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14 January 2019
Disabled girl whose spinal cord was damaged during birth awarded £5.85 million compensation to help her family to provide lifelong care
A little girl who will be disabled for the rest of her life after her spinal cord was damaged by a doctor during her delivery has been awarded a £5.85 million care package.
The girl, now eight, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered severe injury to the upper part of her spinal cord during her birth at Basildon Hospital in Essex. She will have significant care needs for the rest of her life due to her serious disabilities.
The High Court in London has today approved a settlement of £5.85 million to be paid to her which was negotiated by specialist solicitors at law firm JMW with the hospital trust’s legal team. The money will help her family to provide the care she requires and give the girl some financial security as her work opportunities are significantly curtailed despite her being very bright.
During her birth the girl became stuck and a locum doctor attempted to deliver her with a ventouse cup, an instrument which is attached to a baby’s head to enable doctors to pull them from the birth canal.
After two pulls by the doctor the ventouse delivery was unsuccessful and the girl was delivered via forceps. She spent three days in neonatal intensive care. Once at home it became apparent she had abnormalities with her hand function and as she grew more problems were identified with one of her legs. Tests later revealed that she had damage to the upper part of her spinal cord and will be permanently disabled.
The girl’s legal team at JMW alleged that the ventouse cup was placed in the wrong position and was pulled with excessive force due to the severity of the injury to her spine. In 2016 the hospital trust accepted liability on a 50 per cent basis which was approved by the High Court in London.
Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW Solicitors, who is representing the girl in her legal battle, commented: “This is a very unusual case as it is rare to see such a significant spinal injury caused to a baby during birth. This girl and her family will have to live with the consequences of this for the rest of their lives but at least now they will have some financial help to make the best of a very tragic situation.
“The case highlights why safer births must be promoted as much as possible by maternity units through training and adequate staffing so that the number of children suffering as this girl has can be minimised.”
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle or Samantha Meakin on the details below:
M: 07921 388584
D. 0161 828 1868
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.