negligence firm, but due to a lack of progress, eventually instructed Samantha to take over ABC’s case. Samantha ensured that the case was listed for trial and got it back on track. Three months before trial date, settlement was reached on ABC’s behalf.

As a result of the negligence, ABC suffered a stroke which caused a life-changing brain injury. She now lives with several disabilities, including cognitive deficits, behavioural difficulties, a visual impairment and a right-sided hemiplegia.

“The case was complex due to the underlying congenital heart condition and because it had not been investigated thoroughly by the previous firm,” Samantha said. “There were also complex Court of Protection and safeguarding issues, a related education tribunal to keep ABC at her preferred private school and ABC’s mother, who was a single parent, had also suffered psychological trauma of her own.” She added “ABC is a fantastic young girl who has the biggest smile, despite the challenges she faces. I am so pleased that she and her mum can finally put the litigation behind them and look to a more positive and secure future”.