The High Court in London has approved a £6.3 million settlement today, Monday 29th March, following an alleged preventable birth injury at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital more than 30 years ago.
It was argued that the hospital failed to recognise that a caesarian section was the least risky option for the safety of both mother and child. A natural birth was allowed to progress in 1984 leading to oxygen deprivation and permanent brain injury.
Representing the family, who are protected by an Anonymity Order, Diane Rostron, Blackpool based birth injuries solicitor, said: “This was the family’s second child, the hospital was aware that the baby’s size compared to the mother’s small frame, and the fact that the baby was in breech position at this stage, were red flags indicating that a c-section was the safest, and arguably the only, option.
“We believe that the significant risks of progressing with a natural birth were not explained nor was delivering the baby via c-section considered or offered as an alternative. As a result, the delivery of the baby’s head was delayed and during this critical period, the baby was starved of oxygen resulting in irreversible brain damage.
“Our client is now a 36-year-old adult who lacks mental capacity, is living with severe autism, extreme OCD and epilepsy. They are unable to gain employment as a result of what we believe was an entirely avoidable incident.
“Our client’s injuries also mean that they require 24-hour supervision for their own safety. Had the hospital provided the correct medical intervention with the baby being delivered via c-section, we believe all injuries would have been avoided.”
The family commented: “We were aware from when our child was a toddler that they had difficulties including finding it difficult to socialize with other children or play with toys. As our child developed, more challenges became apparent which were increasingly difficult to manage.
“We have had to fight every step of the way to gain understanding and support for our child , but it was some years before we questioned whether the complex needs could have been a result of something that happened during birth.
“Winning the settlement has given us the peace of mind that our child’s needs will be met for the rest of their life. Knowing that it could all have been prevented has been soul destroying but equally has given us the acknowledgement and justice that we needed.
“We had almost given up our case when a previous solicitor, who had been investigating for almost a decade, advised us that we couldn’t win. A few years later, Diane Rostron was recommended to us. We have been through, and continue to experience, very difficult periods as a family as a result of something that we believe could have very easily been avoided. Today has given us hope for a better future.”
The settlement includes past and future loss of earnings and the cost of past and future care needs. Blackpool Victoria Hospital does not accept liability for the incident.