One of the highest ever medical negligence claims, in Northern Ireland, was paid out this month to a young girl (who cannot be named) from Co Antrim, who suffered a severe brain injury as a result of medical negligence. Belfast Health and Social Care trust was sued by the girl’s family after mistakes at birth left her with severe cerebral palsy.
The girl was born at the Royal Victoria Hospital in 2002, however medical negligence meant that she was starved of oxygen during the birth. The medical staff had failed to maintain proper, continuous foetal monitoring during the last part of the delivery.
If the right procedures had been followed then the baby’s distress, due to lack of oxygen, would have been noticed immediately and then dealt with accordingly. It is believed that this lack of oxygen is what has caused the young girl’s cerebral palsy, along with her need to be constantly under supervision.
Cerebral palsy expert at the Medical Accident Group, Inez Brown, questions the frequency of such events: “It has been happening far more regularly that mishandled births are leading to devastating consequences for the victim and their families”.
The midwife and other medical staff denied all responsibility until forensic analysis of notes and records from the birth showed that it was indeed the fault of the team carrying out the birth. The solicitor dealing with the case, said that the family could have been spared serious stress if the facts had been accepted by the staff sooner.
He goes onto say: “It’s a tragedy that this had to happen because of a short period of inattention”. A view echoed by solicitor Inez Brown: “Victims and their families face a lifetime of challenges because of one moment of negligence. Fortunately, the compensation delivered allows them to live as promising a life as they can, something that the Medical Accident Group strives for on every case”.
The trust finally accepted liability just before the case began in Belfast, earlier this year. It was then the judge’s ruling that a compensation package in excess of £5 million was paid out to the girl and her family. The compensation amount is there to provide the family with all of the support that they need, a home that is modified for disability, and so that the parents can live a comfortable life, whilst giving their daughter the support she needs.
Inez Brown stresses that: “This is only a small consolation for what her family have been through”. The parents, friends and teachers all have such wonderful things to say about this young girl, who is so strong and determined after such a difficult start in life.
The case solicitor explains: “They see only too well what might have been – her personality shines through despite her disability. Her teacher describes her as a lovely girl and a joy to teach.”
If you have been the victim of medical negligence and seek advice concerning a cerebral palsy claim, then the Medical Accident Group has expert lawyers with experience dealing in these devastating cases. We will provide support, help and offer the finest advice to ensure you are not in this alone.
For more information on cerebral palsy please contact Inez Brown, Partner on 01905 744823