Case study: failure to treat infection leads to cerebral palsy

Compensation: £4.8 million 

Hannah, 14

A young girl has been awarded £4.8 million pounds compensation with help from JMW, following incorrect advice from medical professionals which led to cerebral palsy.

Now 14, Hannah* has severe cerebral palsy that has left her with significant mental and physical disabilities. She will need specialist care for the rest of her life and will never be able to live independently.

Premature birth

Hannah’s mother enjoyed a fairly healthy pregnancy but went into labour very early and Hannah was born at just 26 weeks and weighing just 945 grams.

Hannah was admitted to the hospital’s neonatal unit for monitoring where she stayed for about three weeks before she was discharged home.

A couple of weeks later Hannah developed a cold. She was crying almost constantly, was snuffly, irritable and would not settle. After the first day, Hannah’s mother called the neonatal unit of the hospital and spoke to a doctor who asked if Hannah was feeding.

Incorrect advice from two medical professionals

When her mother advised that she was he said it was probably just a cold and to buy a decongestant from the pharmacy.

The following day Hannah’s condition deteriorated and her stomach was distended and her eyes puffy. That evening her mother became so concerned that she telephoned the hospital again and spoke to a nurse.

The nurse asked if Hannah was feeding and as she was, the nurse advised that it was probably colic and that her mother should continue to give her colic drops.

Turn for the worse and brain damage

Later that night Hannah’s mother tried to feed her daughter but she was very reluctant to take milk and cried excessively. However in the morning events took a turn for the worse and when Hannah’s mother picked her up she stopped breathing and suffered a respiratory arrest.

Hannah’s mother frantically called an ambulance and both were taken to hospital.
However by this point it was too late to prevent oxygen deprivation and subsequent catastrophic brain damage. Hannah developed cerebral palsy in all four limbs and is wheelchair dependent.

Permanent damage

She also has no speech, hs profound learning difficulties and is doubly incontinent. 

The claim

After contacting the specialist solicitors at JMW Hannah’s case was taken on by one of our legal experts. It was alleged that it was negligent of the doctor and nurse not to advise Hannah's mother to bring her to hospital, or to arrange for a GP to out to see her. 


Although the hospital trust did not admit to any of these failings, the team at JMW negotiated a £4.8 million compensation package to enable Hannah’s current and future care needs to be taken care of. Hannah and her family were able to move into accommodation suitable for Hannah’s disabilities and access the care and therapies she will need for the rest of her life. 

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality

Has your family suffered in a similar way to Hannah's?

If you believe you or someone has been a victim of neonatal medical negligence, please do not hesitate to give us a call to discuss the situation and to see whether you could be entitled to compensation. Ring us today on 0800 054 6512, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our friendly team will get in touch with you. 

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