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Compensation for baby with meningitis

Hospital Trust pays after clinical errors caused a baby to suffer brain damage


Jan 2018

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust agree to pay compensation to support a baby after clinical errors lead to them suffering brain damage

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. It can be a devastating illness even when it’s diagnosed and treated correctly.  It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

On 23rd January 2018, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust admitted that staff at University Hospital Lewisham failed to provide acceptable treatment to a mother and child, which caused the baby to suffer permanent disabilities.

The baby’s mother had suffered from a streptococcus infection during her pregnancy, and passed the infection on to her unborn child. However, medical staff at University Hospital Lewisham failed to give the mother antibiotics and failed to spot signs of the infection in the baby. Most people with bacterial meningitis who are treated quickly make a full recovery. Tragically, in this case, the infection spread to the baby’s brain, resulting in meningitis and widespread brain damage.

The child now has severe cerebral palsy, is wheelchair dependent, has eyesight and breathing problems and profound learning difficulties. She also suffers from epilepsy and is fed through a tube.

Judge Patrick Curran QC approved a settlement in which the baby will receive a £2m lump sum, plus index-linked payments of £600,000 per year.

Longden Walker and Renney’s John Lowther said, “It is important that any patient receives competent medical treatment.  If a patient suffers harm as a result of substandard treatment, support may be obtained through a legal process. It very important that a person who suspects that they have suffered harm as a result of substandard medical treatment, seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible.”

The NHS Choices website provides information concerning the symptoms and treatment of meningitis.  More information is also available on the website of charity Meningitis Now.

If you are concerned that you, your child or someone you know may have meningitis, you can seek urgent medical advice by calling 999 for an ambulance or by going to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department, the details of which you can obtain from the NHS’s webpage here.  

Longden Walker and Renney are specialists in obtaining support for those who have suffered Cerebral Palsy and other forms of Brain Damage.

We don’t just help you claim compensation.  We understand how important it is to have access to rehabilitation services, as well as legal advice in other areas and have a specialist Private Client team, headed by Dermott Kirkwood.

If you would like to read about some of the work that we have done to support those who have suffered such injuries, please follow the links below:

  • Jessica’s story – £2.5m in damages plus periodical payments for care and specialist support for the rest of her life for a child who was caused to suffer Cerebral Palsy
  • £2.26million and annual payments ranging from £58,250 per year, rising up to £123,250 per year, for a child who was caused to suffer Cerebral Palsy by substandard treatment provided by East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • A lump sum payment of £1.8m and then payments made annually ranging initially from £145,000 per year rising up to £185,350 per year for a child who was caused to suffer as a result of substandard treatment by University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire
  • A lump sum of £2,500,000 and yearly payments ranging from £70,000 to £175,000 for a child who was caused to suffer as a result of substandard treatment by City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

Compensation is integral to provide a suitable quality of life for people affected by a serious injury.

An appropriately structured compensation agreement is integral to provide a suitable quality of life for people affected by a serious birth injury.  It may be inadequate for such an injured child to simply receive a lump sum settlement.  The child’s long term needs must be given appropriate consideration and adequately planned for, with the help and guidance of a range of experts.

If you, a friend or relative, has suffered injury whilst being born and suspects that the injury was caused by your having received substandard medical treatment, it is crucial that you receive expert advice from a specialist solicitor. 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, nursing care, disability equipment and the cost of adaptations to meet the injured person’s housing requirements.

Contact us by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 0191 5666 500. Alternatively, fill in our short enquiry form and one of our specialist solicitors will be in touch.

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