Parents Of Boy Diagnosed With Cerebral Palsy And Medical Negligence Lawyers Support Major Awareness Campaign
A couple are calling for lessons to be learned after their son was born with brain damage following a three-week delay in delivering him.
Seb Collins was born in a poor condition at Leeds General Infirmary after being starved of oxygen in his mum’s womb.
A condition known as intermittent end diastolic flow in one of the arteries – meaning Seb might not have been receiving all of the oxygen and nutrients he required - was seen on his 35 week scan.
He should have been delivered by 37 weeks.
Leeds boy diagnosed with cerebral palsy following birth injury
However, his mum, Harriet, who attended several other appointments following her 35 week scan, went full-term with Seb being delivered at 40 weeks. He had been starved of oxygen and had to be resuscitated. Seb spent five days on a ventilator.
He has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He has a number of disabilities including motor and speech difficulties and needs additional support at school.
Medical negligence lawyers help family
Following his diagnosis aged three, Harriet and husband Adam of Headingley, Leeds, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and help him access the lifetime specialist care and therapies he is likely to require.
Harriett and Adam, both aged 35, have now joined their legal team at Irwin Mitchell in calling for lessons to be learned.
It comes after Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs LGI, admitted a breach of duty through its lawyers. It admitted that it “failed on multiple occasions” to follow up with a care plan. It said the abnormal scan result at 35 weeks should have resulted in planned delivery of Seb by 37 weeks.
If Seb, now aged four, had been born by 37 weeks it is accepted that he would “have entirely avoided” his brain injury, the Trust said.
Hospital Trust apologises to Seb Collins' family
Through its lawyers the Trust has apologised that the family’s care fell below the standard they would expect and for the missed opportunities to implement an appropriate care plan.
Expert Opinion“Sadly Seb suffered devastating but avoidable injuries which will continue to affect him and his family for the rest of their lives.
“While we welcome the Trust’s co-operation and apology, it’s now vital that lessons are learned to improve maternity safety for other families.
“In the meantime we continue to support the family to ensure that Seb can now access the specialist care, therapies and support he's likely to require to live as independently as possible in the future.
“Seb’s case is a stark reminder of the life-changing consequences families can be left to face because of care failings and we continue to campaign for improvements in maternity safety.” Rachelle Mahapatra - Partner
Irwin Mitchell represents hundreds of families nationally who have been affected by issues in maternity care. It is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country and contributed to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.
Cerebral palsy: Seb's story
Harriet, a legal secretary and Adam, a teacher, who also have two daughters, are supporting Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month to raise awareness of the impact of the condition and support available.
Harriet said: “It’s still hard to talk about what happened around the end of my pregnancy. We assumed that because Seb was being closely monitored that there would be no problems.
“But as soon as Seb was delivered I knew something wasn’t right and seeing him in the first few days on a ventilator was particularly hard.
“When we got the diagnosis of cerebral palsy for Seb, it was a real mix of emotions. Relief that it was recognised as something and not our imagination, fear and sadness of what it might mean for his future, hope that he would improve but also thankfulness for wonderful friends and family who would support us.
“Seb is such a determined little boy. He wants to join in with what everyone else is doing and perseveres when finding things tough. He faces challenges throughout the day, from speech and making himself understood to mobility, pain, fatigue, struggling with grip and balance
“He is a bright, friendly, thoughtful, funny boy and this disposition goes a long way to helping him overcome these challenges. We hope that he will build strong friendships to help him as he grows and particularly through the teenage years.
Parents thankful for support
“We’re thankful for a really good community of friends and family who understand some of the challenges of cerebral palsy and who support us as his parents. It’s a hard balance to have a totally can-do attitude for Seb while not putting him through too much pain or effort which, due to his communication, can be difficult to gauge.
“We’re committed to helping him live a full and fulfilled life as independently as possible. We’re amazed at his resilience and honoured that we get to witness it every day.
“We just hope that by speaking out we can help prevent others going through what we have. It’s also important that families in a similar situation to us don’t feel they have to go through this alone. Help and support is available.”
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by birth injury at our dedicated medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.