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Case Study

University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Trust's negligent delay treating sepsis caused brain damage to premature baby

After taking over the case from another law firm, Samantha secured judgment on behalf of Baby X who was an extremely premature baby under the care of the Trust. He developed neonatal sepsis at 3 weeks old and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism.

The claim focused on a failure to treat a bacterial infection. We allege a failure to administer in a timely manner antibiotic therapy, and then fluid and drugs to support the baby's circulation and that these failures caused or at least contributed materially to the injury to the baby's brain. 

Breach of duty was hotly contested as was causation. The defendant argued that all of the baby's difficulties were due to extreme prematurity and the sepsis would always have developed until effective treatment was given. Our experts accepted that the baby would have had some subtle cognitive, motor and emotional difficulties due to their prematurity, but would have been able to attend a mainstream school. 

Unusually and upon our hard fought application, the Court permitted instruction of two neonatology experts for the Claimant to comment on breach of duty after we successfully argued that the number of consultant neonatologists called as witnesses by the Trust needed to be balanced. Trial was listed for January 2021 on the issue of negligence only. 

Pre-trial successful negotiation saw liability agreed and approved based on 65% recovery and on the basis that the baby would always have had mild difficulties because of prematurity and that sepsis would always have occurred. The case now proceeds for quantification to be determined at trial in March 2023.

Having taken over the case, Samantha secured substantial interim payment for a case manager and a team of private therapists. She continues to pursue an Education Tribunal to find the best school. The family home is being adapted to provide space for care and therapy.

The baby's parents said: "Samantha is amazing. She will consistently go that extra mile to get the best outcome; surrounding herself with the best experts and team and genuinely caring about her client. She is fully invested in the matter and literally works round the clock. She misses nothing."

For further information about paediatric surgery negligence claims and medical negligence claims, please call Samantha Critchley on 0330 460 6812 or email samantha.critchley@fieldfisher.com.

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