Wake Smith secures a £12m settlement for child left with brain injury shortly after birth
Terry Regan, Head of Wake Smith’s Clinical Negligence Department, looks through an emotional, complex, long standing case which has now been concluded.
Terry said: “The case surrounded a child born at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals more than 10 years ago. Approximately 4 weeks before birth his mother was tested for infection. She was told that the hospital would contact her or her GP if there was anything to worry about. If she did not hear anything there was no cause for concern.
“The test revealed Group B streptococcus infection. Neither the child’s mother nor the GP was told of the result. No antibiotics were given prior to the birth.
“The child acquired the infection which was initially left untreated. He developed neonatal septicaemia and meningitis. As a result the child developed neurological impairment.
“The medical experts agreed that had antibiotics been given to the mother no infection would have occurred and the child would have avoided any injury.
“Wake Smith secured judgment on liability a number of years ago. The Court agreed that it would take several years before the full extent of the child’s problems were fully known. Only then could the Court determine what the future may hold.
“The child’s condition was complex. The list of problems was extensive including learning difficulties, very significant behavioural problems, speech and language issues, orthopaedic problems and deterioration of vision.
“The child had great difficulty in being able to sequence, plan and co-ordinate. The prospect of holding down any meaningful employment was virtually nil. The child is unlikely ever to have capacity.
“We put in place specialist support in all areas of difficulties. This was monitored over many years, and proved effective. As a result of this input there were improvements in the child’s ability to interact, and to hold down a place in mainstream school.
“The support was extensive incorporating many treating therapists overseen by a clinical case manager. We agreed with the Hospital Trust for payments to be made by them cover the cost of this support over many years.
“Once the medical experts were able to give a prognosis of the child’s condition we set about mapping out the child’s lifelong needs. This is a major task not only because of the child’s complex condition but also because the child had normal life expectancy.
“The Trust accepted our invitation to a round table meeting once our case was formulated and costed. We agreed a lump sum figure for the child together with lifelong annual payments to pay for support workers and therapists. Taking the calculation to normal life expectancy this will total approximately £12 million.
“The Court approved this amount on behalf of the child. They also put in place an anonymity order.”
The case was dealt with throughout by Terry Regan. Colleague Andrew Vidler, Consultant in Wake Smith’s Private Client Department is the Court of Protection Deputy for the child.
Terry added: “I have had the pleasure of getting to know an exceptional young person who has a very supportive family.
“The enormity of this type of case requires team work, within Wake Smith, the child’s barristers, the family and the large number of therapists and experts. This requires project managing and clear direction.
“The result of all of this effort is that it gets the child to a much better place and provides security for the child for the rest of their life. This, as you can expect, is also an enormous relief for the child’s dedicated parents. The child has been dealt a significant lifelong injury. The child can never do the normal day to day things that we take for granted. With the support paid for by the award, however, the child in question has a much better chance of at least being able to have some independence and a decent quality of life.”
If you have been a victim of medical negligence please contact Terry Regan at email@example.com or on 0114 224 2735.