West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust And NHS Blood And Transplant Service Pay Damages
A child left severely brain damaged following a failure to treat his mum’s blood condition during pregnancy has received a multi-million pound settlement which will fund the specialist lifetime care he now requires.
The boy’s mum was diagnosed with Rhesus disease – a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells.
During her pregnancy medical staff failed to monitor and treat her condition and failed to deliver her earlier by caesarean section.
Following his birth at West Suffolk Hospital in 2010 the boy developed haemolytic disease, a problem with red blood cells. Due to his disease the boy developed a number of medical complications including cardiac failure and problems with blood circulation which caused a clotting disorder and haemorrhage. As a consequence of this he suffered liver and brain damage at birth.
His parents instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the family’s care.
West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust and NHS Blood and Transplant Service admitted full liability for the boy’s injuries in 2011. However, the legal case had to be put on hold for several years as the boy was too young for the full extent of his injuries to be determined.
The case has now concluded and the boy’s parents have joined their legal team at Irwin Mitchell in calling for lessons to be learned to improve patient safety and reduce the risk of similar incidents in future.
It comes after the High Court today approved a final settlement in the case. The money awarded has been carefully calculated to fund the specialist 24/7 care and therapies the boy, who will never be able to live independently or work, will require for the rest of his life. He cannot be named for legal reasons.
The funds will be managed by a court appointed Deputy to ensure they last for the rest of his life as he won’t have the capacity to manage them himself.
Expert Opinion“This case is yet another terrible example of the issues which can emerge when problems develop during maternity care of mums and babies.
“The last few years and trying to come to terms with what happened have been incredibly difficult for the family. Like in many cases where a person suffers a brain injury as a child, our client has had to wait many years for doctors to fully establish the true extent of his injuries and how they will affect him.
“While nothing can make up for what has happened we are pleased to have secured the settlement which has been carefully calculated with independent expert evidence to ensure that this child’s extensive care needs are provided for the rest of his life.
“Rhesus disease is a condition that can be easily treated with monitoring and transfusions during pregnancy. Alternatively, early delivery and immediate transfusions to the baby can prevent injury. However, if left untreated, the disease can have devastating consequences for babies.
“While nothing will change what has happened to this little boy, this hearing is an important step forward in ensuring that he will always be able to get the best from life despite the challenges he is facing.
“We are glad that we have been able to work with the NHS organisations involved to bring this case to a conclusion, however, it is important that both organisations learn lessons from this case to improve patient safety.” Leena Savjani - Partner
The boy’s father said: “The last few years and coming to terms with what has happened has been incredibly difficult.
“We love our son so much and he is the most adorable boy we could wish for. However, it is difficult not to think how his life may have been different if he had not suffered his brain injury.
“All we want to do is to be able to provide the best possible life for him and we are so proud of the courage he shows every day.
“By speaking out we just hope that health bodies realise the heartbreak and pain they can cause through mistakes which could have been easily avoidable.
“We are relieved that this agreement has been reached and we can now try and concentrate on our boy receiving the support he deserves.”