Young Boy Compensated for Cerebral Palsy

A multi-million pound settlement of compensation has been awarded to a seven year-old boy who sustained severe brain damage during his birth. 

In March 2009 at the East Surrey Hospital, Thomas Hord was born with severe brain damage. This was the result of a twenty-minute delay in his birth by emergency Caesarean Section, during which time he was deprived of oxygen in utero. However, this delay was in spite of the fact that Thomas had already been diagnosed with foetal distress syndrome. 

The brain damage caused life-changing disabilities in Thomas, who now lives with seven cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Additionally, he can only communicate with others using his eyes. In spite of these difficulties, Thomas lives at home with his three siblings and parents, Christopher and Samantha. He also attends a mainstream school. 

Acting on behalf of their son, Christopher and Samantha sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for birth injury compensation against  the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, who oversee the running of the East Surrey Hospital. 

The Trust admitted liability for Thomas’ injuries in 2011, and proceeded to negotiate a settlement of compensation with the family. Eventually, Thomas was offered a compensation settlement that consisted of annual payments of £100,000 that would increase to £245,000 on his eighteenth birthday, as well as a £2.5 million lump sum. 

The hearing then had to be approved by a judge as it was made on behalf of a minor. At London’s High Court, Mr Justice Warby oversaw proceedings, which involved the reading of an apology by Michael Wilson, the Chief Executive of the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. In the statement, Wilson apologised for the mismanagement of Thomas’ birth and “the difficulties caused for him and his family”. The QC for the trust, Margaret Bowron, commended Thomas’ parents for their dedication to their son since his birth. 

After approving the cerebral palsy compensation settlement, Judge Warby expressed similar sentiment: “I would like to express my admiration for the parents’ work and devotion to the care of their son, particularly in light of the pressures of work and family matters, that have no doubt made it even more difficult. The court wishes the family the very best for the future.”

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HSE Settles Claim for the Avoidable Death of Savita Halappanavar

The Irish Health Service Executive has settled a claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar, who died from sepsis after being refused an abortion.

On the morning of Sunday October 21st 2012, Savita Halappanavar (31) attended the Galway University Hospital complaining of back pain. Unaware that Savita was suffering contractions prior to the miscarriage of her first child, doctors at the hospital sent her home.

Savita returned later that day, when doctors identified that her membranes were bulging and ordered blood tests. Savita was admitted for observation, but was told by the hospital registrar that the loss of her child was inevitable. Anti-biotics were prescribed to prevent an infection.

The following morning, Savita´s waters broke. An “await events” approach was adopted by the hospital, and when Savita asked for a termination on the Tuesday morning, her request was refused because a foetal heartbeat was still present.

By Wednesday, Savita´s condition had deteriorated significantly. She was diagnosed with sepsis and prescribed stronger anti-biotics but, when her condition deteriorated further, the decision was made to terminate the pregnancy. At this point it was discovered that the foetal heartbeat had stopped.

During surgery to remove the foetus, Savita spontaneously delivered her dead child. She was transferred to the hospital´s intensive care unit suffering septic shock, but she became critically ill and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest due to severe sepsis on Sunday October 28th.

Savita´s husband – Praveen – took his wife´s body back to India for burial and, on his return to Ireland, made a claim against the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) for the avoidable death of his wife, alleging that had an abortion been performed when it was first requested, Savita would still be alive.

The claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar attracted interest from all over the world due to Ireland´s abortion laws that acknowledge the right to life of an unborn child with equal right to life of the mother.

Two investigations were launched into the circumstances that led to Savita´s death – both finding significant failings in the standard of care provided by Galway University Hospital. In April 2013, the jury at the inquest into Savita´s death returned a unanimous verdict of death by medical misadventure.

Praveen subsequently left Ireland to pursue his career in the United States and, on his behalf, Praveen´s solicitor made an application for the claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar to be heard at the High Court.

A court date was set for March 10th but, days before the hearing was due to commence, it was announced that the claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar had been settled for an undisclosed six-figure amount.

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Settlement for Athetoid Cerebral Palsy Compensation Approved by Court


London’s High Court have approved a multi-million pound compensation settlement for child’s cerebral palsy after complications at his birth.


The boy, who has remained anonymous though is known to be five years old and from Brighton, was born in March 2010 at the Royal Sussex Hospital. However, before his delivery he was deprived of oxygen in utero as the midwives attending his delivery did not notice that his mother had a prolapsed cord. This meant that the boy sustained severe brain damage, which manifested in four-limbed athetoid cerebral palsy.


Because of his condition, the young child suffers from epilepsy, vision impairment, speech impediments and involuntary movement of his muscles. As such, the child will be entirely dependent on round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.


