Eight-figure sum awarded to girl left brain damaged at birth
A significant eight-figure sum of compensation has been secured for a nine-year-old girl who suffered severe brain damage at birth.
Posted on 13 February 2019
The child, known only as T, suffered a haemorrhage and deprivation of oxygen to the brain during an attempted forceps delivery at West Middlesex Hospital. She required extensive resuscitation and underwent cooling but unfortunately was left with severe brain damage, including epilepsy, cerebral palsy and a cerebral visual impairment.
Now aged nine, due to the hard work of her parents who have dedicated themselves to doing what they can to improve her abilities she is able to walk and feed herself. However, she still suffers from epilepsy which medication cannot fully control and she has only limited means of communication. She requires full time care and 1:1 support to enable her to participate in day to day life. She will require care and support for the rest of her life.
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T was represented in her legal claim by specialist clinical negligence lawyers, Nicola Wainwright and Suleikha Ali. Having obtained independent expert evidence which was extremely critical of the care T and her mother received, Nicola and Suleikha were able to obtain an admission of liability from the NHS Trust responsible for West Middlesex Hospital, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The claim could not be finalised at the time of the admission as T’s future needs were too unclear to know what level of compensation would be required to fund all the expenses she would incur as a result of being left disabled. However, T’s legal team were able to secure interim payments of compensation in advance of the conclusion of the case
The interim payments allowed T and her family to move from their one bed flat to more appropriate accommodation near a special needs school that could cater for T’s complex needs. It enabled them to pay for the therapies that T needed but was not receiving from the State, such as physiotherapy which helped her to mobilise, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. Her parents were able to pay for some care to give them some respite and equipment that T needed.
Once T’s future needs could be assessed her solicitors and barrister Angus McCullough QC, from One Crown Office Row, were able to negotiate with the solicitors for the trust a significant settlement, comprised of a lump sum and annual payments, which when fully capitalised totals an eight figure sum, one of the highest ever agreed. The settlement was approved by the Court at a hearing at which the judge paid tribute to the dedication of T’s family.
Nicola Wainwright, partner in Leigh Day’s clinical negligence department, said:
“It was a privilege to work with T and her family and to be able to contribute to improving her life now and in the future. We were delighted that we were successfully able to negotiate an excellent settlement for T. All of those funds we secured will go on meeting needs that T would not have had if she and her mother had received an adequate standard of care at the time of her birth. Once T’s parents realised how injured she was her parents sought our advice and assistance to ensure they could provide her with the best life possible.”
Suleikha Ali, senior clinical negligence solicitor, added: “T’s needs were complex but seeing first- hand the difference the right therapies, activities and support could make was inspiring and we were careful to ensure that the settlement we successfully negotiated would enable T’s parents to continue to provide the same high level of input throughout T’s life. I am pleased I was able to contribute to securing the necessary compensation to cover T’s future needs.”