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Baby starved of oxygen at birth obtains £6.5m compensation: Medics miss ruptured placenta

Baby starved of oxygen at birth obtains £6.5m compensation: Medics miss ruptured placenta

The Birmingham High Court has awarded a teenage boy £6.5 million in compensation after he was starved of oxygen at birth, leaving him severely disabled. His father has expressed his “huge relief” that his son’s care needs can now be met for the rest of his life.

Medics failed to respond to a rupture in the placenta

Daniel Spencer has been awarded £6.5 million in compensation for the avoidable injuries he suffered at birth. The 13-year-old from Malvern, Worcestershire, was diagnosed with severe athetoid cerebral palsy shortly after he was born. His condition, also known as dyskinetic cerebral palsy, affects the conscious ability to contract or relax muscles, causing involuntary spasms and postures, and uncontrolled body movements. As such, Daniel needs round-the-clock care.

His mother, Sue Spencer, attended the Worcester Royal Infirmary, Ronkswood, to give birth to her son in 2001. While in labour, Sue suffered a rupture in the placenta. Daniel’s heart rate began fluctuating, however medical staff failed to respond promptly. As his heart rate was not being adequately monitored, medics were unaware that Daniel was being starved of oxygen.

Birmingham’s High Court heard how Daniel has been left with a severe disability. His cerebral palsy has confined him to a wheelchair, with him possessing only a limited control over his hands. He has learning difficulties and is reliant on specialist equipment to help him communicate, along with needing 24-hour care and assistance.

Hospital negligenc during childbirth results in £2.7 million compensation payment

The family learnt that the complications could have been avoided had medical staff responded appropriately to the difficulties Sue experienced during labour. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, the Trust responsible for the Worcester Royal Hospital, admitted liability for 75% of the full value of the claim in 2013. However, settlement negotiations have remained ongoing, with Birmingham’s High Court now approving the £6.5 million settlement.

The compensation includes a lump sum of £2.7 million, along with provisions for annual payments, initially of £116,000, increasing to £157,000 a year once Daniel reaches the age of 19. The money will be used to cover all of Daniel’s specialist care, equipment and rehabilitation needs, along with allowing the family to make necessary adjustments to their home.

Daniel’s father, Oliver, described him as a “wonderful boy”, who continues to amaze his family with the progress he has made. Oliver said:

“We will be able to use the funding to provide vital care and rehabilitation for Dan for the rest of his life. He uses specialist equipment and therapies to help him on a daily basis, which can be very expensive. 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.”

A spokeswoman from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said the organisation “sincerely regrets” the mistakes that led to Daniel’s injuries.She stated: “The Trust is pleased that the legal claim has now been settled and damages, including periodical payments, have been agreed so that Daniel’s future is provided for”

How to make a compensation claim for clinical negligence during pregnancy and childbirth

You are entitled to expect a certain standard of treatment from those providing medical assistance to you. If this treatment falls below standard you may be entitled to recover the cost of the private medical treatment needed to correct the failings on the part of those originally treating you.

If you want to enquire about making a compensation claim for negligence associated with pregnancy, child birth and maternity care, please contact one of our maternity and childbirth claims solicitors on 01895 207835 or 01895 207295. Alternatively, you can send an email with your name and contact information and brief details as to the nature of the medical negligence and the injuries sustained to PI@ibblaw.co.uk and one of our team will be able to help you.