The Trust have admitted liability in full for failures in care and have agreed that judgement for liability for the child's injuries shall be entered. The full value of the claim will now be assessed with the help of expert evidence, about all the child's lifetime needs. A substantial interim sum of damages will now be paid to enable a care and therapy regime to be set up, whilst this process takes place.
The full value of the claim, over the child's lifetime will eventually involve a multimillion pound settlement, but the case will not settle finally until Claire, who specialises in making sure that full valuation of high value claims for catastrophically injured patients is achieved, is certain that sufficient expert evidence has been obtained to ensure that enough money will be obtained to pay for the child's lifetime care, therapy and equipment needs.
At 29 weeks into her pregnancy, the child's mother had attended hospital concerned that she had not felt her baby move. She was monitored via CTG as an outpatient. The trace readings however failed to meet special criteria designed to help obstetric doctors and midwives to analyse such traces, to make sure that the baby in the womb is well (the Dawes Redman criteria). In fact the results were pathological and showed that the baby was struggling. Nevertheless the Mother was advised that everything was fine and then discharged home.
She went back to hospital the next day but was again discharged home again even though she was still worried that the baby was not moving enough. Further CTG tracings on that day showed even more signs, based on the same Dawes Redman criteria, that further tests should have been carried out. If they had been, they would have shown that the baby was not receiving sufficient oxygen via the Mother's placenta and needed to be urgently delivered. The Mother was again told that everything was fine.
Eventually, 3 days later, the Mother returned again to the hospital and although she was admitted to the ward on this occasion, there was a further delay in the hospital appreciating how poorly the baby was, when they should have arranged an urgent delivery. The baby had been suffering from lack of oxygen (chronic partial hypoxia) and the brain injury suffered as a result of this (periventricular leukomalacia) would have been avoided if the delivery had been brought forward in response to the warning signs available to the hospital staff.
The child is now aged 7, and is currently cared for by his family, but has learning and communication difficulties and requires the use of a wheelchair most of the time. Speech, physio and occupational therapy will be required for life. Special equipment including suitable wheelchairs will also required and suitably adapted accommodation will now be needed to make space for the care and therapy team and all the equipment now required.
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