This claim related to a hospital’s failure to manage a significant seizure, to identify and act upon serious neurological deterioration, including respiratory distress and decreased level of consciousness, to intubate in a timely fashion, and to avoid the hypoxic brain injury a young child claimant suffered.
The claimant was a 3 year old boy with a complex history of neurodevelopmental delay and epilepsy. He had regular seizure activity and a known difficult airway, for which an emergency care plan was in place. However, seizure activity had been drastically reduced in the year before, following the commencement of a ketogenic diet. The child’s parents were delighted with the developmental progress their son was making, in terms of communication, cruising confidently, reaching out to hold objects, and starting to feed himself.
In December 2019 the child had a major fit and his parents called an ambulance. The claimant was taken to hospital, where it took some time for the seizure to be brought under control. There was then a negligent delay by the high dependency unit in beginning his emergency treatment plan, despite repeated concerns being raised by his parents. The child deteriorated, but this was not recognised and acted upon as soon as it should have been. Tragically, the child suffered a significant brain injury during this time.
The child now has a permanent hypoxic brain injury, causing profound disability. Liability has been investigated by way of paediatric intensive care, paediatric neurology, paediatric neuroradiology and paediatrician expert evidence, and a breach of duty has been admitted. It is evident that the claimant will never walk nor talk, will not live independently, and will require around the clock professional care, therapies, and adapted accommodation. Quantum is likely to be a seven-figure award and settled by way of a lump sum with periodical payments for life. The work required to value the claim is ongoing and Alison Johnson, partner in our clinical negligence team, is handling this.