UK Medical Accident Negligence

Couple Settles Claim for Newborn’s Death

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A couple’s claim for the death of their newborn son has been settled for €70,000 after a case in the High Court.

Fiona Watters was admitted to the Cavan General Hospital on the 20th November 2015 whilst heavily pregnant with her first baby. A short while later her waters broke and, in an attempt to speed up the delivery process, she was administered increasingly high levels of Prostaglandin.

In the evening of the 22nd November, medical staff at the hospital made an effort to deliver the baby naturally. However, after an hour the midwives sought advice from Dr Salah Aziz, a consultant obstetrician, as there were some signs that the baby was suffering from foetal distress.

When Dr Aziz arrived at the hospital’s Labour Ward, he discovered that the only out-of-hours operating theatre was already occupied by another Caesarean Section. In light of this, Dr Azizz attempted a vacuum delivery and a forceps delivery on the baby, yet neither worked. As soon as the operating theatre was available, the baby – a boy named Jamie – was delivered in poor condition.

Soon after his birth Jamie was transferred to a Special Babies Unit in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. He sadly died a short while after his admittance, just days old in his mother’s arms. A subsequent investigation was launched into Jamie’s death, yet was stopped by the High Court in 2013 when Dr Aziz pointed out that the investigators that were appointed by the HSE did not undertake proper procedures.

Ms Watters and the baby’s father, her partner Francis Flynn, had received a copy of the report constructed by investigators and sought legal counsel after the termination of the investigation. They then proceeded to make a claim for compensation against the Cavan General Hospital and the HSE.

Though the HSE did not concede full liability for Jamie’s death for a year after the claim was made, they did commission another investigation. They brought in an independent team of investigators after the deaths of two more children in the same ward.

It was not until December of last year that the cause of Jamie’s death was determined to be medical misadventure, with the large doses of Prostaglandin, the failure of Dr Aziz to notify the registrar of Jamie’s imminent delivery and the lack of available operating theatres all acting as contributory factors.

After this report, the State Claims Agency negotiated a €70,000 settlement for Jamie’s parents, with the case proceeding to the High Court for approval of the package. Mr Justice Richard Humphreys oversaw proceedings, and heard that the settlement hoped to reflect the degree of suffering sustained by Jamie’s parents. Judge Humphreys approved the figure, adding that €5,000 of the sum should be paid into court funds for the benefits of the couple’s daughter.

Compensation for Brain Damage during a Laparoscopy Procedure Approved by Court

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure estimated to be worth £8 million.

The woman on whose behalf the claim was made – and who has requested to remain anonymous – was admitted to the Hope Hospital in Manchester in March 2010 for a “routine” laparoscopy procedure. Aged twenty-two years at the time, the woman was in a serious relationship, enjoyed her job as a hairdresser and had an active social life.

During the start of the procedure to remove a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, an aorta was punctured when one of the incisions was made. The woman experienced a severe loss of blood resulted, due to which her circulation collapsed and her heart stopped beating. The woman suffered serious brain damage due to it being deprived of oxygen.

The woman is now confined to a wheelchair and needs care twenty-four hours a day. As she is also cognitively deficient, a claim for compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure was made on her behalf by her mother. The NHS Trust responsible for the Hope Hospital – the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – admitted liability for her injuries in 2012.

A court hearing to determine how much compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure the woman was entitled to was scheduled; but, before it could be held, a settlement of her claim was negotiated. Under the settlement the woman will receive an immediate payment of £2 million and index-linked payments for the rest of her life.

As with all compensation claims made on behalf of a claimant who is unable to represent themselves, the negotiated settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the claimant´s best interests. Consequently details of the surgical accident and the claimant´s injury were related to Mrs Justice Swift at the High Court in London.

After an apology had been read to the woman and her family by a representative of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Mrs Justice Swift approved the settlement of compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure. Before closing the case, Judge Swift said: “I hope that this substantial settlement will at least ensure she has the best possible quality of life in the years to come and I wish her and the other members of her family the very best for the future”.

Londonderry Family to Receive Hyponatraemia Compensation

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Medical Negligence

The family of a young girl who died due to medical negligence after undergoing an appendix operation is to receive £40,000 hyponatraemia compensation after an out-of-court settlement was negotiated.

Raychel Ferguson was just nine years of age when in June 2001 she attended the Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry for an appendix operation. Although the operation was successful, Raychel was later administered a dose of intravenous fluid which caused an abnormally low level of sodium in her blood to develop and the cells in her brain to expand. Raychel was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, but she died from hyponatraemia hours later.

Raychel´s parents – Ray and Marie Ferguson – made a claim for hyponatraemia compensation against the Western Health and Social Care Trust after an investigation revealed that their daughter´s death was one of four at the hospital in which the incorrect administration of intravenous fluid was a contributing factor to the death of a child.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust only admitted liability for Raychel´s death last year and issued an apology to her family. Ray and Marie Ferguson´s claim for hyponatraemia compensation was scheduled to be heard at the High Court in Belfast for the assessment of damages, but shortly before the hearing was due to get underway, an announcement was made that the family had accepted an out-of-court settlement amounting to £40,000.

The relatively low settlement of compensation for the death of a child was explained as being significantly higher than the statutory limit of £11,800. Had the Fergusons continued with their legal action, the judge could have imposed the limit, and therefore the offer of hyponatraemia compensation was accepted after advice from the Ferguson´s solicitors.