Boy who suffered brain damage at birth awarded multi-millions by High Court

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A boy who suffered brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy shortly after his birth due to delays in a diagnosis of hypoglycaemia has been awarded just under £12 million in compensation by the High Court to fund his future care and rehabilitation needs.

Born in September 2002 the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born via Emergency C-section at Homerton University Hospital, London, amidst concerns about his heart rate and reduced movement.

His low birth weight left him vulnerable to hypoglycaemia and hypothermia, and the need for regular monitoring and regular milk intake was identified.

However, despite the seriousness of his condition a catalogue of errors – including failure to identify that he had become lethargic and to consult a paediatrician regarding his difficulties with feeding – resulted in vital treatment delays for his plummeting blood sugar levels.

Following legal action brought on behalf of the family by medical law experts at Simpson Millar, Homerton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust accepted that had he been given nutrition and administered glucose sooner, the brain damage would have been prevented. 

The settlement, which includes an initial lump sum payment of £3 million and additional substantial annual payments to fund 24hr care for the boy which he will require for the rest of his life, as well as specialist therapies, accommodation and equipment, was approved by the High Court this morning (October 14th).

His Honour Judge Cotter QC, praised both side’s legal teams for their high level of expertise and pragmatism and their willingness to co-operate which, he remarked, was sadly lacking in some cases that come before him.

The Judge paid tribute to the parents for their devotion and he wished them and the Claimant well for the future.

The family’s lawyer, David Thomas from Simpson Millar’s national medical law team, said the family were ‘extremely relieved’ to now have the care package in place that would allow the boy to live ‘as independently as possible’ given his condition and complex needs.

Due to his condition he has difficulties walking, communicating and interacting with his peers. He has impaired vision, and in 2009 was diagnosed with symptomatic epilepsy which was caused by the brain injury he sustained at birth.

David Thomas from Simpson Millar said: “No amount of money will ever compensate the family for what they have endured over the years as a result of an injury that could and should have been avoided, but it will provide some financial stability which will fund his immediate, and longer term care needs.

“The family are extremely relieved that the case is now drawing to a close and are looking forward to moving on with their lives as best they can.

“Whilst AM will never be in a position to live independently, the care package he has been awarded by the High Court does mean he can live with a degree of independence in a specially adapted home with a dedicated carer, and with access to specialist equipment.”

David went on to say: “Given the complexity of the boys needs it has taken many years to determine what care and support he will need for the future, but that the cooperative approach taken by the NHS Resolution’s legal team throughout the matter helped to establish a settlement as quickly as realistically possible.”

Following an admission of liability from the Trust in 2015 the family were awarded interim payments on account of damages which ensured that the boy had access to care and rehabilitation whilst the case was ongoing.

“It is imperative that we work together with NHS Resolution in the client’s best interests in complex cases such as this,” David said. “Establishing access to the rehabilitation, specialist equipment, education and wider community care that the injured party needs as quickly as possible can have hugely beneficial outcomes for their quality of life in the longer term.”

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