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Case Study

£8.6m capitalised settlement for IVF baby with cerebral palsy following negligent maternity care

Claire Horton has agreed final settlement with the Nottingham Trust on behalf of a child left permanently disabled following sub-standard care during his mother's labour at the Nottingham City Hospital.

The child, now 9 years-old, has significant developmental delay, cortical visual impairment, difficulty in swallowing and reflux, a dislocated hip, and hearing impairments. They have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, including significant motor and communication difficulties, and cannot walk or talk. They are entirely dependent on others and will never be able to live independently.

The child's parents were on an IVF waiting list for six years before conceiving their baby during the first round of the fertility treatment. The claimant's mother developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy and was regularly monitored through repeat ultrasound scans. Doctors advised the diabetes was beginning to affect the baby's growth and prepared the mother to be induced at 38 weeks.

On admission to the maternity ward, the mother began to experience increasing pain. She was told by the midwife it was normal contractions and was eventually given paracetamol and codeine but was not examined until five hours after first mentioning the pain.

At this point, the midwife realised there was a problem, the cord had prolapsed, and the mother was transferred for urgent delivery by forceps. During the transfer, insufficient care was taken to prevent the baby's head from pressing down on the prolapsed cord and the baby was deprived of oxygen from the placenta for 20 minutes prior to delivery.

The baby was eventually born in very poor condition, required resuscitation and was transferred to the neonatal unit. The baby was put on a ventilator and the family were told not to expect her to live very long.

An MRI a few days after their birth showed that, the baby was severely brain damaged. Eight days after the baby's birth, the ventilator was withdrawn but the baby was able to breathe independently, with only support required for apnoea, which required monitoring.

Eventually the baby's condition stabilised and the parents took them home, although the parents continued to struggle without much support. The baby's parents recognised the prognosis was poor, but they wanted to give their baby the best help they could. A few months later, the baby was readmitted to the paediatric intensive care unit for surgical treatment to assist with breathing and feeding, during which time the family felt that the baby's condition was then far better managed, and that as parents they then received good support.

Once Claire secured settlement confirming that the Nottingham Trust will be responsible for paying 89 per cent of the full damages for the injuries caused by its negligence, she reached final quantum settlement which was approved by the court. Following hard fought negotiation, just before trial, a lump sum of £3.3 million was agreed, plus annual payments to age 19 of £175,100. From age 19 for the rest of life, the claimant will receive £242,000. Because the Claimant has a reduced life expectancy, this is equivalent to a capitalised sum of £8.6 million.

Prior to settlement, a house was purchased for the Claimant, close to friends and family. This is now being adapted to meet all of the child's care and therapy needs. The Claimant is now able to pay for the 24 hour care and a full range of therapies. In addition, specialist equipment will be purchased to maximise the Claimant's ability to communicate and to control their own wheelchair and other aspects of the environment.

The Claimant's mother will no longer have to take the role as the main carer and therapist, secure in the knowledge that all their child's future care, therapy, accommodation and equipment needs will be met.  

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims and medical negligence claims, please call Claire Horton on 0161 268 0069 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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