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£18 Million Pound Settlement for Brain Injured Boy
A nine-year-old boy, who suffered severe brain injuries following a failure to diagnose and treat his jaundice in the new born period, has secured over £18 million in compensation following a High Court Approval Hearing today, Monday 13 November.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will need round the clock care for the rest of his life after developing a rare form of brain damage called kernicterus. Kernicterus is usually preventable and is caused in new-born babies with jaundice that becomes so severe it affects the brain.
The boy was born healthy in February 2009 but midwives at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Trust failed to diagnose jaundice in the neonatal period and the delay in treatment resulted in him suffering severe kernicterus. He now suffers quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy, with hearing impairment and developmental delay. He will always be dependent on others and will have a range of special care requirements to ensure he is well cared for.
After a successful medical negligence claim he has now been awarded a package equivalent to £18 million in compensation to enable specialist care and equipment to be provided, now and throughout his life.
Eddie Jones, a Partner at JMW Solicitors LLP and specialist in medical negligence cases, acted on his behalf. Mr Jones said that the extent of the brain damage which the boy had sustained means that he will be reliant on others for the rest of his life.
Eddie Jones, from JMW, commented:
“This is a very difficult and tragic case as the life of an otherwise healthy baby boy has been devastated by mistakes made by the failure to diagnose and treat jaundice. “The family have had to go through such an awful ordeal due to an avoidable tragedy and they were very sadly let down by the Trust on this occasion.
“The family have fought hard to secure compensation for their son to ensure his needs will be catered for during the rest of his life. Nothing can change these tragic events but this settlement will ensure that their son has all the support he needs to help care for his disabilities.”
"Jaundice is a common condition in new borns and, whilst in rare cases the consequences can be serious, it is treatable.
"Sadly, the mistakes made have had a catastrophic impact on my client’s life and the lives of the rest of his family."
Mr Jones added that the case was merely one of a number of claims from across the country being handled by his firm for similar mistakes resulting in kernicterus affecting other children.
In 2008 the Government's former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, called for a national kernicterus register and routine screening to prevent the condition occurring.
Despite his urging, there is still no such register in place and no decision is understood to have been taken by the Department of Health on a screening programme.