Specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers call for lessons to be learnt
A boy, who suffered brain damage as a baby after midwifery staff failed to recognise and treat neonatal hypoglycaemia, has received a settlement of £16.45 million which will provide him with specialist care he now needs for the rest of his life.
The boy has been left with complex neurological injuries, including epilepsy, visual and mobility problems, as well as learning and behavioural issues after University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust delayed providing treatment to monitor his poor feeding and manage his low blood sugar levels shortly after his birth in 2005.
Now, after an approval hearing today in the High Court, the NHS Trust has agreed to a settlement of £16.45 million. The money will help provide care for the rest of the boy’s life, pay for vital equipment and therapies, as well as compensate for the fact he will never be able to obtain full-time employment.
Justine Spencer, the specialist medical negligence partner at Irwin Mitchell, represented the boy and his family.
Expert OpinionMy client suffered severe brain damage after delays by midwifery staff in identifying he had problems feeding, leading to his blood sugar levels falling to dangerously low levels.
“While we are pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing, no amount of money can ever compensate for the severe and lifelong injuries my client has suffered.
"The family would rather not be in this situation at all but the settlement will now fund my client’s care for the rest of his life, enabling him to live as independently as he possibly can.
"I hope that lessons are learnt from the mistakes that were made in this case in order to improve patient safety in the future.” Justine Spencer - Partner
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born in a good condition in 2005 at Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital before he and his mum were transferred elsewhere within the trust for post-natal care.
Over the next 24 hours the mum raised concerns about her son’s feeding to staff. However, his falling blood sugar levels were not identified until a test was carried out following several requests for help.
By this time the boy was seriously ill. He was taken to the neo-natal intensive care unit at Princess Anne Hospital, where he spent 15 days.
The boy, who is expected to live until 80, will require 24 hour assistance and supervision, as well as a structured care plan throughout his life. He will not have the mental capacity to manage his own affairs and Irwin Mitchell’s Court of Protection team will now assist him and his family to manage the carefully calculated funds which includes a lump sum and annual payments to cover his care needs.
The boy’s mum said: “He is wonderful and affectionate young man who despite having awareness of his disability, never lets it define him.
“While the last few years have been extremely hard for us all as a family, we try to lead as normal a life as possible and do the things any family would enjoy.
“However, we feel angry and let down by the level of care that our son received. Despite raising concerns about our son struggling to feed, we felt we were just ignored until it was too late. Our son’s injuries and the stress and heartache we have gone through could have been avoided if action had been taken sooner.
“While nothing can make up for the failures that led to our son’s condition, we are relieved that he is now guaranteed to receive the lifetime of care he so desperately needs.
“We just hope that no other family has to go through the suffering we have been through and that lessons have been truly learnt."
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