A year after his son’s birth, the father made a claim for compensation against the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, who are responsible for the Royal Sussex Hospital. In the claim, he alleged that the medical staff attending the birth did notice the prolapsed cord, and had his son been delivered just minutes earlier the injuries that he now lives with would not have the same degree of severity.


The NHS Trust admitted liability for the child’s injuries in November 2012, and whilst an investigation proceeded into the future costs of the boy’s care, an interim settlement was made to the family. However, earlier this month, the case proceeded to the High Court in London, where a judge approved a package worth £11.5 million for the athetoid cerebral palsy claim.


After the package was approved, legal representation for the boy’s family commented that: “We are pleased that we secured this settlement for him and his family, they now have the financial security and reassurance that the costs for his future treatment will be met. We hope that lessons are learnt by the Hospital and their staff so that patient safety in this situation can be improved and each and every patient receives the best quality of care at all times.”


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Compensation Settlement for Birth Injuries Awarded


A compensation claim, made on behalf of a boy who sustained severe birth injuries because of medical negligence, was approved by the High Court in Leeds earlier this week. 
When Kit van Berckel was born at the Harrogate District Hospital on the 31st May 2008, he was ten days overdue. However, Kit was born with severe brain damage because of medical staff’s inability to correctly diagnose that Kit was suffering from foetal distress in the womb. When he was born, Kit had no heartbeat and needed to be resuscitated.
As he was deprived of oxygen, Kit’s brain damage was extensive and he has permanent disabilities. Kit, now seven, cannot sit up unassisted, needs help moving and cannot feed himself. Though he cannot communicate verbally, Kit is able to attend mainstream education because of hi-tech devices that enable him to use his eyes to communicate.
Kit – now aged seven – is a minor, so in order to claim compensation for his injuries he had to make a claim through his parents, Joanna and Charles Berckel. In the claim against the Harrogate Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, it was alleged that Kit’s present condition could have been avoided if it were not for the doctor’s negligence. An investigation into Kit’s birth ensued, after which the NHS Trust admitted full liability.
Negotiations began between the parties, and a £9.872 million was agreed upon. Though this is to cover Kit’s rehabilitation and care needs, he will continue to live with his family in their specially adapted home. The settlement needed to be approved by a judge before it was awarded, and it was approved in the Leeds High Court earlier this week.
Speaking after the announcement of the claim, Kit’s mother commented that “We were devastated and heartbroken when we found out that Kit’s condition could have been avoided if mistakes had not been made during his delivery.  There needs to be a fundamental overhaul of accountability and management procedures to minimise the opportunity of negligence caused by medical staff.”
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Court Settles Claim for Cerebral Palsy Sufferer

The Birmingham High Court have settled a claim for a seven-year-old boy afflicted with athetoid cerebral palsy.

When Daniel Spencer’s mother, Sue, was pregnant with her son in 2002, her placenta ruptured during her labour. As a result, Daniel was deprived of oxygen in utero, and sustained damage to his brain. When he was born, he was diagnosed with severe athetoid cerebral palsy.

His brain damage means that Daniel has very limited use of his limbs; he cannot walk without assistance and struggles with learning difficulties and will be reliant on round-the-clock care for the rest of his life. Even so, his parents describe Daniel as “a wonderful boy” and he continually surprises them with the progress that he makes to overcome his difficulties.

Daniel made a claim for his cerebral palsy through his father, Oliver Spencer, against the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. He claimed that the injuries he sustained would have been avoided had his foetal heartrate been adequately monitored throughout his mother’s labour.

The defendant conceded seventy-five percent liability for the injuries, and a settlement was negotiated consisting a £2.7 million  lump sum and annual, index-linked payments of £116,000. These payments will be raised to £157,000 when Daniel turns eighteen.

As the claim was being made on behalf of a child, a judge had to approve the settlement negotiated between the parties to ensure that it was in the child’s best interest. The judge at the Birmingham High Court did approve the settlement, and Daniel’s father stated, after the settlement was approved, that “We were devastated when we found out that Daniel’s condition could have been avoided had mistakes not been made during his birth. It’s a huge relief knowing that the settlement will provide for a secure future for Daniel and that his specialist care needs will be met for the rest of his life. While we will always help out where we can, he needs the support of experts in the field who can help him to achieve as independent a life as possible.”

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Family Lodges Claim for Misdiagnosis of Cervical Cancer

A claim has been lodged by the  widower of a woman who died of cervical cancer shortly after giving birth to the couple’s second child.

The woman, Louisa Foster of Granborough in Buckinghamshire, went for a routine smear test at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2008. She was told that her test results were normal, and in 2010 underwent IVF to conceive her second child.

