Family Of Youngster Join Medical Negligence Lawyers In Marking Awareness Campaign
A four-year-old girl left permanently disabled after suffering an injury at birth has defied the odds by becoming a champion horse rider.
Willow Groutage, from Walsall, became stuck during her birth at Queen’s Hospital in Burton-in-Trent. Medics had to use a suction cup three times before pulling her out.
Girl diagnosed with Erb's Palsy following birth injury
Following delivery, Willow was found to have no movement in her right arm. She was later diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, a type of paralysis caused when nerves in the arm become damaged.
As a result of her injury, Willow now lives with a number of difficulties including poor balance and co-ordination, a stiff posture and a tight right arm.
Willow’s mum Whitney Rae Glenn, 35, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care received from the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust which runs Queen’s Hospital.
Hospital Trust accepts responsibility for girl's injury
The Trust initially denied liability. However, following High Court legal proceedings being commenced it agreed to judgment being entered against it, meaning it accepted responsibility for Willow’s injury.
Irwin Mitchell and the Hospital Trust are now working to assess the extent to which Willow’s condition will affect her for the rest of her life so she can access the specialist support and therapies she requires.
Whitney is now using Erb’s Palsy Awareness Week to speak for the first time about how her daughter is defying the odds by excelling as a horse rider, regularly winning competitions. She’s also joined her legal team in calling for lessons to be learned.
Expert Opinion“Those with Erb’s palsy can experience challenges with everyday tasks, such as personal care and sporting activities. The impact of these difficulties can often become more apparent with age.
“Willow and her family have found the past few years incredibly difficult as they come to terms with Willow’s diagnosis and what it could mean for her future.
“Despite everything, Willow has shown such determination not to let her disability stop her from achieving what she wants. It’s amazing to see that at just four-years-old, she’s already a champion horse rider.
“However, her story also highlights the impact birth injuries can have and the need for maternity safety to be upheld at all times.” Jade Elliott-Archer, Medical Negligence lawyer
Willow has been horse riding regularly since she was 18-months-old. She has two ponies, Jabula Louis and Benji.
The family, including Whitney, Willow’s dad Danny Groutage, 34, and her brother Lake, two, travel the country to allow Willow to take part in competitions. She has won several championships performing a riding trot or walk and is now learning how to jump.
As Willow grows, it’s understood that she’ll need physiotherapy to help stretch her shoulder joint. Surgery may also be required to increase the flexibility.
Whitney, a hairdresser, said: “When Willow was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, we were devastated. It wasn’t a condition we knew much about but we knew it would impact her life to some degree.
“As Willow gets older, it’s starting to become clear she’s going to be affected, but because of her age, we don’t yet know the full extent of her injury. Despite this, she doesn’t let it stop her from doing what she loves. Willow thoroughly enjoys horse riding and is brilliant at it. Nothing makes us prouder than seeing her out there with her ponies.”
Alongside receiving support from Irwin Mitchell the family are also being helped by the Erb’s Palsy Group. The family receive a monthly book which includes helpful articles. The Erbs Palsy Group also hold a yearly family funday.
“At the time of Willow’s diagnosis, I was very overwhelmed and kept wishing that it wasn’t happening to her. But after some thought, I contacted the Erb’s Palsy Group and they’ve provided such amazing support to us as family,” added Whitney.
“Willow refuses to let her condition define her and we hope that by sharing our story we can help others with the condition know that there is help available so you can live your life how you want.”
Erb’s Palsy Awareness Week runs from 16 to 22 October.