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Boy left with brain damage after heart surgery receives multi-million pound settlement

Medical negligence lawyer settles cerebral palsy brain damage claim

Child undergoing cardiac surgery

4 March 2016

A 12-year old boy known only as CE has received a multi-million pound settlement after he suffered significant brain damage following a heart operation as a one year old at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

CE was represented by medical negligence solicitor Olive Lewin.

CE was born in 2003 with fetal heart and vessels abnormalities which meant he had to undergo a number of procedures from an early age, but according to his mother he was a “normal, happy bubbly baby.”

In 2004, when aged one year old, he had major heart surgery to deal with issues related to his heart problems.  

During the operation his heart was put on cardio pulmonary bypass so that it could function whilst it was being operated on.

Following the operation several attempts were made to get CE off the bypass, but his oxygen levels continued to drop and he was eventually transferred onto Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) a form of bypass.

CE was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit overnight at the hospital. His medical records showed that there were signs of low circulating blood volume which was not recognised.

The hospital agreed that a low circulating blood volume should have been recognised and a decision should have been made to take CE back to theatre by 08.00.

Unfortunately no action was taken until approximately 09.15 when there was another drop in blood pressure alongside a drop in the heart rate.

The doctors were immediately informed, and blood products were given but with no response.

Resuscitation was commenced, and the pump speed to the ECMO circuit was adjusted by one of the doctors. This has been admitted by the hospital as an error in judgment.

CE had a cardiac arrest and the surgeons re-opened his chest and carried out both external and internal cardiac massage for nearly 30 minutes.

As a result, he has cerebral palsy, affecting his whole body, and significant learning difficulties. He also has a reduced life expectancy due to his cardiac condition.

Olive Lewin said:

“CE’s family are pleased with the settlement, which goes a long way to ensuring his future care.

“CE’s needs are many and they are round the clock. This settlement means that he will get the care he needs through his lifetime and is a great comfort to his parents.”

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