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Case Study

Cerebral palsy caused by misuse of syntocinon at John Radcliffe Hospital

Paul McNeil recovered £3.5 million for Seth in a cerebral palsy claim against John Radcliffe Hospital. Seth suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of a mismanagement of syntocinon during his birth at the hospital in 2001. The compensation package will provide funds for expert treatment, rehabilitation and care to allow Seth to reach his maximum potential.

Seth was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 4 October 2001. As a result of obstetric negligence during the care of his mother during labour, Seth now suffers from cerebral palsy.

This affects his upper limbs more than his lower limbs. Happily Seth's intelligence and intellectual capability is preserved, as is his character. He is a very engaging little boy.

During the course of his mother’s labour the obstetric team introduced a drug called syntocinon to increase his mother’s contractions. Following this the fetal heart rate began to show signs of stress.

We alleged (on Seth’s behalf) that a proper management plan required that the syntocinon be stopped or reduced early in the labour.

This would have resulted in the abnormalities to Seth's heart rate being avoided. Delivery would have taken place by Caesarean section and Seth would have been born without disability.

Instead the syntocinon was maintained throughout the labour and the fetus began to suffer distress.

Although Seth was born in good condition, after birth he inhaled a plug of meconium which blocked his trachea so that he was unable to breathe for a period after birth.

We successfully argued that the meconium would not have been passed if the fetus had not been stressed by the excessive contractions caused by the syntocinon.

Paul McNeil investigated the cerebral palsy claim on behalf of Seth. He obtained reports from an obstetrician and a neonatologist. Proceedings were issued in January 2005.

The matter settled for £3.5 million in February 2006, close to the date fixed for trial.

As a result of the settlement the family have been able to purchase a suitable property and to provide professional care and therapies which Seth needs to maximise his potential.

After the case Seth's mother said:

"It is impossible to put into words what Paul McNeil has done to help our family. Throughout the case Paul was supportive, approachable and honest which gave us great confidence in him and his team.

"As a result of Paul's hard work and diligence we are able to maximise Seth's potential and enable him to live his life with a sense of independence and a dignity he deserves."

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims and medical negligence claims, please call Paul McNeil on 020 7861 4019 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.

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