In August 2007 K's mother was admitted to Darent Valley Hospital following the spontaneous rupture of her membranes at home.
She was treated overnight and baby K's condition was monitored. Early the following morning, the CTG trace which monitored K's heart beat, clearly showed signs of fetal distress. In spite of this no action was taken by the midwife looking after K's mother to speed up K's delivery. As it was, K was born some 3 hours after the trace was first deemed to be pathological.
K suffered catastrophic injury to her brain, which revealed that she had been starved of oxygen in the period leading up to her birth. K was diagnosed as suffering from four limbed cerebral palsy with epilepsy.
K's parents instructed Mark Bowman to pursue a claim against Darent Valley Hospital. Expert advice was obtained from an obstetrician, neuroradiologist and paediatrician, and following the service of proceedings, liability was admitted by the Defendants in October 2010. An initial interim payment of £100,000 was immediately obtained to enable the K's family to benefit from the services of a case manager who arranged for private therapy and a care regime to be set up.
At the time of K's birth her family lived in a small detached house. Unfortunately the family home was not suitable for K and alternative accommodation was required. We were able to obtain a further interim payment of £800,000 which enabled the family to purchase new accommodation in December 2011.
Expert advice obtained from the paediatrician instructed on K's behalf revealed that it would be impossible to predict her lift expectancy until she was five years old. Further interim payments were therefore obtained to enable K to receive ongoing speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and private care. K's care needs were so complex that she will require 2 carers for life, including both a sleep in and waking night carer at night time.
In the meantime, the property purchased by K's family in December 2011 required substantial alterations and additions to it, in order to make it fully suitable for K. A further interim payment of £800,000 was obtained in order to cover the costs of the adaptation, and to enable the family to move into rental accommodation whilst the works were being undertaken.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, a number of experts visited K's family in order to help quantify the medical negligence claim. These included experts in the fields of care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, accommodation, assistive technology and educational psychology. In December 2013, just five days before the Trial was due to commence, the case settled out of Court. The agreed settlement was for a lump sum of £3,267,490, yearly payments of £267,000 until K's 18th birthday, and thereafter £296,550 for as long as she lives.
In addition, the Defendants agreed to pay the costs of K's one to one support worker at school until such time as the local education authority agreed to provide such funding. This award was rubber sealed by the Court at an approval hearing in December 2013.
At the end of the case K's mother commented:
"My husband and I knew there had been catastrophic errors leading up to the delivery of our daughter. That, coupled with the overwhelming anecdotal evidence we very quickly made the decision to seek professional advice. Following our first meeting with Mark Bowman, and on leaving the offices of Fieldfisher, we had complete faith that we were with the right solicitors. We knew it was going to be a long journey, but we needed answers. Mark Bowman has been nothing short of amazing. He has been by our side getting us through every step of the way. His ability to remember every little detail, put us in awe. His tenacity and passion for justice together with his gracious nature made it very easy to work with him."
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Jane Weakley interviewed on the Victoria Derbyshire Show alongside her client Becky Tyler
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