Ms Foster gave birth to a son on the 1st December 2010, though shortly after this Ms Foster experienced pain and discomfort in her abdomen. Yet when she returned to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, they told her that the pain was likely due to the Caesarean Section or a possible infection.

Ms Foster saw a series of junior doctors, who would prescribe her antibiotics or tell her to take paracetamol. In April 2011, Ms Foster eventually saw a specialist, who diagnosed her with an advanced tumor in her cervix.

The diagnosis was followed with two years of treatment at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. The treatment included harsh, intensive chemotherapy and a hysterectomy, but the cancer was too advanced and Ms Foster tragically died aged thirty-five in June 2013.

Ms Foster’s surviving husband, Graeme, sought legal counsel for the misdiagnosis and made a compensation claim. He stated that the doctors attending Ms Foster all but ignored her rapid weight lost, or attributed it to the fact that she was breast feeding her son. He also stated that their first child was born by Caesarean Section, and as such they knew that the pain his wife was experiencing was not ordinary. By making a compensation claim against the Buckingham Healthcare NHS Trust, he hopes that such a misdiagnosis will not happen in the future. He stated that: “It has been a long, long haul and taken a lot out of us all, but now on behalf of our children and other women who may be going through the same situation I’m hoping to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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Landmark Case Changes Rules for Birth Injury Compensation Claims

A landmark case has potentially changed the rules for birth injury compensation claims when a mother is not given the level of risk associated with a specific course of action.

The case in question is Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board, which was brought by Nadine Montgomery of behalf of her son Sam, who was born at the Bellshill Maternity Hospital in Lanarkshire suffering from a brachial plexus injury and cerebral palsy.

Despite everything being done at the hospital to ensure the delivery of a healthy child, Nadine claimed that she had not been given the option of a Caesarean Section delivery despite women suffering from Type 1 diabetes being more likely to have bigger children.

Nadine alleged that her consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist – Dr Dina McLellan – should have advised her of the risks of delivering her son naturally, especially as Nadine is only five feet tall and petite in stature.

Dr McLellan denied that she had been negligent in failing to offer the option of a delivery by Caesarean Section, saying it was “not in the maternal interests for women to have Caesarean Sections” when there was not a “a high probability of a grave outcome”.

When the case went to the Outer House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh, judges heard that there had only been a 9% – 10% chance of Sam suffering shoulder dystocia during his delivery, and Nadine´s claim against NHS Lanarkshire was dismissed. Nadine appealed to the higher Inner House of the Court of Session, but her case was also dismissed.

Undeterred, Nadine took her case to the Supreme Court in London, where a panel of judges overturned the Edinburgh courts´ interpretation of the rules for birth injury compensation claims and awarded Nadine £5.25 million compensation.

In a written verdict Lord Kerr and Lord Reed commented “There can be no doubt that it was incumbent on Dr McLellan to advise Mrs Montgomery of the risk of shoulder dystocia if she were to have her baby by vaginal delivery, and to discuss with her the alternative of delivery by caesarean section.”

The judges also stated that there was no medical evidence to support Dr McLellan´s statement that it was “not in the maternal interests for women to have Caesarean Sections” and said that social and legal developments “point away from the relationship between the doctor and patient based on medical paternalism”.

Changing not only the rules for birth injury compensation claims but also the course of future doctor-patient relationships and what might be considered as “informed consent”, the judges added “it would be a mistake to view patients in the modern world as uninformed, incapable of understanding medical matters or wholly dependent upon a flow of information from doctors.”

The Supreme Court ruling is significant inasmuch as patients will now have the right to be advised of all possible treatments and to decide for themselves the levels of risk they are prepared to accept – a ruling welcomed by Niall Dickson – the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council – who said “We are pleased that the court has endorsed the ­approach advocated in our ­guidance on consent. [Doctors] must work in partnership with their patients, listening to their views and giving them the information they want and need to make decisions.”

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Young Girl Receives Six-Figure Compensation Payment for Birth Injuries

London’s High Court have approved a compensation settlement for birth injuries sustained by an seven-year-old girl for £10 million.

In April 2007, Ayla Ellison was born at the Furness General Hospital in Cumbria. She was deprived of oxygen in utero, and during her delivery, Ayla was injured due to the negligence of the medical staff, which involved a haemorrhage in the womb.

Nearly eight years on, Ayla suffers from epilepsy, quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is effectively blind, leading her to be tube-fed. Ayla’s body cannot correctly regulate its own temperature and she suffers extremely painful muscle spasms. The pain can only be lessened by entering a hydrotherapy pool.

