Parents Speak Of Relief After Judge Approves Agreement That Hospital Trust Contributed To Causing Son’s Brain Damage

Medical Law Experts Work To Secure Lifetime Care Package

19.03.2013

The devoted parents of a 11-year-old boy left with severe cerebral palsy after he was starved of oxygen at birth have spoken of their relief after a High Court Judge today approved an agreement that more could have been done to prevent his injuries, paving the way for a lifetime care package.

Daniel Spencer is completely reliant on a wheelchair, struggles to communicate and is in need of 24-hour-care after midwives at Worcestershire Royal Hospital were slow to respond when mum Susan began bleeding and midwives failed to call a doctor when his heart rate started fluctuating.

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell representing the family said that Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust offered to accept majority responsibility for Daniel’s injuries at a settlement meeting which a judge approved at the High Court in Birmingham today.

Sara Burns a Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office said the judgment is another step forward in securing a care-package for Daniel which will guarantee his future rehabilitation and 24-hour care needs are met.

She paid tribute to his dedicated parents, Susan and Olly from Malvern in Worcestershire, and said the decision was a massive step forward for the family who have ‘fought tirelessly’ on Daniel’s behalf.

Sara Burns, from Irwin Mitchell who specialises in birth injury claims, said: “Daniel’s family have shown tremendous devotion and support to help him achieve the best quality of life possible over the last 12 years, but the fact remains that his brain injury is so severe he needs specialist help from professionals.

“Today’s judgement means the family are now one step closer to this lifetime of care and we will now work to arrange a settlement as quickly as possible. This will provide Daniel with rehabilitation such as physiotherapy, live-in carers and specialist equipment including electronic wheelchairs.”

Susan and Olly, who have three other children, say their lives currently revolve around making sure Daniel has everything he needs and they have always worried about what the future may hold for him.

Olly, who works as a garden centre manager, said: “When Susan was in labour and began bleeding I went straight to the midwives and asked them to help but 10 minutes must have passed before someone came to examine her. Even then there was no sense of urgency but we were completely in their hands and helpless.

“When we were told about Dan’s brain damage it was hard not to feel very angry, but we focused all our efforts on providing for him and trying to give him the best quality of life possible.

“He attends a specialist school and can move around in an electric wheelchair, but he will always need 24 hour care and it is hard not knowing what the future will hold.

“Despite his brain injury Dan is an absolute joy to be around and his brother and sisters dote on him. He continues to amaze us every day with his positive personality and we’re so proud of everything he has achieved.

“Today feels like a new beginning for him and gives us peace of mind that no matter what happens in the future, he will always have access to the best possible care and support. We can concentrate on being a family of six together and try and make life as fun as possible for all the children.

“We just hope the Trust have improved maternity services and learnt from what went wrong in the hope of preventing any other family from going through what we have.”

Sara Burns added: “The birth of a child should be one of the happiest times of people’s lives but sadly we continue to be contacted by families who are devastated by the consequences of not receiving the care they deserved.

“Improvements need to be made across the NHS in midwifery training and staffing levels to ensure each mum and baby receive the appropriate support to prevent the same repeated mistakes being made time and time again.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise relating to Cerebral Palsy claims