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Charlie's story: £7.2 million compensation recovered against Sunderland Hospitals

Our client Charlie* in this case, is a little boy who was born in 2008.

In June 2008, Charlie’s mother was admitted to hospital, having gone into labour late the previous evening. As a result of failures in the treatment provided to Charlie’s mother during the birth, delivery by caesarean section was delayed, resulting in Charlie suffering an acute total or near total asphyxia hypoxic ischaemic brain injury. Charlie now suffers from dystonic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and will be severely disabled for the rest of his life.

Charlie's parents instructed Neil Heavisides, one of our extensively experienced cerebral palsy solicitors to pursue a claim against City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. Expert advice was obtained from an Obstetrician, Midwife, Neuroradiologist, Neonatologist and Paediatrician, and following the service of proceedings, liability was admitted by the Defendants and judgement was entered against them in November 2011. At the time, the family were living in a small rented house that was not suitable for Charlie’s needs and alternative suitable accommodation was required. Neil made an immediate application for an initial interim payment to enable the family to purchase suitable accommodation for Charlie and the sum of £630,000 was obtained in March 2012. A Chartered Building Surveyor was instructed to establish Charlie’s exact accommodation requirements and LWR’s property team acted in the purchase of a large detached property, which was then adapted to suit Charlie’s needs.

Charlie’s injury has caused him a lot of problems and Neil used the firm’s expert database to instruct expert witnesses to obtain evidence in respect of Charlie’s care, equipment, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, transport, and case management requirements. These experts visited Charlie’s family at home and reports were obtained from an educational Psychologist, Registered Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Paediatric Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist, and a Consultant Clinical Scientist.

Neil then obtained two further interim payments totaling £123,000 in August 2012 and November 2012 to enable the family to meet the cost of Charlie’s immediate requirements. In particular, the care expert identified that Charlie would require ongoing 24 hour care, including a night carer to look after his needs, when he awakens at night. Numerous items of equipment were also identified that would help Charlie with his disabilities. A detailed schedule of past and future loss and expense was prepared and served upon the Defendants setting out the full details of the Claimant’s claim. The case then progressed towards a hearing, with the Defendant’s obtaining their own experts’ evidence.

In 2013, shortly before the trial was due to commence, the case settled out of Court. The agreed settlement was for a lump sum of £2,500,000, yearly payments ranging from £70,000 to £100,000 until Charlie's 19th birthday, and thereafter £175,000 for as long as he lives. The equivalent lump sum was £7,100,000. This award was agreed to by the Court at an approval hearing in September 2013.

If you would like to discuss a potential claim relating to substandard care during a pregnancy, or during or after a birth, do not hesitate to contact us for a no obligation, free consultation about securing compensation and getting rehabilitation support as quickly as possible.

Any claim for compensation will need to take into account pain, suffering and loss of amenity together with any past and future financial loss and expense including earnings, rehabilitation and treatment costs, and nursing care.

We can be contacted by email at Alternatively, fill in our short enquiry form and one of our specialist solicitors will be in touch.

*Client’s name has been changed to protect their identity