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High Court approves an equivalent £14 million settlement

14 April 2021

Clinical Negligence, News

High Court approves an equivalent £14 million settlement after doctors at Hospital failed to recognise a dislodged breathing tube in a new born child following which she developed brain damage and cerebral palsy.

A hospital has been ordered to pay out millions of pounds in compensation to a family after their daughter almost died shortly after her birth due to staff not recognising a dislodged tube that should have been helping her breathe.

Maternity - Clinical Negligence - Williamsons SolicitorsThe case was heard in the High Court, by Mr Justice Martin Spencer, where details about the case revealed that the girl had suffered a respiratory collapse shortly after being born. She was intubated (a tube is placed in the throat) to help provide assisted breathing before being moved to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Unfortunately, during or shortly after transfer her endotracheal tube became dislodged, partially blocking her airways. There was a failure to appreciate that her deteriorating condition might be caused by a dislodged tube. A couple of hours later it was determined she would not survive and the tube was removed, following which her condition improved. While her life was saved, she suffered a profound brain injury as a result of this neonatal hypoxic ischaemic insult (lack of oxygen & blood supply to the brain).

Medical Negligence - Williamsons SolicitorsThe girl is shortly due to turn 10 and is now dependent on 24-hour care after developing 4 limb dystonic cerebral palsy as a result of the delay in recognising the blocked endotracheal tube.

She is able to communicate in a very basic fashion through her gestures, but it is not possible for her to speak. She can’t feed herself, although she can drink if a cup is held to her mouth. Her unaided functional movement is limited to quite a significant degree. She enjoys being around her siblings and the rest of her family.

She has profound and multiple learning difficulties. As a result, she will lack capacity to make decisions about her finances, day-to-day life and welfare in the future.

Due to her condition and diagnosis some of the experts involved estimate that her life expectancy may only be to the age of 33, although everyone hopes this to be inaccurate and she lives far longer.

Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust did not fully admit liability for the injuries caused by their medical negligence. However, before the commencement of a trial in London it was possible to reach a negotiated settlement.

Clinical Negligence - Williamsons SolicitorsThe Court awarded a significant sum due to the severity of her injuries. A lump sum of £3.1 million and an index linked, tax-free annual payment to cover the additional costs for the rest of her life, starting at £113,806 in December 2022 and rising with various increases until the final increase at £268,432 a year from 2036 onwards. The equivalent value of this is approximately £14 million pounds if she survives for the longer period identified by some of the experts.

Clinical Negligence SolicitorsThe financial award will help to pay for the provision of therapeutic support, care and assistance delivered by a team of therapists and carers together with a fully adapted property and appropriate support for all future holidays with her family. This should help provide for all her future needs and allow her to live the most fulfilling life possible. Her parents can now receive all the additional support that has not previously been an option and they know her future needs are now provided for.

Nick Gray - Williamsons SolicitorsWilliamsons Solicitors has extensive and recognised experience in helping families who may have suffered injuries in similar circumstances. If you need to talk to an expert Solicitor please call us on 01482 323697 or email nick.gray@williamsons.co.uk

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