Our client, Ms K (aged 38) from Maidstone, Kent, gave birth to her son, JT, at Maidstone Hospital on 18 August 2010.
As a result of the negligent care given during the course of JT’s delivery, he was born in a very poor condition and required resuscitation. He sustained an acute hypoxic brain injury and developed quadriplegic dyskinetic cerebral palsy from the traumatic birth.
This was Ms K’s second child. JT was born at 41 weeks gestation. The pregnancy was uncomplicated and the antenatal care was standard.
Negligence arose out of a prolonged second stage of labour. In particular, the mismanagement and inappropriate administration of syntocinon (an intravenous drug used to advance or induce labour).
The Defendant Trust (Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS FT) failed to intervene earlier and manage the labour so as to expedite delivery of JT. They allowed a trainee to attempt a ventouse delivery (instrumental delivery) which failed.
They were slow to action a caesarean section delivery. In consequence, by the time JT was born, the cord was wrapped around his neck and Ms K had sustained a uterine tear. This caused acute profound asphyxia in the period immediately before birth.
JT would have been born without any brain injury but for the negligence on the part of the Defendant Trust.
Instead, JT’s CP means that he has profound neurological disabilities including difficulty with posture, balance and muscle tone so that his ability to initiate and control his movements is severely impaired. He requires a wheelchair for anything more than modest ambulation. He also requires assistance for all activities of daily living.
Fairweathers were instructed by the mother and Litigation friend to act on behalf of JT in December 2013. Funding was arranged through the Legal Aid Agency and approved.
Expert evidence was obtained from a Consultant Gynaecologist, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Consultant Neonatologist. All these experts were supportive of the Claimant’s case and confirmed that the hospital’s care to the Claimant had fallen below an acceptable standard.
A leading barrister was instructed to represent the Claimant and a formal Letter of Claim was sent to the Defendant Trust. This was an extremely detailed and robust letter, setting out the factual circumstances of the claim and why, based on our expert evidence, the hospital was at fault in the care that they gave, both to the mother and JT.
The Defendants have now answered the claim, as of June 2018, by means of a formal Letter of Response in accordance with the Clinical Negligence Protocol. They have confirmed that they were negligent in the use of syntocinon and that the delivery of JT was unnecessarily delayed, resulting in JT sustaining a hypoxic brain injury, in respect of which they are liable to pay compensation in full.
They have also formally apologised for the unacceptable shortcomings in the care they provided to JT and his mother.
Liability having been admitted, the case will now proceed to assess the value of the claim. A substantial interim payment has been requested from the Defendant Trust and expert evidence is being obtained to support the various heads of claim which are being pursued on behalf of the Claimant.
No level of compensation will ever alter the sad circumstances arising from the Defendant’s negligence. It will, however, help to meet the needs of JT and his mother and to make their life as easy as possible in the years to come.
Kate Kennell, Solicitor who has conduct of the case said:
“It is great news that the Defendants have acted sensibly in admitting negligence following our strongly worded Letter of Claim. I know it will be a bitter sweet victory for my client. It is so important in Cerebral Palsy cases that the right experts are chosen and instructed to support the claim. At Fairweathers, we have a great deal of experience of handling such claims and picking the right experts. I’m keen to expedite the claim for JT and his mum so that they can move on with life and put the tragic circumstances of JT’s birth behind them “