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Cerebral palsy - Chasya's story

Chasya was born limp and not breathing
Chasya is a beautiful soul who connects deeply with people and takes so much pleasure in life – Chasya's parents
Chasya Fraser was born on April 4th 2003 at the Royal Free Hospital Maternity unit, Hampstead. She lives in North London, with her parents, Julian and Johanna Fraser and four siblings. Julian is the Operations director for a local educational charity whilst Johanna gave up working as a special needs school administrator to care for Chasya.

Chasya’s story

On April 4th 2003 in the maternity ward at The Royal Free Hospital (RFH), our lives changed forever. God gave us our beautiful daughter, our second child, Chasya, but she came out into this world not breathing and completely limp, much to the shock and surprise of the lone midwife. Amidst the pain and disbelief, the midwife offered an apology. The words hung in the air, without any explanation. Chasya suffered for approximately 10 minutes after birth without breathing and as a result was left with serious brain damage and full limb cerebral palsy.

Over the months that followed we wanted to know if it was safe to have further children and sought explanations. Neither the RFH neonatologist nor the Head of Obstetrics offered any answers leading us to push for a second opinion from Great Ormond Street. This time, the Doctor confirmed that a serious injury just before birth was the cause. This was all the motivation we needed to find out independently what really happened. We owed it to Chasya.

During the years that followed, with the full help and support of Sally Jean Nicholes and her team at Leigh Day, the extent of the negligence that occurred that night became truly apparent. We found it shocking and horrifying. Chasya had been in severe distress during labour that night and needed an emergency caesarean, but the staff on duty failed to act and Chasya suffered severe and irreparable brain damage caused by being starved of oxygen. Although the midwife on duty that night made key errors, it is the whole team - including doctors, senior staff and the Trust itself - that were entrusted with her care who are responsible.

10 years on, we now know why the midwife apologised. The Trust has also subsequently apologised for all the errors that have permanently injured our beautiful daughter and taken away any hope she had of a normal life; running, talking and playing as other children do. As she grows and becomes a woman, we understand from the experts that there will be many other challenges ahead. She will face a quality of life that no financial compensation can measure. Chasya is and will remain totally dependent on others for all activities of daily living, including washing, toileting, dressing, food preparation and other personal care. She will require a team of around the clock carers to ensure she has the simple quality of life we all take for granted. Chasya’s health and ‘normal’ experience of life has been taken from her.

We are grateful Chasya is with us and thank God for her presence in our lives. She is a beautiful soul who connects deeply with people and takes so much pleasure in life. She is an inspiration to be around. We hope her birth continues to serve a deeper purpose for us, our family and our community. Our final wish is that the lessons from it are learned and improvements in care in the RFH are made to ensure the mistakes they made that fateful night are not repeated.

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