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Lifetime Of Care Secured For Girl Following Payout

Clarke Family Welcome Court’s Approval


The family of a South Wales girl left with severe brain damage following serious medical errors during her birth have spoken of their relief after funding was secured that guarantees her a lifetime of around-the-clock care.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell represented the family of Sophie Clarke at an approval hearing at Cardiff District Registry where it was agreed that the twelve-year-old will receive damages equivalent to almost £5 million over her lifetime to ensure she can have as normal a life as possible in spite of her condition.

Suzanne Munroe, a medical law and patients’ rights specialist from the firm’s Sheffield office, said: “It’s great news that the Clarke family now have access to the funding which will ensure Sophie gets the best possible care and rehabilitation throughout her life. I hope all of the family can now look forward to a brighter future together.”

Sophie was the victim of a catalogue of mistakes at Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, before she was born. Staff failed to recognise that a CTG Trace showed gross abnormality of her heart rate, which meant she should have been delivered earlier, but they did not intervene and let the birth progress naturally. The decision proved costly, as oxygen starvation caused Sophie’s cerebral palsy.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has agreed to pay damages over the incident after accepting she should have been delivered earlier, however the Health Board maintained that it was not to blame for causing Sophie’s injuries, which, according to the Health Board had already occurred by the time Sophie should have been born.

Commenting on the outcome, Lynne Clarke, from Pontyclun, South Wales said: “It has been an incredibly hard few years for the family, but to know that our daughter will always be looked after is a huge relief for us all.

“While no amount of money will repair the damage done, we now have a chance to move on with our lives and focus all of our energies on Sophie, ensuring that she gets as much out of life as possible.

Suzanne added: “The brain injuries suffered by Sophie mean that she is entirely immobile, will be wheelchair-dependent for life and has to be fed through a gastro tube.

 “The extent and complexity of the problems faced by Sophie mean the funding which has been secured will ensure she can access 24-hour care, and rehabilitation and therapy services that will prove invaluable throughout her day-to-day life.

“It also means that her family can guarantee she has accommodation adapted to meet her everyday needs.

“However, while the settlement is welcome news it is important that the compensation Sophie will now receive from the Trust is not seen as a lottery win. The funds will be carefully managed by Irwin Mitchell's Court of Protection team to ensure Sophie has access to care she will need for the rest of her life.”

The family do not wish to comment further. If you have any questions please contact the Irwin Mitchell press office on 0114 274 4666 or email pressoffice@irwinmitchell.com.