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.”