Settlement For Man Left With Brain Damage After Doctors Failed To Provide Vitamin K At Birth

Specialist Lawyers Secure Vital Funds To Help Him Access Essential Support

14.04.2015

The family of a vulnerable man who suffered brain damage as a baby after doctors failed to provide an injection of vitamin K following his birth have spoken of their relief after legal experts secured a settlement which will ensure he gets the specialist 24-hour support he requires for the rest of his life.

The man, who cannot be named, was born at Luton and Dunstable Hospital in September 1989 but was readmitted just months later with a serious brain haemorrhage, which emerged after staff failed to administer vitamin K – an injection given to newborns to reduce the risk of blood clots.

The haemorrhage and fluid on the brain that he suffered mean he has numerous physical and cognitive disabilities and requires 24-hour supervision and support to manage his own affairs.

Specialist medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured a settlement from the Secretary of State for Health regarding his case, which was approved at the Royal Courts of Justice today (April 14th).

His family have revealed that they are now looking positively towards the future, as the funds will allow him to access a range of specialist support including ensuring he can live in specially adapted accommodation and benefit from the around-the-clock care he requires.

Following the birth in September 1989, medical professionals at Luton and Dunstable Hospital discussed whether the baby should receive a vitamin K injection, despite guidelines at the time stating it was mandatory.

As neither the midwife nor doctor involved had the dose with them, and with the health authority apparently considering the withdrawal of the vitamin at the time, they decided not to provide the injection. The decision was made without any discussion with the baby’s mother regarding the injection and any associated risks.

The child was then readmitted to the hospital in December after developing cold-like illness, a high-pitched cry, not feeding well and developing a squint.  Following further investigations he was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for a CT scan and other tests, when it was identified he had suffered a brain haemorrhage and acute hydrocephalus.

As a result of the injuries, he has significant cognitive difficulties and physical problems. These include a weakness on his left-hand side, sight issues in his right eye and reduced hearing in his right ear. He also lacks capacity to manage his own affairs and as a result needs 24-hour supervision.

After being instructed by the family, Irwin Mitchell’s specialist medical negligence lawyers helped them secure an admission of liability from Secretary of State for Health which stated that the injection was not provided and the failure to administer it breached the hospital’s duty of care.