In spite of the surgery, she now suffers from very severe disabilities, requiring a wheelchair as she has no independent walking, two carers to assist her throughout the day and further care overnight. She attends a specialist school for children with disabilities in Kent.
Darent Valley Hospital always denied liability for Sophie's injuries. While they admitted her injuries were likely to have been caused by trauma around the time of birth, they argued that the use of ventouse and then manual rotation of Sophie's head to deliver her were conducted correctly.
On Sophie's behalf, we argued that could not be the case and that overly excessive force must have been used to cause the extent of damage seen, after an expert neuroradiologist commented that the damage on imaging of Sophie's brain was akin to a child being involved in a high speed car crash. Matters were also complicated by medical records failing to explain how the injury occurred.
Following a settlement meeting dealing solely with liability, since Sophie was then too young for long-term assessment of the impact of her injuries, and just before liability trial was listed, the Court ordered that Sophie should receive 75 per cent of any damages reflecting a liability settlement that had been reached between the parties accounting for the risk the claim might not succeed at all.
The parties then set out to calculate the compensation that Sophie should receive by instructing experts in numerous disciplines. Following receipt of their respective reports, the legal teams agreed a global settlement worth more than £24m of which Sophie will receive 75 per cent. Broken down, the compensation recovered will include a lump sum of just over £6.5m plus annual payments for Sophie's care needs of £176,250 up until her 19th birthday, rising to £243,750 for the rest of her life to account for her increased care needs once she leaves full-time education.
At the end of the claim, Sophie's mother said:
'From our very first meeting with Mark, we felt he was really approachable and was the right solicitor for us. Throughout the claim, Mark’s communication has been incredible and he was always very quick to respond to our many questions, however small.
'He genuinely cares about our daughter and her progress, and wants to get the best outcome for her and us as a family.
'We now hope that this settlement will allow us to provide our daughter with the care and support she needs for the rest of her life. We’ll be forever grateful to Mark for all his hard work in achieving this for her.'
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