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Interim Settlement Aids Child With Cerebral Palsy

Irwin Mitchell acted on behalf of Lucy, a child who suffered permanent brain damage as a result on negligent obstetric treatment.

Medical staff failed to act upon signs of foetal distress meaning that Lucy sustained foetal hypoxia which led to irreversible brain damage. She has subsequently been diagnosed with four limbed cerebral palsy, feeding problems and developmental delay.

Our specialist solicitors managed to secure Lucy an interim settlement of £100,000 to assist Lucy and her mother until the case is settled in full.

Premature birth

Although Lucy’s mother experienced particularly bad Braxton Hicks contractions during her pregnancy, nothing untoward was noted during the first 32 weeks. However, at 33 weeks she was admitted to hospital with a spontaneous rupture of membranes.

Lucy’s mother was given antibiotics to prevent infection due to the baby’s prematurity as well as medication to help the baby’s lungs in the event she was born early. She was noted as a high risk patient due to pre-term labour, a deficiency of amniotic fluids and foetal growth restriction.

No secondary opinion sought

Lucy’s mother was kept in hospital under observation whilst doctors tried to prolong the pregnancy for as long as possible. At 7pm of her second day in hospital, the foetal heartbeat slowed down. Although this was monitored closely, the care from this point fell below an acceptable standard.

The CTG scans showed some suspicious results and that evening the midwife called three times for an obstetrician to examine results which were particularly suspicious. The obstetrician was busy treating other patients yet no one else was asked to review the results. Our experts believe that a secondary opinion should have been sought immediately and that delivery should have been no later than 11pm.

Delivery further delayed

Just after midnight there was a sporadic deceleration of Lucy’s heartbeat. This was noted as suspicious but no further action was taken. At 5.30am the midwife again asked a doctor to review the CTG but no review took place until about 8.30am.

Inexplicably, the CTG was stopped at 9am. When it was restored at 10am, it was not long until Lucy’s heartbeat was found to be dangerously low. At 11am an emergency caesarean was arranged, but this was delayed as the operating theatre was occupied. Lucy was not delivered until 11.45am.

Unfortunately, due to the delay, Lucy began to suffer the profound circulatory insufficiency which it is believed caused her the irreversible brain damage she suffers today.

Caring for Lucy

Lucy is now six and suffering from severe problems stemming for the brain damage including evolving spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, severe global developmental delay and microcephaly. She has to be fed by a tube and is unable to communicate through speech. She also has a divergent squint and astigmatism.

Lucy requires a high level of care and attention which is extremely demanding on her mother and also deprived her siblings of attention. She needs feeding frequently and at night finds it difficult to sleep for longer than two hours at a time.

Future care

Lucy currently receives support from the Audiology, Ophthalmology, Nutritional, and the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy departments at her local hospital. However, it is hoped that a care and rehabilitation package more specific to her acute needs can be implemented shortly.

Specialist equipment such as a specially designed chair and standing frame are very much needed, especially as she is getting older. Lucy is currently transported by a normal buggy, but soon will be too large and will require a wheelchair.

In relation to the case, Peter Cutler said: “By securing an interim payment of £100,000 we were able to ensure that Lucy had access to rehabilitation, therapy and equipment which she was in desperate need of.

“The funds from the interim payment ensured that Lucy’s quality of life was improved with immediate effect, meaning that she didn’t have to wait until conclusion of her case.

“The interim payment also helped relieve some of the financial pressure that Lucy’s mother had been under, and allowed us to appoint a team of support workers meaning that Lucy’s mum could spend more time with Lucy and her siblings concentrating on being a mum, rather than a carer.”

If medical errors during birth caused your child’s cerebral palsy, our expert solicitors could help you claim compensation. Visit out Cerebral Palsy Claims page for more information or call or free on 0808 163 4557.

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