High Court Judge Approves Eight-Figure Settlement To Fund Lifetime Of Care And Rehabilitation

Lawyers Secure Vital Care Package For Six-Year-Old Girl Disabled At Birth

12.12.2012

Lawyers acting on behalf of the devoted parents of a six-year-old girl left severely disabled after hospital staff made a catalogue of errors during her birth have spoken of the family’s relief after she was awarded an eight-figure care package at the High Court today (12 December).

Aastha Patel, who will be seven at the end of the month, has severe cerebral palsy after her brain was starved of oxygen at birth because staff failed to act when her heart rate dropped. She can’t walk unaided, struggles to feed herself, has epilepsy, very limited communication and reduced eyesight, leaving her needing round-the-clock care for life.

Her dedicated parents instructed medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the mistakes made during Aastha’s birth at Northwick Park Hospital and help gain access to the lifelong care, support and rehabilitation their daughter now needs.

Experts instructed by the law firm found that, despite midwives noticing Aastha’s heart rate was slow when her mother arrived at hospital, they failed to continuously monitor and record it, failed to call for a registrar when it worsened, confused mother and baby’s heart rates and delayed delivery by 30 minutes.

Once Aastha was delivered, the incubator was faulty and she did not take her first breath until she was five minutes old, by which point irreparable brain damage had been caused.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured Aastha an eight-figure settlement at the High Court in London today following North West London Hospitals NHS Trust admitting full liability in the case. The funds will be managed by Irwin Mitchell’s in-house Court of Protection team and will be spread throughout Aastha’s life to give her the care she needs.

Jane Weakley, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing the family, said: “Aastha’s family have done an incredible job caring for her and I have no doubt she would not have developed to the level she is at now without their love and constant support.

“It has understandably been very difficult to provide the level of care she needs, as well as look after their two other children and hold down their jobs.

“It will be more difficult to care for Aastha the older she is, which is why the settlement approved today has come at a vital time for the family. The amount has been very carefully calculated to take into account Aastha’s exact care needs and the level of support she requires.

“They also now have the peace of mind that Aastha has access to the specialist rehabilitation services she needs for the rest of her life.”

Weakley added: “Sadly we continue to be contacted by devastated families every year whose children have been left brain damaged because of mistakes made by staff during labour.

“Patient safety has to remain the number one priority across all departments in the NHS and we hope steps have been taken by North West London Hospitals NHS Trust to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.”