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“Unprecedented” clinical negligence claims see siblings win £13 million compensation from NHS

“Unprecedented” clinical negligence claims see siblings win £13 million compensation from NHS

A mother has secured two separate multimillion pound payouts from the NHS, totaling £13 million, for her two children that were both left brain damaged following a series of medical blunders during their births. Both children suffer from cerebral palsy as a result of negligence, in a situation that has been described as unprecedented.

Medical failings and negligence under the care of the same obstetrician

Paula McKay, 45, has won £13 million in compensation for her two children that were left brain damaged following avoidable mistakes during their births. In 1991, Ms McKay gave birth to her first child at the former Sharoe Green Hospital in Preston, Lancashire, before attending the same hospital again just 17 months later to have her second child. However, a series of medical failings left both children suffering from cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects coordination and movement. The NHS estimates that 1 in 400 people are affected by cerebral palsy, with the condition occurring if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.

Ms McKay, a former nurse, attended the hospital that was run by the now-defunct North West Strategic Health Authority to give birth to her daughter Natasha in 1991. Natasha was born several weeks premature, but was not ventilated properly. Consequently, she suffered a severe brain haemorrhage. The brain damage she suffered as a result of the haemorrhage was not discovered until some years later, but the extent of the damage is so severe that she is confined to a wheelchair and requires around-the-clock care.

Under the care of the same obstetrician, Ms McKay later gave birth to her son Patrick at Sharoe Green. The delivery of Patrick was delayed, with him being starved of oxygen. While for several months, doctor’s maintained that Patrick was simply a “lazy little boy”, he was later diagnosed as suffering from cerebral palsy, just like his sister. He too requires constant care.

The NHS vigorously contested liability

After being forced to give up work to become a full-time carer for her children, who are now 24 and 23, Ms McKay brought legal action against the North West Strategic NHS Trust for the avoidable mistakes during the deliveries of her children.

In 2010, the NHS Litigation Authority admitted liability for failings in Patrick’s care, agreeing to pay £6 million to provide for his care needs. However, liability for Natasha’s condition has only recently been admitted, with a settlement of £7 million finally reached. It is thought that this is the first case where two siblings have suffered cerebral palsy as a result of clinical negligence.

Ms McKay, who elected to have her third child, George, at Kings College Hospital, London – with the birth taking place without any complications – is unaware of any action taken directly against the medical staff involved. She said learning of her children’s diagnoses had “ripped her heart out”, and that “the first time was bad enough but we were absolutely devastated for it to happen a second time”.

The family from Leyland, Lancashire, will now use the money to pay for ongoing care needs. Ms McKay expressed relief that the issue of compensation has finally been agreed, as she no longer has to worry about how her children will be cared for when she is no longer able to do so herself. She stated: “It will ensure Natasha receives excellent ongoing care that won’t ever be affected by budget cuts. Natasha and Patrick have been through so much in their lives and it’s been heartbreaking to see them suffer at times due to the injuries they were left with.”

An NHS Litigation Authority spokesperson said: “Compensation has been agreed with the family which will assist in meeting the claimant’s current and future care needs for life. The legal case concerned tragic events surrounding the claimant’s birth almost 25 years ago”

How to make a compensation claim for medical negligence before and during child birth

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 hospital negligence associated with pregnancy, child birth and maternity care, please contact one of our medical negligence lawyers 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.