Child starved of oxygen at birth
The parents of a brain-injured Stockton boy have taken a step closer to winning a 15-year battle to get County Durham and North Tees Valley Health Authority to provide compensation for child starved of oxygen at birth, which left him with severe learning and behavioural difficulties.
Fifteen-year-old Chad Willis, who lives with his parents Melanie and Mark Willis and sister in Bishopsgarth, Stockton, is expected to receive an estimated interim pay-out of £400,000 at a High Court settlement in London this Monday (14 March).
The award follows years of emotional heartache and fighting for financial compensation by his parents after Chad was born at North Tees General Hospital on 6 February 1990.
Hypoxic brain injury
He received a hypoxic brain injury caused by oxygen starvation during the course of the birth.
Lawyers acting on behalf of County Durham and North Tees Health Authority are expected to ratify the payout after the Authority previously admitted liability.
However, the fight for full compensation will continue as the Willis family and their legal representative John Davis of Newcastle personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell (IM) seek a multi million final settlement.
Chad Willis has major learning and behavioural problems and walks with a clumsy gait as a result of his brain injury. He is prone to aggressive outbursts and suffers from memory loss as well as finding it difficult to concentrate and speak. He also requires around the clock supervision and specialist care.
Some of the payout will be used to fund a care and case management programme and therapy for Chad including a specialist case manager, while the majority will be used to buy a larger house.
The Willis's current home is too small to meet Chad's future needs and is also located close to a busy main road which is too dangerous for him to cross unsupervised.
Health experts have recommended that the Willis's need to move immediately to new accommodation, which has at least eight rooms including five bedrooms and bigger outdoor play space. This is expected to cost in the region of £395,000.
Mr and Mrs Willis have had to provide all their son's care to date. Melanie Willis had to give up her full-time job at KP Foods to look after Chad full-time and has suffered long periods of sickness due to anxiety and depression.
Oxygen starvation at birth solicitor
The case was initially handled by two firms of solicitors before Irwin Mitchell's (IM) John Davis took it over recently.
He said: "The Health Authority admitted liability in May 2003 but no interim payment had been obtained by the previous solicitors.
"I am delighted for the family. This will go along way to improving the family's quality of life and we will continue in the fight to obtain a final compensation payout to ensure Chad gets the long-term care he needs and deserves."
Melanie Willis: "With a disability there is always something you need and it is very costly, so this is great news. I am so pleased that at last Chad is going get the money he needs to pay for the support and care he needs to improve his life.
"I would also like to thank everyone for their support over the years, including John Davis who has been able to secure this money. However, the fight for full justice goes on and we look to a future time when Chad receives the full compensation he deserves."