As a paediatrician himself, Baby M's father was concerned. He knew that Bedford was not resourced to deal with such premature babies. He spoke with a specialist hospital to make arrangements for his daughter's transfer, but the treating paediatrician refused on the grounds that she was stable.
Over the next 10 days, Baby M's condition deteriorated. Her heart beat was too fast and then too slow. She had a temperature, recurrent vomiting and was becoming less responsive. Baby M's parents were very worried, but their concerns were repeatedly dismissed by staff.
Eventually, after 12 days, Baby M was transferred to a different hospital for specialist care. However, by this time, she had developed periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), where parts of the brain are deprived of blood/oxygen and become soft.
As a result of this injury, Baby M, now 10 years-old, lives with complex issues including severe learning disabilities, epilepsy, global developmental delay, hearing loss and mobility problems. She will require care for the rest of her life.
Paul McNeil brought a paediatric negligence claim on behalf of Baby M, arguing that the transfer to the specialist hospital ought to have occurred several days earlier than it did. The defendant Trust admitted liability, conceding that with proper treatment Baby M would not have suffered PVL or permanent brain damage.
The parties then proceeded to calculate and negotiate the value of Baby M's claim. The claim included significant sums for the cost of carers, adapted housing, equipment, transport and future medical and therapy expenses. The case was settled in January 2022 for £22.7 million. This settlement will make a huge difference to the lives of Baby M and her family.
Baby M's parents said:
"We are thankful to Paul McNeil and his team from the Fieldfisher for taking our daughter's case and working tirelessly to get the best possible outcome. We can never overcome the stress and fear of our daughter’s wellbeing, but because of the settlement, we are assured that our daughter will get the required support and will have financial security.
"We don’t have enough words to express gratitude to Paul and his team. They were always available and guided us through the duration of our case. We would recommend Paul to anyone who is looking for a medical negligence solicitor. His professionalism is exceptional, He is very compassionate and understands the difficulties that a family goes through in these situations. We would take this opportunity to thank Paul and his team."
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