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Case Study

£6m+ settlement for birth injuries at Bassetlaw Hospital 24 years ago

A 24-year-old man has received settlement of just under £6.5m for injuries resulting from mistakes at his birth in 1997 at Bassetlaw Hospital, Nottinghamshire.

The man, who is protected by an anonymity order, lives with autism, epilepsy, dyspraxia and behavioural difficulties caused by delays in delivering him even after staff recognised serious problems during his mother's labour.

The man grew up with problems in daily life and at school, particularly around communication and learning. He currently lacks capacity to manage his finances and is unable to hold down a job because of his disabilities.

His mother's pregnancy had been uneventful, but when she was in hospital in labour, a CTG showed clear signs of the baby being in distress. A doctor decided that she should be encouraged to push. The CTG continued to show decelerations, and the midwife eventually requested a doctor review to deliver the baby over 24 hours after admission.

The baby was eventually born after a 35 hour labour by ventouse, and with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. When he was born, he did not cry, was floppy, in poor condition and was pale. He was described as appearing 'dazed and shocked'. He did not breathe for two minutes and his head was misshapen from the ventouse used to deliver him. He was immediatedly transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) where he began to suffer seizures and was given medication to control these. He remained in SCBU for two weeks before being discharged home.

At the time, doctors vaguely told his parents at a meeting that there had been a 'birth trauma' but could not predict what the outcome would be. No further information was provided to the family and no follow-up was recommended.

In 2013, after he suffered an epileptic seizure, an MRI scan finally identified damage to his brain. A further MRI scan in 2016 confirmed that the brain damage resulted from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain at birth.

The family contacted solicitors in 2017, shortly before limitaiton potentially expired. Arti obtained liability and causation reports from experts in practice at the time of the birth, and who supported a case based on the standards in place at the time.

Arti served Draft Particulars of Claim upon the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs the Bassetlaw Hospital. Admissions relating to breach of duty were made, but causation was denied. An agreement on liability was reached based on the litigation risks involved in the case, allowing Arti to begin quantum investigations to secure the man's future.

The case settled for £6.5M capitalised on a 70 per cent liability basis in the summer and was approved by a judge at the Royal Courts of Justice in October 2021.

At the approval hearing, the judge commended his family for their sacrifice in putting their son's needs first.

The man's family said:

"Arti, we would just like to say we can’t thank you and all the legal team at Fieldfisher enough for all your hard work and dedication that resulted in securing our son's future and ensuring he can access the help and support he needs.

"We felt secure in the knowledge that everything from the start was handled in a professional yet sensitive manner which gave us the confidence we were being expertly guided through what was a very stressful and difficult time, always at the end of the phone or email."

Contact us

For further information about birth injury claims and obstetrics negligence 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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