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08 October 2015

Recent national Cerebral Palsy cases highlight complex nature of claims

Cerebral Palsy compensation claims are often extremely long, complex cases which have been highlighted by several recent cases in the UK national press.

Across Britain, 1 in 400 people are affected by cerebral palsy. There are a number of causes, including infection caught by the mother during pregnancy, a premature birth, bleeding in the baby’s brain or changes in the genes that have an impact on the development of the baby’s brain. In some cases medical negligence during delivery can be to blame.

During the first three years of a child’s life, the symptoms of cerebral palsy become apparent. They include muscle stiffness or weakness, uncontrolled body movements and problems with balance and coordination. There are treatments available to make people with the condition more independent, however there is no cure.

In April this year, The Telegraph reported a story about a mother awarded £13 million compensation after a two-decade legal battle on behalf of her two children who both suffer from cerebral palsy. Born just 17 months apart, the siblings were both victim in hospital blunders, the first in 1991. Immediately after birth they were both starved of oxygen and the settlement they received will cover the necessary care required for the rest of their lives.

In June, a girl was left permanently brain damaged after she was neglected by medical staff at the Heatherwood Hospital in Berkshire. The medics were held accountable after delaying an emergency caesarean section that was required. The girl, now 13, suffers from acute cerebral palsy and the £9.6 million settlement will cover the “unstinting care” she now needs.

More recently in July this year, a 14 year old child received a £9 million payment from the NHS litigation authority after a mistake during a surgical procedure in 2002 left him with acute cerebral palsy when he was just 13 months old. The boy was admitted to hospital for an operation to correct a cardiac defect. He suffered a respiratory problem shortly after the operation and was not resuscitated in time to save him from the condition that has left him in a wheelchair, blind and unable to speak.

The length of complicated cases such as these can put an enormous amount of strain on the victims and families involved. In most cases it is the parents who are responsible for ensuring the correct care is in place for their children both during and after the legal process is complete. The high value of settlements made in Cerebral Palsy cases is reflective of the quality and level of care necessary to manage what is an extremely severe condition throughout the victim's life.

One of our medical negligence solicitors, Alison Ainsley, helped bring a claim against the Hospitals Trust after there was failure to perform an urgent cesarean section, leading to the child eventually being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This case resulted in £5.8 million compensation. 

Longden, Walker & Renney have vast experience working on complex and sensitive cerebral palsy compensation cases. We work to achieve compensation for the clients we represent to cover any required corrective treatment, as well as any financial loss you may have experienced.

Call our team of clinical negligence solicitors on 0191 5666 5000. You can also request a callback via our online enquiry form and we will contact you at a time that is convenient. Your initial advice session will be free and you will be under no obligation.