Substantial Settlement Will Help Fund A Lifetime Of Care
The Royal Court of Justice in London has today (Friday 14th January) approved a substantial compensation package after a Birmingham hospital was found responsible for mistakes in neonatal care that led to a premature baby suffering brain damage.
13 year-old Ayesha Kishver from Coventry was born at 25 weeks and 3 days and was of extremely low birth weight. As a consequence of her prematurity she sustained mild periventricular leukomalcia (PVL), which is a type of brain damage that can cause problems. However, as a consequence of negligence, which occurred one week after her birth while being cared for in the neonatal unit of Birmingham City Hospital, she suffered additional brain damage. She is unable to do things that girls of her age would be expected to do such as dress herself with ease or engage in simple recreational activities independently.
Ayesha is also struggling to manage at school without additional support and is physically restricted which leads to her regularly falling and hurting herself.
Sara Burns, a medical law expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who represented the family, says: “The settlement comes after many years of difficulty and uncertainty for the family who have endeavoured to support Ayesha. The award is for a lump sum of £1.8m with periodical payments of £70,000 a year until Ayesha reaches 18.5 years of age and then £90,000 a year for the rest of her life.
“This should not be viewed as a ‘lottery win’ – rather it will be used to fund the lifetime of care which Ayesha will need.”
Ayesha’s mother, Shahana Kishver, had a normal early pregnancy but things started to go wrong at 25 weeks gestation when her waters broke and she went into premature labour. Ayesha was delivered by caesarean section on 15th July 1997 and was immediately transferred to the hospital’s Neonatal intensive care unit.
Although Ayesha was 15 weeks premature, during the course of the next week she made good progress.
However during the early hours of 23rd July, Ayesha’s condition deteriorated. The Court held that from 07.00 the nurses caring for her were too slow to respond to changes in her condition and, by the time a doctor returned to check on baby Ayesha’s progress at 8.00am she was found to be pale and in a very poor condition. At this point an alarm also sounded indicating that her heart rate had dropped alarmingly. Ayesha’s condition was almost terminal but a crash team was called and doctors managed to resuscitate her.
Today’s settlement approval hearing at the Royal Court of Justice follows a successful trial in 2008 when the hospital trust was found to be responsible for her injury.
Sara Burns explains: “Our case has been that Ayesha suffered significant disabilities as a result of a failure by doctors to intervene when her condition started to deteriorate. We had to have a trial to establish that the hospital was responsible since the Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust was adamant that their staff were blameless and that Ayesha’s condition was due entirely to the fact that she was born prematurely.
“The High Court ruled in our favour against the Trust and it has taken until today’s hearing in the Royal Court of Justice to reach a settlement.”
Sara paid tribute to Ayesha’s mother who had refused to accept the Trust’s version of events and been determined to get to the truth.
Ms Kishver said: “This long process was initially about establishing the truth of what happened to Ayesha and subsequently safeguarding her future as best I could.
“We have been robbed of countless opportunities she should have had in life that other parents and children consider normal. This remains difficult to come to terms with.
“The settlement will be put into trust to help provide for her special needs, particularly at school and as she grows up and wants to be more independent.”
Sara concludes: “Ayesha suffered additional disabilities as a consequence of the failures of the Trust. In all likelihood, she will need support from others for her entire life and will require substantial funds to purchase the significant care that she will require in later life.
”No amount of money can turn back the clock and give Ayesha the normal life that she would otherwise have had. Today’s settlement, however, will provide both financial security for Ayesha and peace of mind for Shahana, that her daughter will be properly provided for.”