Court awards damages for negligent management of child's birth at Basildon Hospital Image

Court awards damages for negligent management of child's birth at Basildon Hospital

Posted: 11/07/2013

The Royal Courts of Justice yesterday considered and approved, in principle, a significant settlement of damages for David Fawdrey, a young man who sustained a severe brain injury at the time of his birth in 1991, at Basildon Hospital in Essex, due to the negligent management of his mother’s labour. Overall the award is likely to be worth in excess of £5 million.

David Fawdrey was delivered by emergency caesarean section after CTG traces had shown evidence of persistent and severe fetal distress. However the decision to deliver came late due to the obstetric/midwifery team having failed to monitor his mother as closely and regularly as they should have done. As a result David Fawdrey suffered a period of hypoxia-ischaemia which tragically caused him permanent brain damage. He was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning difficulties and impaired vision.

Through his mother and Litigation Friend, David Fawdrey brought proceedings against East of England Strategic Health Authority claiming that the management of his mother’s labour was negligent and that this was the cause of his brain injury. Court proceedings were issued in March 2011.

Liability was contested but the defendant health authority subsequently agreed to a 70/30 compromise so that David Fawdrey would receive 70% of the damages due to him and judgment was entered for David on this basis with those damages to be assessed.

A full assessment of all David Fawdrey’s financial losses, treatment and care needs was carried out and agreement was reached between the parties in May 2013 as to appropriate settlement of the claim, with this agreement being subject to court approval. The settlement is significant and comprises a lump sum and annual periodical payments to meet David Fawdrey’s ongoing care and case management needs.

Alison Johnson, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Solicitors LLP, acted on David’s behalf and said: “Although no amount of money will ever make up for the injuries that David has suffered and the tremendous impact it has had on his family, I hope that the settlement achieved in this case will ensure that he has the care and therapies that he needs to maximise his potential within the context of his significant disabilities. I also hope that it will allow his parents some much needed respite whilst they enjoy seeing David flourish with as much independence as he can manage.”

Martin Spencer QC and Clare Price, both of Hailsham Chambers, were counsel for the claimant.

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