The baby's mother underwent a nuchal translucency scan specifically to test for the risk of Down's as part of the hospital quadruple test screening programme. Inadequate care and skill by medical staff resulted in under measurement of the nuchal translucency which resulted in inaccurate risk results being reported. Instead, the mother was not considered within risk parameters for offering invasive testing, such as amniocentesis, under the hospital's own guidelines. Had the parents been offered the option of further diagnostic testing this would have been accepted. Amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling would have led to Down's Syndrome being identified and the offer of termination of the pregnancy.
The child, now 9-years-old and under an anonymity order, has significant learning difficulties and delayed gross and fine motor skills. She has independent mobility but needs support for everyday activities, has behavioural issues and will need care for life.
The claim was brought for the psychiatric injury suffered by the claimant (the mother), and for the costs of providing for all the child's needs and requirements as a result of her disability (over and above that given to a child without disability). The compensation was not just for additional care, both during childhood and into adulthood, but also for occupational therapy, aids and equipment, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and assistive technology to help with education, learning difficulties and communication. Alternative, adapted accommodation will also be required.
The Trust denied the allegations brought on behalf of the claimant but as a consequence of a Joint Settlement Meeting undertaken shortly prior to the trial on the preliminary issue of liability, an agreement was reached that the claimant receive 95 per cent of the damages that would be due on a full liability basis.
A significant interim payment was obtained to support the needs of the child pending assessment and ultimately, the claim settled at a further joint settlement meeting.
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