Teddy's* birth was midwifery led and after a prolonged second stage labour, he was born in poor condition and was admitted to the special baby care unit. He was diagnosed with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and started fitting at 14 days old. He was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Teddy's case was that that there was a period of 48 minutes delay in his deliver. If he had been delivered promptly by assisted vaginal delivery, he would on the balance of probabilities have avoided the hypoxic ischaemic episode that caused his suffer permanent brain damage. This was disputed by the Defendant and liability was resolved at 80 per cent in Teddy's favour.
Teddy has asymmetrical quadriplegic mixed dystonic/spastic cerebral palsy which, among other conditions, affects his speech. Experts in the case consider he will likely always need a wheelchair to get out into the community. Although his hand function will remain significantly impaired he will continue to be able to use switches and use an electric wheelchair.
Teddy, now aged 10, is intelligent and can speak three languages but has cognitive difficulties, including poor concentration and attention span. He attends a mainstream primary school with a one-to-one assistant.
Teddy's mother suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of the traumatic birth and took her own life when Teddy was six. A large property was purchased for Teddy so that he could live with his father and extended family due to him requiring emotional support and stability following the loss of his mother.
The claim settled in December 2023 for damages lump sum equivalent of just over £23m at 80 per cent (£29,073,500.00 at 100 per cent).
Following settlement, the family said:
"On behalf of all of us, thank you and Sevim for all you have done.
"You both have been amazing; your guidance has been exceptional. We could have not made it through without you both. We are very glad we choose the team we did to get over the finish line - great service."
The Estate claim
The mother brought a primary psychiatric victim claim following the traumatic events surrounding her child's birth. She suffered from feelings of intense guilt and self-recrimination that she was not more vocal during the birth and blamed herself for her child's injuries. She suffered a major period of depression following the birth, which resolved after roughly a year, although the expert psychiatrist in her claim agreed there was a moderate risk of relapse in the future.
When her child was aged five, the family moved to a rental property in a remote area so that her child could attend a specialist school. Teddy's mother began to suffer depression because she felt the school was not right for her child. She blamed herself for the school placement and continued to blame herself for her child's injuries. Unfortunately, Teddy's mother tragically took her own life in 2019.
An amended claim was brought by the estate of the Deceased under the Law Reform Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1934 and a Fatal Accidents Act Claim. The case was that the Deceased's depression and subsequent suicide resulted from her core belief of personal failure arising as a consequence of the traumatic birth.
Liability was heavily disputed by the Defendant, which argued that the mother's depression and suicide were related to looking after a disabled child and not to the birth. The Trust argued that the suicide was not a reasonable foreseeable consequence to the alleged breaches of duty (traumatic birth) but as a result of a transient depressive episode that arose from the challenges of looking after a disabled child.
The case successfully settled at a meeting with the Defendant for a six-figure sum.
* Name changed
For further information about cerebral palsy claims and birth injury claims, please call Kate Rohde on 03304606781 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Sevim Ahmet on 03304606816 or email email@example.com.
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