NHS Trust's Admission of Liability For Child With Brain Damage Caused At Birth

NHS Trust's Admission of Liability For Child With Brain Damage Caused At Birth

Specialist medical negligence solicitors at Irwin Mitchell helped the parents of two-year-old Ollie to secure an admission of liability from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, after Ollie suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen during his birth.

On 20 February 2012 Ollie’s mum Charmaine attended St Michael’s Hospital obstetric unit for her labour to be induced. By the evening, Charmaine was suffering from worsening contractions. Despite her clear distress and calls for examination, neither she nor Ollie were monitored appropriately.

Dangerously low heart rate

As a result, the midwives monitoring Charmaine failed to realise she was established in labour. They didn’t notice that Ollie’s heart rate was dropping dangerously low, showing he was in distress and his brain was being starved of oxygen. 

Following delivery, Ollie wasn’t expected to live for more than 2 hours but has surpassed these initial expectations. However, Ollie is now registered blind, suffers epilepsy and severe cerebral palsy, meaning he needs 24-hour care as he barely sleeps and requires pump feeding for 20 hours per day.

We obtained expert reports which concluded that had continuous monitoring occurred and Ollie been delivered by emergency Caesarean section at any time up to half an hour before he was delivered naturally, his brain damage and consequential disabilities would have been avoided. The Trust undertook an internal investigation which led to a series of recommendations on staffing levels, communication between teams and attitudes, which will be drawn up into an action plan to ensure lessons are learned. 

Full liability admitted

The Trust admitted full liability for the failures in Ollie’s care and paid an interim payment to fund much needed equipment and adaptations to Ollie’s home which will significantly improve his quality of life. It will also provide access to specialist carers and rehabilitation services to help with sensory development and movement. 

Natalie Jones and Julie Lewis of Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office have called for each of the recommendations in the action plan drawn up by the Trust to be implemented and shared across the NHS to protect future patient safety. Natalie and Julie are now taking steps to secure the lifetime settlement award for Ollie.

Natalie said: "Ollie has very specific care needs as a result of the brain damage he suffered during birth and the admission from the Trust ensures that these will now all be met. 

"Neil and Charmaine have done an exceptional job in caring for Ollie since his birth, but this was simply not sustainable and we hope they can now focus on being parents, rather than full-time carers."

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