Sarah, who is anonymised by the courts, has motor disabilities associated with her cerebral palsy, as well as impaired visual development and global development delay. She suffers from uncontrolled epilepsy and has cognitive issues.
Expert evidence was obtained by both parties and the Trust accepted that there should have been earlier obstetric referral in the days prior to admission to hospital and that, once in hospital, delivery should have taken place earlier. However, causation remained in dispute. The Trust denied earlier referral would have led to induction of labour two days before actual delivery, and further contended that earlier delivery would not have made any difference to her condition and brain damage. This was disputed.
In October 2022, at a settlement meeting, the parties eventually agreed a percentage liability settlement.
This liability settlement will provide an initial interim payment to support Sarah while quantum is assessed, including the additional support she will need now and in the future. This will include the support of carers and therapists, and suitable accommodation for her and her family. Until now, Sarah has been looked after by her mother and father.
Sarah's mother said:
"We are grateful to have Arti as our solicitor, she responds to emails and calls straight away and has kept us updated throughout the years we have been investigating the case. Without Arti and her team this achievement would not have been possible, they all have worked really hard on my daughter's case and the outcome has been great. We are now looking forward to having some help to support our daughter."
Arti Shah said:
“This has been a difficult case on liability, and I am pleased we have been able to agree a compromise settlement. The interim funds will allow parents to have some respite after eight years of looking after their daughter on their own, and quantum investigations will help secure her future needs."
In court, the Deputy Judge said she was "humbled" at reading the care and support Sarah's parents had provided her, and acknowledged that their daughter was at the forefront of everything they did for her. The barrister representing Burnley Hospital echoed the comments, and offered a formal apology on behalf of the Trust to Sarah and her family, indicating that a formal letter of apology would follow.
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