Cerebral palsy due to medical negligence – one family’s journey

Our team specialises in complex birth injuries and many of our clients come to us when they suspect or know that their child’s cerebral palsy was due to medical negligence.

We recently secured a £multi-million settlement for a family who found themselves in this situation and talked to mum Pauline* about her family’s journey:

“My daughter was born 11 years ago, and the pregnancy went well. She was in breech and we now know that medical staff should have proceeded with a caesarean section to prevent any injuries. This didn’t happen in my case and we continued with a natural birth.

“My daughter was born legs first and she needed to be resuscitated. I didn’t realise what was wrong at this stage. The midwife and the other medical staff just went quiet before taking my baby out of the room.

“I didn’t see my midwife after that, and I was discharged a week later while my daughter had to stay in hospital for several months. I didn’t know what was happening. I had to push to see a consultant and I was eventually told by the hospital that my baby had suffered a brain injury, but I didn’t understand the medical term. A friend later did some research and told me that they were referring to cerebral palsy.

I discovered that my daughter had cerebral palsy due to an injury which took place just after her birth. I was told that it was one of those things

“Medical staff told me that it was just one of those things. That’s something that I’m still angry about today. I look back now and realise that for a long time after that I barely functioned. I wasn’t prepared for a disabled baby and felt a mix of negative emotions from anger to denial, guilt to grieving.

“The stress put a huge strain on my family and the relationship with my partner broke down as a result. The next few years continued to be extremely difficult. I had to continue working full time to support my family, but this was extremely challenging as my daughter would often be too poorly to stay in nursery and we had an average of four medical appointments to attend every six weeks.

“My eldest child suffered during this period as all I could do was try to keep everything afloat. Inside I was struggling to come to terms with what happened, knowing that it was avoidable and wondering ‘what if’ every time I looked at my daughter.

I had nowhere else to go. I felt desperate

“I felt guilty, I thought I was somehow to blame. I wasn’t coping very well but felt judged by other people rather than supported. I started the legal process six years ago. Another parent had recommended Diane Rostron to me. I’d reached a point where I felt that I had nowhere to go, I was desperate.

“It has been a long process and I continued giving my daughter all the care that she needed while also holding down a full-time job to support my family. Since my daughter’s case was settled, I have been able to resign from my job and can now afford to pay for carers to support my daughter part time.

I still feel an enormous amount of anger

“Attending all her medical appointments and needs is now more manageable. I’m still processing what we have been through over the past 11 years. I still feel an enormous amount of anger because every day I’m reminded of the life my daughter should have had if the appropriate medical intervention had taken place when they realised that she was in breech.

“I have shared a bedroom with my daughter for the past 11 years. This has been due to her care needs and for her own safety. We have now bought a property which will be demolished to allow a bungalow to be built with the adaptations needed to allow my daughter more freedom around the house.

Our new home will give my daughter her independence as she grows into a young woman

“She will be increasingly dependent on a wheelchair as she gets older so this will make a huge difference to her. Other adaptations will include a hoist in her own ensuite bathroom to enable her to be independent when taking a shower or a bath and also a lower purpose-built workspace area in the kitchen to allow her to bake which is something she really enjoys. The adaptations will make it easier for her to do the simple day-to-day things and to encourage some independence as she grows into a young woman.

“She will have her own room so we will both regain some privacy and comfort. The legal battle is over, but we still have to live with the consequences of the avoidable mistakes made the day my daughter was born 11 years ago.

“Reaching the end of my daughter’s claim with such a successful outcome is a huge weight off my mind. The challenge now is coming to terms with how much we have struggled for the past 11 years and moving forward to a future that will remain challenging but will be easier with the financial security that we now have.

Now that we have won our medical negligence claim we can start living again

“I don’t know where we would be without the support of Diane and the team. Our new house will take more than 12 months before it will be ready to move into but in the meantime, I’ve been able to make improvements to our current house.

“I can now have the odd night out with friends, consider occasional weekends away from the kids and have rediscovered long abandoned hobbies. We are still healing as a family but reaching the end of our fight for medical negligence compensation means that we can start to live again.”

Pauline* has kindly agreed to allow us to document her journey in order to help other families who find themselves in the same position. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter as we follow the family’s post settlement journey with blogs on the progress made on building their new home.

We’re here to help

Our team of medical and legal specialists are on hand to provide confidential, empathetic advice if you believe that your baby has suffered cerebral palsy due to medical negligence.

For a free initial chat with Diane Rostron and her team, contact us here.

*name changed to protect privacy

Contact Diane Rostron

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If you suspect that your child suffered a preventable brain injury at birth, we can help. You can contact our team of medical and legal brain injury experts for a free initial consultation by calling 01253 766 559 or completing the form below.