Funds Will Provide Child With Specialist Lifelong Care He Requires
A boy, who suffered serious brain damage shortly after his birth causing cerebral palsy, has received a multi-million pound settlement which will provide him with the specialist care he needs for the rest of his life.
The boy was sent home by staff at St Helier Hospital on the day he was born before results of blood tests, which showed he was at risk of developing jaundice, were known.
Fourteen months after his birth, the boy’s concerned mum, from Lewisham, continued to be worried about his development. The boy underwent brain scans which revealed he had suffered Kernicterus, a rare kind of brain damage caused by untreated jaundice in newborn babies.
The boy, who is now aged nine, can only be referred to as OXS for legal reasons, went to develop cerebral palsy.
His mum instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs St Helier Hospital.
The High Court has today approved a lump sum settlement of £6.75 million with additional annual payments of £295,000.
The money will pay for the round the clock care the boy will require for the rest of his life as well as specialist therapies and equipment he requires. It will also fund an adapted property.
OXS will never be able to live independently and has a shortened life expectancy.
Irwin Mitchell’s Court of Protection team is managing the funds on the boy’s behalf to ensure that they last for the rest of his life.
Expert Opinion“This is truly heart-breaking case with the family still understandably devastated by what happened.
“While we are pleased to have secured the family this settlement, which has been carefully calculated and approved by the High Court based on the boy’s complex needs, no amount of money can ever make up for the severe and lifelong injuries he has suffered.
“We call on the Hospital Trust to ensure it learns lessons and hope that the family can start to try and look to the future the best it can.” Auriana Griffiths - Partner
OXS was born in 2010. Following checks he was sent home later that day. Three days later his mum spoke on the phone with a community midwife who noted the boy had a “tinge” of jaundice.
Another two days later, the mum raised concerns about her baby’s jaundice which was noted. However, no arrangements to see OXS were made by the midwife.
OXS’s condition improved over the coming days. However, in 2011 his mum still had concerns about his development.
It was then confirmed that he had suffered jaundice in the days after his birth, which led to his brain injury.
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted full liability. It admitted that OXS should not have been sent home without the results of the blood test been known. If he had remained in hospital the boy would not have suffered his injuries.
At a court hearing on 9 July, 2019, approving settlement, His Honour Judge Gore QC acknowledged that the injury was completely avoidable. He that “the settlement will not turn the clock back, but the lesson of today is that this hearing…allows the family to be able to move forward in the best way in which they are able to.”
The judge added that “It is clear that his mother has lavished care and support on her son” and that “the whole family are to be congratulated”.
The boy’s mother’s unstinting love and devotion was also recognised by the Defendant’s barrister.
The boy’s mum said: “I knew something was wrong with my son but trusted the health professionals. To be then told that he had suffered a brain injury which I believe could have been easily avoided was absolutely devastating.
“While the last few years and trying to come to terms with what happened have been incredibly difficult we try and lead as normal a life as possible.
“My son is the most affectionate boy I could wish for. He is always smiling and tries not to be defined by what has happened to him.
“My focus is trying to provide him with the best life I possibly can. This at least gives me peace of mind that his needs will be met for however long he lives.
“I wish to thank my solicitors Auriana Griffiths and Tom Gough at Irwin Mitchell and Simon Taylor QC of Cloisters Chambers for all their help and support in achieving this outcome for my son."