£14.4 million settlement for girl left with cerebral palsy after suffering neurological damage at birth
An 11-year-old girl who was left with dyskinetic cerebral palsy after suffering serious brain injury at birth has been awarded more than £14 million in damages. The girl, who cannot be named but is referred to as MXX in legal documents, suffered the injuries as a result of failings in care during her birth at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel in May 2007.
MXX’s mother had previously given birth by caesarean section and this labour was therefore to be a trial of vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). A VBAC does carry enhanced risk of uterine rupture, though, which means that such a labour needs to be monitored extremely carefully. However, this extra level of care was not afforded to MXX’s mother and she did subsequently suffer a rupture to her uterus.
The Chief Executive at Barts Health NHS Trust wrote to MXX’s mother in 2007 to offer his sincere apologies. The letter acknowledged that the obstetric care the hospital had provided during her labour was not to a standard that the family was entitled to expect and that this had resulted in long-standing consequences.
In 2012, the Trust also admitted that the time of MXX’s delivery should have been 20 minutes earlier than was actually the case. The brain damage was caused by a combination of a period of chronic partial hypoxia and an acute asphyxial insult in the last minutes of labour and the Trust acknowledged that all of the injuries would have been avoided if MXX had been born 20 minutes earlier.
The neurological damage caused during her birth has meant that MXX has been unable to lead a full and independent life. She suffers with co-ordination issues and has significant learning difficulties which mean she will require a lifetime of specialist care and prevent her from being able to earn her own living.
At the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 29 January 2019, Her Honour Judge Walden-Smith approved a settlement of £14.4 million. This encompasses a lump sum payment of £4.4 million plus annual payments to cover the cost of care, support, specialist therapies and accommodation throughout MXX’s lifetime.
Head of Medical Negligence, Madeline Seibert, who is representing the family, commented:
“MXX is a delightful girl and it has been a real privilege to help her and her family achieve justice, and much needed funds, to ensure she is financially secure and can access the care and support she will need throughout her lifetime. The NHS Trust acknowledged the full admiration and devoted care that MXX’s mother has provided, with which I wholeheartedly agree. The devotion to MXX shown by her family is truly inspiring.”