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1 February 2021
Boy who suffered brain damage following his birth to receive £13 million for lifetime care
A 15-year-old boy who suffered catastrophic brain damage as a baby when midwives failed to ensure that he was feeding properly will have access to the lifelong 24-hour care he needs after he was awarded a significant compensation settlement amounting to around £13 million.
Mr Justice Fordham a the High Court in London today agreed the sum should be paid to the boy by the trust responsible after it was negotiated by his legal team and lawyers representing the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is severely disabled and will never be able to live independently, work for a living or manage his own affairs, after he suffered hypoglycaemic brain damage while his mother was recovering from a caesarean in hospital. He also has global development delay, no speech, is unable to feed himself and is registered blind.
Delivered by emergency caesarean at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire in 2005, his mother could neither speak nor understand English. As a result, it was impossible for crucial advice about how frequently her baby should breastfeed to be given to her by midwives. Nor could they obtain information from her about the frequency or duration of feeds he had taken.
On day 1 following his birth the boy seemed to be feeding well. However on day two he was he became less interested in feeding. Overnight into day 3 he did not feed and became hypoglycaemic due to a lack of nutrition. He was found on the morning of day 3 cold and dangerously ill. Steps were taken to feed him in order to improve his blood sugars but tragically such action was too late. He later started having seizures and was later diagnosed with brain injuries due to hypoglycaemia.
The settlement of the boy’s case follows a long and complex investigation into the care provided, which began in 2011 by Melissa Gardner, a partner at law firm JMW specialising in brain injuries.
In September 2018, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust accepted it was liable for 80 per cent of his injuries. Since then, Melissa Gardner has worked to obtain the financial compensation he requires so that a comprehensive care regime can be put in place and ensure he is taken care of for the rest of his life.
Melissa commented: “This was an extremely tragic case and completely avoidable if the maternity unit had ensured the boy’s mother had access to the same information as all other new mums in line with national NHS guidelines.
“This mother had endured an emergency caesarean and, as with all other women in the postnatal period, was reliant on midwives for breastfeeding support. She felt unwell, had not slept for two days and was unable to communicate with midwives or understand what they were saying.
“Once the baby became seriously unwell, an interpreter was immediately found. However, by this point is was too late to prevent him from suffering permanent brain damage and having the chance of an independent life taken away from him. The hospital trust must not allow this situation to be repeated and must ensure all mothers and babies receive the correct feeding advice and support.”
For more information:
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. For more than 20 years he and his team have advised and represented thousands of victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, obtaining compensation for their injured clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.
The team has a top tier ranking in key legal industry guides Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.