Lawyers Secure Settlement For Five-Year-Old Girl Who Will Require 24-hour Care ‘For The Rest Of Her Life’
The grandparents of a girl seriously brain damaged during an emergency caesarean, shortly after which her mum died, are calling for lessons to be learned after lawyers secured a settlement to fund the lifetime care the child requires.
D’lissa Parkes, 26, from Catford, died of a cardiac arrest at Lewisham Hospital a few hours after childbirth. Around the same time, D’lissa’s family were advised that her baby daughter S’riaah had suffered irreversible brain damage. She was subsequently diagnosed with four-limb cerebral palsy.
Following D’lissa’s death, her parents Sylvia and Parbeto became S’riaah’s guardians. They instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate S’riaah’s care and how she sustained the brain injury which has left her severely disabled.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, which runs Lewisham Hospital, admitted liability and agreed a settlement with Sylvia and Parbeto’s legal team to fund the specialist lifetime care and therapies S’riaah requires.
The Trust did not face legal action in connection with D’lissa’s care.
The settlement has today been approved by the High Court.
The sum will ensure S’riaah has access to the specialist lifelong rehabilitation and therapies she requires. The family also plan to move into suitable accommodation to meet S’riaah’s needs.
The funds will be managed by Irwin Mitchell’s Court of Protection team to ensure they last S’riaah’s lifetime and her best interests are met throughout her life.
Expert Opinion“Sadly through our work we see the catastrophic consequences of suffering a brain injury at birth, which has a profound effect on that child and the whole family for the rest of their lives.
This is a truly tragic case and understandably what happened is still incredibly raw for Sylvia and Parbeto.
While nothing will change what the family has been through we’re pleased to have secured this settlement, which has been carefully calculated and approved by the High Court, and will ensure S’riaah’s complex needs are met for the rest of her life.
It’s also vital that lessons are learned from this case to improve patients safety and prevent others from suffering in the same way that Sylvia, Parbeto and S’riaah have.”
Richard Kayser - Partner
Childminder D’lissa had a bowel condition which although was noted was never dealt with during her pregnancy. During legal submissions as part of S’riaah’s case, it was accepted D’lissa should have been advised to have an elective C-section. However, she was categorised as a low risk pregnancy and was allowed to go into natural labour.
Complications arose during the labour, which were likely to be as a consequence of a placental abruption. D’lissa unfortunately went onto suffer a pulmonary embolism causing a cardiovascular collapse, cardiac arrest and unfortunate subsequent death. She was never able to meet her daughter.
S’riaah suffered from acute profound and chronic hypoxic ischemic insults which led to irreversible brain damage. Six days after she was born a decision was made to withdraw care. S’riaah however, continued to breathe independently. She remained in hospital for eight weeks before being discharged into the care of her grandparents. She thereafter and continues to require round the clock care at home.
Now aged five, S’riaah regularly undergoes physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.
Sylvia said: “The past five years have been incredibly difficult for me and Parbeto, firstly losing our beloved D’lissa and then being told that S’riaah is living with a brain injury. The whole thing has been truly awful.
“S’riaah is such a beautiful young girl and we feel so lucky to have her in our lives, but at the same time we feel terribly sad that she’ll never get to meet her mum. D’lissa was so excited when she found out she was pregnant. She would have been an absolutely amazing mum and we’ll make sure S’riaah knows how much she loved her.
“Sadly, S’riaah struggles with a lot of everyday tasks so we are grateful that the settlement will allow us to put a care package in place to make sure she has the care she needs for the rest of her life.
“While we can’t turn back the clock and change what’s happened, all we can hope for now is that lessons are learned so that another family doesn’t have to go through what we have. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone, and ensuring S’riaah has the best life possible is our priority now.”
In memory of D’lissa and to raise awareness, the family have set up the DCP Foundation https://www.dcpfoundation.co.uk/. The purpose of this Foundation is to bring about awareness to the issues of maternal deaths and health issues and to provide a support network for women and men of all ages and background.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases