AWH Obtains £15.4 Million Settlement for Cerebral Palsy Claim
In July 2003, our client suffered from a birth-acquired brain injury due to a lack of monitoring overnight. This injury led to life-altering conditions such as right hemiplegic cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, and epilepsy. This case study unfolds the timeline of medical negligence events, the legal battles faced, and the subsequent landmark settlement of £15,435,294.12 by our Senior Associate, Nimish Patel in a claim which we have been instructed over the course of ten years. Beyond financial compensation, the focus lies on securing future support, navigating care dynamics, and providing insights into the challenges and triumphs surrounding our client’s ongoing journey toward independence.
Our Client’s Background
On 14th July 2003, our client suffered a birth-acquired brain injury due to hypoxic ischemic injury caused by being starved of oxygen for a short period of time. As a result, our client has right hemiplegic cerebral palsy, subsequently leading to poor grip to his right hand leading to the predominant use of his left arm and hand. Furthermore, our client’s right leg tends to drag if he runs. Our client’s intellect, memory and executive functioning are significantly impaired. This is compounded by severe visual impairment, which should result in our client being registered as severely visually impaired, blind.
In 2007 our client was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Whilst this caused significant disruption in the earlier years, it is now being managed due to the impressive input from our client’s parents who provide an environment which is orderly and calm.
Our client’s problem-solving skills are limited, and they are not able to function independently in any environment without support. Furthermore, our client is not able to undertake any paid employment in the future although he is keen to help a local charity which he currently attends.
Finally, our client suffers from occipital epilepsy. By managing the seizures, our client experiences them on average six times a month. For the previous ten years, he had received minimal assistance from the NHS, so the degree of engagement and development as a result of focussed therapy to assist his various needs over the last 18 months has been remarkable.
Despite his numerous medical conditions, our client is a happy character who loves to sing karaoke on holiday, telling jokes and watching quiz shows especially hosted by Bradley Walsh!
Negotiating a Liability Split
AWH Solicitors agreed a liability split of 42.5% which was approved on 27th June 2021. Interim payments of £100,000 and a second one in January 2023 of £100,000 were used to assist our client with various therapies to improve his symptoms.
On 15th December 2023, AWH Solicitors agreed a gross settlement of £15,435,294.12 which results in a net payment of £6,560,000.
The Timeline of Medical Negligence Events Leading to Our Client’s Claim
Admission and Initial Assessment
On 13th July 2003, our client’s mother (whom we will refer to as M) was admitted to hospital. M had developed significant pyrexia, and her temperature was 37.4°C. M was given intravenous antibiotics and oral fluids. During this hospital admission there was no assessment of foetal wellbeing. It is contended on behalf of our client that a foetal heart rate trace should have been performed on several occasions on 13th July but there is no note as to whether there were foetal movements being felt at that time.
Medical Review and Continued Lack of Monitoring (14th July 2003)
On 14th July 2003 there was a medical review at 10:30 hours and a diagnosis of pyelonephritis was indicated. Whilst antibiotics were continued, there was still no foetal heart monitoring until 5.50 pm which was well over 24 hours after the first admission. On behalf of our client, supported by our experts, this is substandard and insufficient where there is concern for the mother’s wellbeing.
Accepted Breach of Duty on 14th July 2003
It is accepted on behalf of the Defendant Trust that there should have been monitoring on the morning of 13th July 2003 and that such failure was a breach of duty of care. Further, it is accepted by the Defendant that there should have been CTG monitoring on the morning of 14th July 2003. It is accepted that a failure to do so was a breach of duty of care considering the presenting condition of M and the need to check for foetal wellbeing, as it had been 24 hours since the last CTG tracing which should have been undertaken.
Causation and Expert Opinions
The Defendant agrees that our client suffered from a period of intrauterine prolonged partial hypoxia rather than from an acute hypoxic insult. It is said that this ended late 13th July 2003 or very early 14th July 2003.
The Defendant agrees that there was a breach of duty on admission and there should have been a CTG for 30-60 minutes. We argued that there should have been a further CTG on 14 July 2003 because abnormalities would have been picked up as the hypoxia developed and by the time it caused acidosis (mother not in labour), there would have been sufficient time to intervene before damage. This is important on the question of causation.
Navigating Future Care Dynamics and Property Adaptations
The main points of disagreement and negotiation were surrounding the provision of care in the future and how much intervention would be required particularly in relation after he has his own property.
We set out that he will need to continue the care and therapies which we have set up in the last two years in relation to Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language, Assistive Technology, Neuro psychology and Neurophysiology. Our client’s parents have bought the house that they currently live in from the Council (through our Conveyancing team) and the intention is that over the next two years he develops a live-in relationship with a support worker in this house.
In two years, our client will be ready to move out to their own property which will be adapted for their specific needs and he will still need the support from their parents until the age of 30. From the age of 30, the amount of support needed would drop and hopefully we will set up structures for our client to continue to lead a comfortable life with live in support workers and family providing support too.
The Defendants wanted to argue that the care was not needed to the same extent from when our client moved into their own property and that the size of the property was not needed to be as big.
Securing Future Support for Our Client’s Needs
AWH Solicitors has set in place a Case Manager and a Deputy to handle our client’s requirements in the future.
Our client is regularly attending Occupational therapy, Speech and Language, Assistive Technology, Neuro psychology and Neurophysiology in sessions that we have set up and purchase their own property for cash in the next two years which will need to be adapted. Our client will always need to have at least two live in support workers to assist during the day and night, but we are hoping that our client will have further independence.
In conclusion, the settlement of £15,435,294.12 for our client represents a crucial milestone in seeking justice for the medical negligence they endured. The timeline of events surrounding the inadequate monitoring during the mother’s hospitalisation and subsequent delays in intervention has been a key focus in establishing liability.
The agreement played a pivotal role in securing essential therapies for our client. The gross settlement of £15,435,294.12, resulting in a net payment of £6,560,000, acknowledges the profound impact of his symptoms on our client’s life.
The legal battle not only centred around proving negligence but also delved into the considerable care required for our client’s future. The intricacies of the ongoing therapies, adaptive housing plans, and the need for continuous support were significant points of contention during the proceedings.
Looking ahead, AWH Solicitors has planned for our client’s future by establishing a Case Manager and Deputy to address ongoing needs. Our client’s journey continues with regular attendance at therapeutic sessions, ongoing care, and the aspiration to achieve greater independence through adaptive housing. The commitment to securing a comfortable and supported life for our client remains paramount.
This settlement not only compensates for the past but also lays the foundation for a more secure and dignified future for our client, addressing the challenges posed by his symptoms with compassion and foresight.
There to Help and Advise When You Need Them
“AWH Solicitors…what can I say. Nimish Patel was our solicitor. Listened to what we said, advised us on things we needed to know and always at end of phone. Thank you for all your support, recommended. “ – Comment on Trustpilot by MGet in touch