£27 million settlement for cerebral palsy caused by birth injury at London hospital

Case Studies

£27 million settlement for cerebral palsy caused by birth injury at London hospital

Our clinical negligence team has recently settled a claim for over £27 million on behalf of a 10 year old child who suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of negligent care at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust. This is the highest settlement the team has achieved to date.

Our client suffers from severe disabilities, in particular brain damage due to hypoglycaemia which occurred following his birth at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on 26 January 2008, when his blood glucose levels fell to a dangerously low level. His mother was admitted to hospital at 41 weeks and 4 days’ gestation. Following fetal heart rate monitoring, a decision was made to deliver our client by emergency caesarean section.

Our client’s mother noticed that he struggled with breastfeeding, and she raised concerns that her son seemed to be floppy and jaundiced. His condition deteriorated, and at 48 hours of age, he was admitted to the neonatal unit in a severely unwell condition. It was found that he was suffering from severe hypoglycaemia, and he began to develop seizures. An MRI scan on 29 January 2008 showed evidence of damage to his brain.

The claim arose out of the failure of the hospital to manage our client’s feeding and glucose levels in accordance with their own protocols and in accordance with competent care for a baby at risk of hypoglycaemia.

Our client has been diagnosed with asymmetrical quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He has global development delay and limited verbal communication. He suffers from seizures, which together with his behavioural difficulties means that he requires around the clock care. He attends a local special needs school, and has been provided with a teaching assistant by the local authority.

We initially obtained evidence from experts in midwifery and neonatology. Both experts agreed that the care provided to our client in the post-natal period fell below an acceptable standard. We went on to obtain further evidence from experts in neuroradiology of paediatrics, and a letter of claim was sent to the defendant trust, setting out our client’s allegations in full. The trust initially denied liability, although once court proceedings had been issued and the particulars of claim were served on the defendant, it admitted liability. We soon after managed to secure one of a series of interim payments of damages for our client, in order to fund his care team and various therapy needs.

Experts were instructed in the fields of care, physiotherapy, accommodation, educational psychology, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, orthotics and speech and language therapy. A further substantial interim payment of £1,500,000 was obtained for the purchase of a suitable property to be adapted to accommodate our client’s many and complex needs.

At a joint settlement meeting, a settlement of just over £27 million was agreed with periodical payments to allow for the provision of adequate care and therapies for our client for the rest of his life.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP