Three-Year-Old To Receive Lifetime Care Settlement As NHS Admits Neonatal Care Mistakes

Girl Left With Cerebral Palsy After Attempts To Remove Breathing Tubes Too Early

05.10.2016

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The family of a young girl who suffers from Cerebral Palsy after complications following her birth say they are relieved that they will now receive a settlement to cover her 24-hour lifetime care and rehabilitation needs after the NHS Trust responsible admitted its failings.

Sofia Hope Hogan was born by emergency caesarean on 22 April 2013 at Northwick Park Hospital but she was in a poor condition and had to be intubated and ventilated. She was moved to the neonatal unit before being transferred to St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey for intensive neonatal care.

While at St Peter’s staff decided to trial extubation from the breathing machine but after the breathing tubes were taken out Sofia immediately stopped breathing and had to be reintubated, which took two attempts.

The lack of oxygen to her brain caused her to suffer a serious brain injury and her parents instructed specialist medical negligence solicitors at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her treatment after finding out that Sofia would need now 24 hour care for the rest of her life.

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has now admitted liability for the problems paving the way for Sofia to receive a settlement to cover the costs of care and rehabilitation she will need for the rest of her life.

The NHS Trust said in a letter to Irwin Mitchell that it accepted there were a number of breaches of duty concluding that ‘it is accepted that [Sofia] should not have been extubated at 16:10.’  It admitted that without the extubation she would have avoided her brain injury although she may have suffered some cognitive impairment.

The Trust also carried out its own Serious Untoward Incident Report which was critical of the decision to extubate Sofia.  It stated that the doctor did not review Sofia’s observation chart or determine the views of the nursing staff caring for Sofia before ordering the trial of extubation, and did not ensure Sofia was breathing spontaneously before extubation.

Expert Opinion
“Sadly Sofia’s treatment fell below the high standards usually practiced within the NHS and she has been left with injuries which will affect her and her family for the rest of her life.

“Now the Trust has admitted liability for the problems we will now be working to calculate the exact settlement Sofia needs as she has cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and epilepsy and needs 24 hour care.

“It’s now important that the NHS learns lessons from this incident to reduce the risk of similar incidents in future.”
Jane Weakley, Associate

Irwin Mitchell has already secured Sofia a significant interim payment from the NHS Trust to pay for urgent accommodation which meets Sofia’s needs as a disabled toddler. The law firm has also put in place a Case Manager to work with Sofia and her family to get care in place, purchase specialist equipment, arrange therapies and treatments, and assist the family with finding permanent suitable accommodation.

Sofia’s mother Keleigh Watson, 26, from Harrow, Middlesex, previously worked as a maternity photographer at Northwick Park Hospital, but has been unable to return to work as she needs to be Sofia’s full-time carer. 

She said:  “I still feel a lot of anger regarding the decision to extubate Sofia causing her to suffer her injuries, especially as this has been highlighted in the investigations as a mistake. I’m sure the Consultant has done a lot of good in his career but that does not help us now.

“Learning to care for our daughter has been incredibly difficult and we just want the best for her in life.   Although it has been tough at times and Sofia needs round the clock care, as a family we are committed to understanding and adjusting to Sofia’s needs, which will be forever changing as she grows up.

“We are incredibly relieved that the Trust has now admitted liability and it means we can rest safe in the knowledge that Sofia will be able to receive more help with her care and rehabilitation.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Cerebral Palsy claims.