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Sophie’s story: £5.8m compensation approved by Court for girl made to suffer with Cerebral Palsy

Our client Sophie* was awarded £5.8 million after substandard treatment provided by East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust resulted in her suffering from Cerebral Palsy.

Longden Walker and Renney were instructed by the parents of Sophie*, a little girl who was born in 2001.

The third trimester of her mother’s pregnancy had been complicated by the identification of reduced foetal movements, which led to Sophie’s mother being transferred for attention in multiple hospitals.

Following admission, there was evidence of foetal distress following spontaneous rupture of membranes (ROM), commonly referred to as the waters breaking. A cardiotocography (CTG) tracing was then performed, which identified the presence of meconium and other problems.

Throughout the course of the day, CTG tracings were noted to be unreactive and Sophie’s mother continued to discharge meconium stained liquor. Following this, foetal blood samples were taken and were recorded as normal. Some hours later, following an examination, Sophie’s mother was fully dilated.

Further CTG tracings indicated brachycardia (very slow heart rate), at which point the hospital failed to perform an urgent caesarean section.

Sophie was eventually delivered with the use of a ventouse cap. There were no signs of breathing following her birth and she was ventilated with a bag and mask to aid with manual resuscitation, making her first respiratory efforts begin at eight minutes of age.

Sophie was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy, with her motor and intellectual functioning affected. She has significant physical incoordination and mild to moderate learning disabilities, as well as a slightly reduced life expectancy. She can walk independently and can feed herself, but suffers trips and falls with her walking and has a statement of special educational needs.

Her parents instructed Alison Ainsley to bring a claim against East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust.

Legal Aid was obtained and the liability was investigated. Expert evidence was obtained from independent specialists in the fields of Obstetrics and Midwifery, Neuroradiology, Neo-Natology and Paediatrics. All independent medical experts reported that Sophie had suffered Cerebral Palsy as a result of substandard medical treatment.  

Nevertheless, when allegations were put to the Defendant Trust, it denied liability. However, when proceedings were commenced, the Defendants admitted liability shortly before trial.

As an expert in pursuing complex high-value litigation, Alison Ainsley took steps to make sure that Sophie received appropriate compensation to support her for the rest of her life.

Alison instructed medical experts to assess Sophie’s care needs. She ensured that the medical expert reports included the care that had previously been provided by the family, care that was required presently and care that would be required in the future.

Alison also obtained input from experts in Occupational Therapy, accommodation, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, educational psychology and IT.

Given the size of the settlement, Alison identified that it was important that Sophie and her family had advice from an expert in independent financial investment.  She arranged for Dermot Kirkwood of LWR to be appointed as a Professional Deputy to help manage the financial issues that arise as a result of Sophie having received such a compensatory settlement.

Once expert evidence in support of the value of the claim was obtained, a Schedule of Loss and Damage was prepared, setting out the specifics of the sums required by Sophie and her family to compensate for her injury and provide for her future. The Defendants prepared a Counter Schedule of Loss and Damage and negotiations followed.

Shortly after a ‘round table meeting’, settlement was agreed. Sophie received an initial lump sum payment of £2.26 million with further payments to be made thereafter, annually, for the rest of the Claimant’s life, ranging from £58,250 to £123,250 per year. The equivalent lump sum was £5.8 million.

It is very important that someone who has suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of negligence receives expert and specialist legal advice as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss a potential claim relating to substandard care during a pregnancy 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.

If Sophie's story is similar to your experience in any way, please contact our team of solicitors on 0191 5666 900. Alternatively, you can fill in our no obligation enquiry form.

*Our client’s name has been changed to protect their identity

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