Our clinical negligence team is currently looking into how a young child was so severely brain-injured after being transferred to hospital due to seizures. The claim relates to hospital failure to manage a significant seizure; to identify and act upon serious neurological deterioration including respiratory distress and decreased consciousness; to intubate in a timely fashion; and to avoid the hypoxic brain injury which the young child claimant suffered.
The claimant was a three year old child with a complex history of neurodevelopmental delay and epilepsy. The child 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 the events in question after the child was put on a ketogenic diet. The child’s parents were delighted with the developmental progress their child was making which included improved communication, cruising confidently, reaching out to hold objects and starting to feed without assistance.
In December 2019, the child had a major fit and the 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 on the HDU ward in incepting the emergency treatment plan, despite the repeated concerns raised by the parents. The child’s condition deteriorated but this was not recognised and acted upon as early as it should have been. Tragically, the delay resulted in the child suffering a significant brain injury.
The child’s permanent hypoxic brain injury has caused profound disability. Liability has been investigated by way of paediatric intensive care, paediatric neurology, paediatric neuroradiology and paediatrician expert evidence and breach of duty has been admitted. It is evident that the claimant will never walk or talk, will not be able to live independently, and will require round-the- clock professional care, therapies and adapted accommodation. Quantum is likely to be in seven figures and settled by way of a lump sum with periodical payments for life.
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