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Case Study

£28m settlement in birth injury claim against Warrington General Hospital

Claire Horton secured a final lifetime settlement of £28m against Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of a child who was delivered in poor condition at Warrington General Hospital and suffered severe brain injury as a result of delayed delivery.

At 29 weeks into her pregnancy, the child's mother attended hospital concerned she had not felt her baby move. She was monitored via CTG as an outpatient. The trace readings however failed to meet special Dawes Redman criteria designed to help obstetric doctors and midwives to analyse if the baby in the womb is well. In fact, the results showed that the baby was struggling, but the Mother was advised that everything was fine and then discharged home.

She went back to hospital the next day but was again discharged home, even though she was still worried the baby was not moving enough. CTG tracings that day showed even more signs, based on the Dawes Redman criteria, that further tests should have been carried out. If they had been, they would have shown that the baby was not receiving sufficient oxygen via the  placenta and needed to be urgently delivered. The Mother was again told that everything was fine.

Eventually, three days later, the Mother returned to the hospital and although she was then admitted to the ward, there was a further delay in the hospital appreciating how poorly the baby was, when they should have arranged an urgent delivery. The baby had been suffering from lack of oxygen (chronic partial hypoxia) and the brain injury suffered as a result of this would have been avoided if the delivery had been brought forward in response to the warning signs.

The allegations of medical negligence concerned a negligent delay in delivering the child. It was alleged that without the delay, the child would have entirely avoided permanent brain injury.

The child now aged 10 is currently cared for by his family and commercial carers and is fully dependant on them for all activities of daily living. This will be required for the rest of the child's life. The child has severe learning and communication difficulties, suffers from epilepsy and requires the use of a wheelchair most of the time. Speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy assistance will be required for the rest of the child's life. Special equipment including manual and power wheelchairs will be also required and suitably adapted accommodation is needed to make space for the care and therapy team and all the necessary equipment.

After investigations and negotiations, the Trust admitted liability in full and judgement for liability for the child's injuries was entered. Before the value of the compensation was finally decided, a substantial interim sum of damages was paid to enable a care and therapy regime, in suitable accommodation and with suitable equipment to be set up. 

Comprehensive evidence from 12 medical and therapeutic experts for the child and several from the Trust, was then obtained to value the child's needs for life. Following exchange of expert evidence and the service of a detailed schedule of loss for the child and a counters schedule from the Trust, two lengthy meetings to try to settle the case without going to trial took place. After the second of these and just before a 10 day trail was due to start for the court to decide how much compensation should be paid, the parties reached a settlement, which was subsequently approved by the court.

The agreed compensation included a multi-million pound lump sum and annual payments for care and case management to be paid to the child every year for the rest of their life. These periodical payments will vary to cover the child's likely changing needs and are also index linked to the cost of care.

Following settlement, the family said:

'I am not sure I could have gone through this process without you and for that I will be eternally grateful.  Together you [and Sally] are a force to be reckoned with and I could not have asked for any better people to represent us.'

Contact us

For further information about brain injury and birth injury claims, please call Claire Horton on 03304606748 or email Claire.Horton@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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