Medical Negligence News

Compensation for Cerebral Palsy Injury Approved in High Court

Posted on: February 13th, 2012 by Medical Negligence

The family of a four-year-old boy, who was born blind and unable to walk due to a series of poor professional medical performances, have had a 10 million pounds settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy injury approved in London´s High Court.  

William Scotton from Bearsted in Kent was delivered at Maidstone Hospital in 2007 by emergency Caesarean, two weeks after his due date and weighing 11lbs 10oz. Due to his size and the circumstances before and during his birth, William was born unable to see, suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and will never be able to walk.

William´s mother, Tracey, brought a claim for medical negligence against the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust on her son´s behalf, alleging that William´s condition was directly attributable to the poor standard of care she received from doctors and nursing staff from the 34th week of her pregnancy.

Mr Justice Tugendhat at London´s High Court heard that Tracey´s scan on the 34th week of her pregnancy indicated that William already weighed 8lbs and, realising that her son was going to be a large baby, Tracey requested an elective Caesarean. Her request was refused on the grounds that the NHS Trust did not offer that service.

The judge was told had Tracey been referred to a consultant – as she should have been due to William´s size – the consultant would have ordered another scan at 38 weeks which would have then led to a planned Caesarean. Instead, the court heard, Tracy was not admitted to Maidstone Hospital until her labour started naturally in the 42nd week of her pregnancy.

Because of the anticipated size of her baby, Tracey was put on constant monitoring. However, the doctor who remained with her was inexperienced, and communicated to a consultant by telephone that there were no problems – despite William´s heart beat once being lost on a monitor. The junior doctor also ignored the concerns of the attending midwife that there had been no progress in Tracey´s labour over several hours. As a result of this series of errors, William was starved of oxygen in the womb.

After an internal investigation, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust admitted liability for the claims of medical negligence, both at the time of William´s birth and in the weeks preceding it. A settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy injury was reached which will see the family receiving a lump sum of 2.6 million pounds immediately and annual payments of between 89,000 pounds and 212,500 pounds as William grows older.

The settlement will amount to more than 10 million pounds should William reach his anticipated life expectancy and, approving the compensation for cerebral palsy injury, Mr Justice Tugendhat added his own personal sympathy to William´s parents for the serious failings of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. He acknowledged the care that the family had devoted to William and, as the boy was not in court, asked the family to send him best wishes.