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Parents Of Brain Damaged Youngster Win Legal Battle After Hospital Admits Delays

Family React After High Court Approval


The parents of a ten year old boy, who suffered severe brain damage after being starved of oxygen at birth, have won their legal battle for answers after a hospital finally admitted that staff failed to spot their son was in distress, resulting in critical delays in his delivery.

Joseph O’Reggio, now aged 10, from Wolverhampton and his parents Rachel and Julian, supported by medical law experts from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, attended the High Court in London today (Wednesday 8th June) where the judge, Mr Justice Tugendhat,  approved the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust’s partial admission of liability.

Joseph O’Reggio has cerebral palsy as a result of the brain injury he suffered during his birth at New Cross Hospital, on 14th April 2001. He is now completely reliant upon a wheelchair, cannot speak or feed himself and has severe learning difficulties, all of which mean he requires round the clock care.

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust admitted liability for delays in Joseph’s birth but claimed that this made no difference to him suffering brain damage. However medical law specialists at Irwin Mitchell say more could have been done by hospital staff to spot that baby Joseph was in distress earlier. Today’s court hearing now paves the way for a future settlement which will provide for the lifetime of care he now needs.

Sara Burns, a Partner with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who represents the O’Reggio family, explained: “In the hours prior to baby Joe’s birth, hospital staff failed to recognise that he was in distress. Our medical experts say that this should have led to a decision to deliver him by emergency caesarean section and if he had been born just an hour earlier his subsequent brain injury would have been avoided.

“Joe’s parents, Rachel and Julian, are relieved that today’s partial admission of liability means that we can now move forward to secure a settlement for their son. The severity of his disability will inevitably mean that this will be a seven figure amount to provide him with the very substantial care and support he will need for the rest of his life.”
Rachel O’Reggio commented: “Joe is a lovely little boy and everybody who meets him, adores him. However, whilst he is so severely challenged, he does have some level of understanding and this often results in him having extreme frustration tantrums.

“He has two sisters and a brother who all love him dearly and are great at helping him but, at this age, he should be playing and running around with them.

“Whilst no amount of money will make Joe better, the compensation will give him the financial security to provide the necessary care for the rest of his life.

“Although the Trust does not accept full liability, we are pleased that we can move forward and hopefully now agree a final settlement. We also hope that lessons have been learnt in order that no other family has to go through what we have been through.”