Mother Wins £4m Following Hospital Blunders

High Court Upholds Claim Against University Hospital In Coventry

09.10.2013

The mother of an eight-year-old child who was born with a brain injury has been awarded £4 million in compensation.

Maryellen McDowall will receive the substantial payout after the High Court ruled that University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust was at fault during the birth of Hollie.

The youngster is unable to sit up independently, walk or communicate as a result of the failings.

It emerged that no action was taken by hospital staff, despite the fact Hollie's heart rate had fallen.

Having been born floppy, pale and not breathing, Hollie was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to a lack of oxygen during delivery.

Ms McDowall will receive £1.7 million of the money up front, with the rest being paid through regular instalments.

The compensation will be used to pay for the constant care that Hollie will require throughout her life.

Following the hearing, the mother said: "Although I'm relieved this process is finally over, I remain concerned that the hospital has still not learnt from its mistakes and I think the public deserve to be reassured and to be provided with evidence that steps have been taken to ensure incidents like this are not allowed to happen."

Meghana Pandit, chief medical officer at the University Hospital, said the organisation was "sincerely sorry" for the incident and insisted that measures have been taken in order to avoid a repeat scenario.

Consultants will now be present on the ward for 96 hours a week and staff must now attend mandatory training sessions on electronic fetal monitoring and the use of fetal blood sampling.

Details of this case came just one month after the parents of Ruby Curtis received a lump sum of £2.95 million, as well as annual payments, following staff failures at St James Hospital in Leeds in 2005.

The child - who is now eight - was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy having been starved of oxygen at birth. The family will use the money to provide care and equipment for Ruby.

Expert Opinion
This case is similar to our recently reported cases of Ruby Curtis and Logan Sims. It highlights a scenario in which a child has suffered a life-changing injury as a result of avoidable errors during their birth and now needs long-term care as a result.

“Whist the sum of money involved is of course eye-catching, it is worth remembering that these vital funds will go towards ensuring this eight-year-old girl gets access to all of the care, specialist equipment and support she will need for the rest of her life.

“It is reassuring to see the NHS Trust state that lessons have been learned from this case.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner