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Care package secured for boy severely disabled by midwife failures
The parents of a youngster who was left severely disabled after his brain was starved of oxygen due to midwife failures have spoken of their relief that he will have the specialist care he requires for the rest of his life.
The High Court in London has today approved a seven figure compensation settlement for Alfie Johnson, now eight, of Stourbridge, West Midlands, to cover the cost of the specialist accommodation, equipment, care and therapy he requires to cope with his disabilities. The settlement was secured by brain injury specialists at law firm JMW after they took on his fight for justice against Russell Hall Hospital in Dudley, where he was born.
Midwives failed to monitor Alfie Johnson and his mother Vickie during labour meaning signs that he was in distress were missed. Action was not taken to deliver him and the labour was allowed to progress with Alfie in significant danger. Alfie was later born in a very poor condition and with severe brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy. The hospital trust admitted the failures in 2011 and apologised to Alfie and his family. Alfie’s long-term needs were then assessed and JMW negotiated with the trust to ensure the compensation he was awarded will give him life-long security. A settlement was agreed between both legal teams last month, which was today given court approval.
Alfie’s father Paul Johnson commented: “It’s a relief to get to this point and it means Alfie’s needs will be met for the rest of his life.
“We are grateful that JMW obtained an admission of negligence from the trust and we were able to agree a settlement out of court but in a sense it is bitter sweet end to the case because all this was avoidable. Alfie was a healthy baby before Vickie went into hospital and that’s something I think about a lot. He was our first child and it was such a traumatic introduction to becoming a parent.
“However he is a remarkable little boy and we’ve pulled together as a family and remain a strong unit. I just want to say to other parents who are in the same situation not to give up hope. Bringing a case against a hospital is not an easy journey but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are so grateful to have had specialist advice from JMW because it was through them that we uncovered just how many mistakes had been made.”
Olivia Scates, partner in the medical negligence team at JMW, commented: “We are delighted to have secured this settlement for Alfie and that he and his family will get the help they need to cope with his profound disabilities for the rest of his life. Their conduct throughout this case has been inspirational and although nothing can turn back the clock, Alfie now has financial security and can achieve the best possible quality of life.”
Russell Hall Hospital, in Dudley, is operated by The Dudley Group of Hospitals, which was told it must improve by the Care Quality Commission in 2014, particularly around the issue of patient safety (http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RNA).
Whilst Alfie's life has been devastated by what happened to him at birth, there is a positive side to his story in the form of a charity that is registered in his name. The Friends of Alfie Johnson was initially set up as a fundraising organisation, back in 2009, to help purchase specialist equipment for Alfie, to help to enhance the quality of his life.
When Alfie’s case was won and it became apparent he would be compensated, money continued to be raised to help other families to purchase equipment needed for their disabled children.
The charity comprises of family and friends, who are all volunteers. Paul, along with his sister, brother, brother-in-law and other trustees, passionately raise funds to help children like Alfie, by holding events throughout the year. Over the years, the Friends of Alfie Johnson have raised in excess of £100,000 and helped many other children with disabilities, like Alfie, along the way.
Pictures show: Alfie Johnson and his parents Paul and Vickie Johnson.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle or Samantha Meakin on the details below:
D. 0161 828 1868
T: 0845 402 0001
Note to Editors
JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients. JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones.