Parents of baby left brain damaged get £37million payout from the NHS

Parents whose baby was left severely brain damaged after blunders by staff on NHS maternity ward are to get £37million payout

  • Baby boy who was left brain-damaged after staff mistakes on maternity ward
  • Parents will receieve £37million payout from the NHS after High Court trial
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust admitted fault in care of the child

The NHS is to make a £37million payout to the parents of a baby boy who was left severely brain-damaged after mistakes by staff on a maternity ward.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has admitted it was at fault in the care of the child.

The amount is thought to be one of the largest payouts in the history of the health service.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has admitted it was at fault in the care of the child

In the maternity negligence case at the High Court the NHS trust conceded that mistakes with the boy’s care left him severely disabled and needing round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

When the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born in 2013 midwives did not spot he was in the breech position – meaning feet or buttocks first – before his mother went in to labour.

Once staff on the ward realised what was happening and his heart rate began to drop, his mother was rushed to surgery for an emergency Caesarean section.

But the delays in being born meant he was starved of oxygen for too long and suffered permanent brain damage, leaving him with complex disabilities and needing two carers night and day. 

His family has also been forced to move home to ensure he can be properly cared for.

While the trust admitted liability early on, the legal settlement was only finalised in November last year when the boy had grown enough to allow his long-term needs to be assessed.

In the maternity negligence case at the High Court the NHS trust conceded that mistakes with the boy’s care left him severely disabled and needing round-the-clock care for the rest of his life

The boy’s parents told The Independent: ‘Despite the trust obviously being responsible for the incident, which was clear as day and confirmed to us by every single NHS staff [member] that we spoke to on a day-to-day basis, the trust did not admit liability immediately.

‘The consequence is that the extraordinary cost of having a baby with special needs has to be supported by the family until a decision is made on the trust’s liability. 

‘This creates a significant amount of pressure on families on top of the trauma of having a special needs child, produces a different outcome based on the financial condition of the family, and allows trusts to under-compensate some families.’

Suzanne White, head of clinical negligence at Leigh Day, who handled the case, said what had happened to the boy was an ‘absolute tragedy’. 

When the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born in 2013 midwives did not spot he was in the breech position – meaning feet or buttocks first – before his mother went in to labour

She added: ‘The sum of compensation paid is one of the largest of its kind and reflects the complex needs which have resulted from the injuries sustained at the time of his birth and the fact that he will require specialist round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.’ 

Campaigners said the boy’s case showed the need for an urgent inquiry in to the state of maternity care across the nation after scandals at other NHS trusts.

Judy Ledger, chief executive of Baby Lifeline, a charity for pregnant women and newborn babies, said: ‘We owe it to mothers, babies, and health professionals to rigorously investigate these recurring themes and address any systemic and wide-ranging issues.’

A spokesman for the trust said: ‘We are very sorry that the care provided to the family during the birth of their child fell short of the high standards we aim to provide to all our patients.’

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