The boy, who is under an anonymity order, has spent most of his life being branded as naughty and disruptive and displaying ‘grossly abnormal behaviour’, including shouting, biting, defiance and impulsivity.
While initially he was diagnosed with left side Hemiparesis and cerebral palsy was queried, this largely resolved and, physically, he presented like any other young boy. Although he started school, he was excluded almost daily and the Local Education Authority struggled to place him in a school.
He currently lives with his parents and three siblings, and attends a nurturing unit in a specialist school with his own support workers.
The boy was born in a very poor condition by emergency caesarean after hospital staff noticed that the CTG monitor showed he was in distress. He suffered a Moderate Neonatal Encephalopathy, signs of respiratory distress, neo-natal hypoglycaemia, sepsis, seizures and persistent pulmonary hypertension. He required resuscitation with inflation breaths and intubation and was cooled for 72 hours. When his mother saw his condition, she suffered severe distress and shock.
Jane was instructed to investigate the delivery and put together a case that resulted in the hospital trust admitting liability for its part in his birth injury.
Jane said that what followed the birth was five years of misdiagnosis by social services and health professionals of bad parenting and disruptive behaviour that medical evidence has since shown was in considerable part a result of his birth injury – she said, “we instructed independent medical experts, including a paediatric neuropsychiatrist and a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder was made, which he wouldn’t have had but for the brain injury, plus ADHD which he probably would have had anyway but which the brain injury made more severe,”.
“Our case was that it is impossible to divide up his injury – that is, to attribute certain behaviours to the injury and others to factors such as his environment,” she said.
“I’m extremely pleased that this settlement for life will allow his family to provide the best possible care to give this child the best life possible. What he thrives on is being outdoors, with space to run around in and areas to explore,” she said. “But he does need two support workers with him at all times to handle his volatile outbursts.”
“His family love him dearly and I know they’ll do the absolute best for him.”
The award will be managed by the Court of Protection to ensure it is used for the boy’s reasonable needs and in his best interests for the rest of his life.
The boy’s mother said: "It has been an incredibly stressful time and we are pleased we have a letter of apology from the Chief Executive of the Trust who says that mistakes were made. We have some peace of mind knowing that our son will be supported for the rest of his life."
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