Through her father, Daniel, Ayla has made a claim for compensation against the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust conceded in 2012 that there was mismanagement of Ayla’s delivery, and subsequently negotiations began concerning how much compensation Ayla should be entitled to. A sum was settled upon, and as the claim was being made on behalf of a minor, the case went to the High Court in London where a judge would have to approve the figure, ensuring that it was in Ayla’s best interest.

The case was heard by Mr Justice Warby at the High Court, where an apology was read from David Walker, the medical director at the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. Judge Warby also heard that the family intended to move to London for Mr Ellison’s engineering job, and that part of the settlement included £1.7million for the family to buy a house with an existing hydrotherapy pool in Richmond. He stated that “I have no hesitation in accepting that the stated intention of Carla and Daniel Elliston to move to London to build a new family life there is a sincere, genuine and heartfelt one.”

The remainder of the settlement consisted of an immediate lump sum of £295,000 and annual, tax-free and index-linked payments of £225,000. There payments would be raised to £290,000 upon Ayla’s eighteenth birthday. Judge Warby approved the settlement, and commended Ayla’s parents for how they handled the tragedy with care and intelligence.


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Settlement of Compensation for Cerebral Palsy due to Hospital Negligence Approved at High Court

A settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence – estimated to have a value of £10 million – has been approved by a judge at the High Court in London.

Ayla Ellison was born in April 2007 at the Furness General Hospital, after having been starved of oxygen in the womb and suffering devastating birth injuries. Now seven years of age, Ayla suffers from severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy. She is almost completely blind and has to be fed via a tube. Ayla also experiences dreadful and painful muscle spasms, for which the only remedy is to be immersed in a hydrotherapy pool.

On their daughter´s behalf, Daniel and Carla Ellison from Ulverston in Cumbria claimed compensation for cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence from the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The NHS Trust acknowledged liability in 2012 and admitted that errors had been made in the management of Ayla´s birth. The NHS trust started making interim payments of compensation for cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence while an assessment into Ayla´s future needs was conducted.

When a settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence was agreed, the case went to the High Court in London for approval. At the High Court an apology was read to the family by David Walker – the Medical Director of the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust – in which the NHS Trust said it sincerely regretted the injuries that Ayla had suffered and the distress caused to her family.

Mr Justice Warby heard that, as part of the settlement, the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust had agreed to fund the purchase a home in Richmond so that Daniel could continue his job in the capital as a consultant engineer and remain close to his family. The remainder of the settlement included a lump sum of £295,000 and annual tax-free, index-linked payments for the extent of Ayla´s life – a settlement with an estimated value of £10 million.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence and commended Ayla´s parents for the “calm and intelligent” manner in which they had coped with their daughter´s birth injuries. Mr Justice Warby also commented “I have no hesitation in accepting that the stated intention of Daniel and Carla Elliston to move to London to build a new family life there is a sincere, genuine and heartfelt one.”

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Compensation Claim for Birth Injuries has Resulted in £10.1 Million Settlement

The claim, made against King’s College Hospital, for a girl who was deprived of oxygen at birth, has been resolved at London’s High Court.

In October 2007, Eva Totham was born in the King’s College Hospital after being deprived of oxygen in the womb due to negligence of the attending medical staff. As a result, the now seven-year-old Eva, from South-East London, suffers from cerebral palsy that restricts the movements of all of her limbs and renders her unable to speak.

Despite attending a mainstream school, Eva must receive one-on-one education support and often experiences dramatic mood swings because of her inability to communicate. These, coupled with her learning disabilities, have greatly impacted her family life, causing much disruption.. 

Eva’s parents made a compensation claim against the hospital of their daughter’s birth, and after an investigation into the circumstances of the incident was completed, the King’s College Hospital NHS Trust conceded liability for the inadequate standard of care received during Eva’s birth.

Yet the Trust contested how much compensation the family were entitled to based upon Eva’s current and future suffering, and the loss of enjoyment in Eva’s life. They set a maximum cap of £8.7 million, and the case consequently proceeded to London’s High Court.

The hearing was presided by Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing, who was shown a DVD detailing an average day in Eva’s life, highlighting how she struggled with everyday tasks. It was also noted that both of Eva’s parents were highly successful professionals, and as such it was likely that, had she not sustained the birth injuries that she did, it would have been likely that Eva followed in their footsteps, going to university and having a professional career.

The judge awarded Eva a settlement of £10.1 million, deeming the previous figure inadequate for her situation, which will cover the costs of her care and her future loss of earnings. The judge also noted that she found it evident that Eva’s mind was bright and creative, though her body would not let her do what she willed it to. 


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