Mental illness compensation claim
An Aylesbury man who blames severe memory loss and mental illness on birth injuries allegedly sustained at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital 23 years ago today launched a £3 million compensation claim in London's High Court.
Thomas James Phillips - who is suing through his father, Richard - claims he sustained catastrophic damage to a part of his brain that controls the memory function due to asphyxia suffered during his delivery at the hospital in 1983.
Mr Phillips has also been plagued by psychiatric illness since the age of 16, and attributes his "schizo-affective disorder" to brain injuries caused at birth.
He is seeking millions in compensation from the South Central Strategic Health Authority, which denies negligence played any part in his delivery as well as the value of his damages claim.
Mr Phillips' mother gave birth to him on June 6 1983, with one treating doctor noting weeks later that "on delivery the baby was quite surprisingly in a somewhat asphyxiated state".
His QC, Paul Rees, alleged negligence by medics in failing to ensure "continuous electronic monitoring" of the fetal heart rate by CTG trace once labour was established.
He argued that regular monitoring would have detected deviations in the heart rate, and so prompted surgeons to carry out a speedy emergency delivery.
Had the baby been delivered earlier the catastrophic damage would have been avoided, the QC claimed.
But the health authority says monitoring procedures were in line with "reasonable and responsible medical practice" at the time, also asserting that no heart "abnormalities" would have been picked up until very late in the delivery.
Mental illness lawyers
Lawyers for Mr Phillips say that brain injuries sustained "at the end of labour" have had a devastating and profound effect on his adult life, severely affecting his memory, psychiatric health and "executive functioning".
Such claims are hotly disputed by the health authority's experts, who contend that the exact cause of Mr Phillips psychiatric illness remains unclear and it is impossible to blame them on birth asphyxia.
The case continues and is set to last two weeks.
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