Case Studies: Healthcare

£5M damages award for child with cerebral palsy

This was a very complex medical negligence case involving a child who developed cerebral palsy following birth at a maternity hospital in Northern Ireland.

Following a lengthy investigation it was established that the cerebral palsy was caused as a result of negligence in the induction of labour, using prostaglandin gel.   An inappropriate dosage of Prostin gel was administered by a doctor, which resulted in hyper-stimulation (excessive uterine contractions) which were not properly monitored on the CTG.   The fetal distress was not identified by the medical team and there was a delay in delivery.

The baby was born with low Apgar scores and showed early signs of Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE), including seizures.  An early MRI scan showed a watershed type of brain damage normally associated with chronic prolonged birth asphyxia.

Liability was disputed, but eventually negligence was admitted after several years of arduous Court proceedings. The final settlement of £5.0 million represents one of the largest compensation cases concluded in Northern Ireland.   More importantly, the Court award allowed the child’s family to purchase specially adapted accommodation and to access essential support by way of nursing care and specialist therapy.  In the long-term the family now has the financial security to meet the child’s needs, within the familiar setting of a loving family home.

This case was conducted by O’Reilly Stewart’s Managing Partner Joe Moore, who is a specialist lawyer with over 20 years experience of representing families in the most complex types of clinical  negligence cases.

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