Case Studies: Healthcare

£400,000 for Shoulder Injury at Birth

O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors acted on behalf of a young man who sustained a shoulder injury at the time of his birth due to medical negligence.

The injury

The injured party was born on 14th June 2003.  It was the Plaintiff’s case that during the course of his delivery an emergency arose in the form of a shoulder dystocia which prevented his birth.  It was the Plaintiff’s case that during the course of attempts to relieve the shoulder dystocia in order to expedite the birth, damage was negligently caused to the nerves supplying the Plaintiff’s shoulder and arm.

The loss

As a consequence of the negligence of the Defendant, the Plaintiff sustained a permanent shoulder injury.  The injury was first noted 48 hours after his delivery, and he went on to develop an “Erbs palsy” or an obstetric brachial plexus palsy.  Such was the nature of the injury he underwent an operation at 1 year of age to release his right shoulder and relocate the head of the bone.  The Plaintiff continues to suffer significant difficulty by reason of his injury.  He has a reduced range of movement in his arm, there is muscle wasting in the arm, and shortening of the collar bone.  There is a reduction and restriction of grip strength.  The disability in his shoulder and arm will be permanent and it is the case that the young man will continue to experience significant limitations in heavy lifting, particularly over his head.  The Plaintiff has an ongoing requirement for physiotherapy.

The Plaintiff has indicated an intention to follow his father into a career in car mechanics.  The injury which he sustained has the potential to affect his ability to participate in that career by reason of the restriction and limitation it imposes upon his range of movement.  Nevertheless the Plaintiff is a committed and motivated individual and it is not thought that it will prevent him from pursuing his chosen occupation.

The case

The Plaintiff’s parents approached Patrick Mullarkey, having first instructed another firm of Solicitors.  We secured access to relevant medical notes and records and commissioned expert evidence on behalf of the Plaintiff in order to prove that the care received had been below the standard the Plaintiff was entitled to expect.  The Plaintiff applied for and obtained assistance from the Legal Services Agency.  With the support of the Legal Services Agency proceedings were issued in September 2017 and were brought to a successful conclusion in November 2019.  Proceedings were issued against the Healthcare Trust responsible for the care delivered at the time of delivery to the Minor Plaintiff and his mother.  Liability was denied by the Defendant and indeed was never formally admitted as part of the settlement.  Settlement was negotiated between the parties and was approved by the High Court thereafter.  The Plaintiff secured a payment of £400,000 damages to him together with the full costs of his action.


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