Irwin Mitchell’s experts have supported mothers Hayley Mason-Peers and Nicola Carlin-Mason after their son Matthew was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Matthew suffered a brain injury at birth after a delay in delivery by caesarean section. This left Matthew with athetoid cerebral palsy, which affects all four of his limbs. As a result, he can’t move or sit unaided and is unable to take care of himself. He needs 24-hour care and communicates using an eye-gaze sensor.
Matthew lives in an adapted home with his mums Hayley and Nicola, as well as his two brothers, James and Joshua. They also have a live-in carer.
In this article, you can find out more about:
Overcoming Matthew’s Brain Injury
After Matthew’s diagnosis, Hayley and Nicola, who are both nurses, considered raising a complaint with the hospital because they wanted lessons to be learnt for future families. But once they realised the extent of Matthew’s care needs, they turned to Irwin Mitchell to help them understand what happened during Matthew’s birth and hopefully access the medical support and rehabilitation that he needed.
Dina Lambourne*, a senior associate in our Medical Negligence team, supported Hayley, Nicola and the family. Dina secured an interim payment for the family, which helped with Matthew’s rehabilitation and went towards improving their living situation.
When Matthew was 10 years old, the family received compensation, which included periodical payments to help support Matthew now, and in the future.
Here’s the family’s story told by Hayley and Nicola:
Taking The Pressure Off Hayley And Nicola
Matthew was identified as needing assistance to manage his property and financial affairs. A successful application was made to appoint Irwin Mitchell Trust Corporation Ltd (IMTC), and Senior Associate Sally Murphy in our Court of Protection team was appointed as Matthew’s Deputy.
Sally supports the family and assists with Matthew’s benefits and financial affairs. This protects him from potential financial abuse and allows Hayley and Nicola to focus what matters most – being Matthew’s mums.
Hear what having a Deputy means to Hayley and Nicola:
Finding The Perfect Property, Matthew’s Adapted Home And Its Features
Once the family received their interim payment, they considered moving to a new home. Although some minor adaptations had been made to their original family home, it was unsuitable for Matthew with limited space for his carers, equipment, and therapy.
Working closely with Matthew’s occupational therapist and care team, our Court of Protection colleagues helped the family to find and purchase a suitable property that could be adapted to Matthew’s needs. Once the purchase was complete, we appointed Wyvern Partnerships to act as property administrator to plan the adaptations and develop the property.
The family have called their new home ‘The Ability Maison’, where they promote Matthew’s independence through the adaptations, which include:
- Widened doorways
- Automated doors, lights, and blinds
- A lift to from the ground floor to Matthew’s bedroom
- A hydrotherapy swimming pool.
The property is now a wonderful family home with Matthew at the centre of all the changes. It’s had an incredible impact on quality of life for Matthew and his family.
See inside their adapted family home:
Reflecting on their new home, Hayley said:
“We wanted to achieve a home when we came here. We didn’t want somebody to walk through the door and it screams disability. The equipment is vital. But we wanted it to feel homely rather than clinical.
“We set up an Instagram account and called it "The Ability Maison". We decided that we’d put a voice out there to say this can be achieved. This is about ability not disability. You can still have everything you need, but it can function much more as a family residence.”
Sally Murphy added:
“I’m always absolutely blown away by how positive Hayley and Nicola are, and what a positive can-do attitude they have towards Matthew’s life.
“They never let any of his challenges get in the way, and he lives the most fulfilled and incredible life. It’s such an inspiration to anyone out there.”
If you need support with protecting the best interests of a vulnerable loved one, our Court of Protection solicitors can help. Find out more about the support we offer.
We also have a friendly and caring team of cerebral palsy solicitors, who can help investigate your case if you suspect your child received negligent treatment.
*In the video, Dina Lambourne is incorrectly referred to as a partner at Irwin Mitchell. Dina Lambourne is a senior associate solicitor.
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